Route 16 Drive-In

184 NH-108,
Somersworth, NH 03878

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There was definitely a drive-in known as the Starway Drive-In on (what was then?) Route 16 between Dover and Somersworth. It changed its name to the Route 16 some time in the early-1960’s.

The Starway Drive-In, listed under Somersworth, was in the first Motion Picture Almanac list (1950-51) but not the first Theatre Catalog list. Its first Catalog appearance was the 1949-50 edition, listing a capacity of 400 cars and owner James A. Sayer, Jr. It advertised in the Portsmouth Herald as the Starway Drive-In through at least April 7, 1962.

The Motion Picture Almanacs listed the Starway Srive-In (capacity 300) into the 1960’s. In 1965-66, the MPA drive-in list still had Starway Drive-In, but the MPA circuit list showed that Interstate Theatre Corp owned the Route 16 in Somersworth. The MPA drive-in list eventually caught up with the right name, listing the Route 16 (capacity 500 or 300) through 1982. In 1983, the Route 16’s owner changed to T. Whittier. In 1985, it fell off the list.

It seems likely that the Starway / Route 16 was related to the drive-in that J. Frank Moore opened on July 31, 1941, according to issues of The Exhibitor. That drive-in “located on route 16, between Dover and Somersworth” was active enough for owner Moore to be fined for “operating moving pictures without a license”.

Assistance is requested in determining the exact site of the drive-in, plus any links between Moore’s drive-in and the Starway.

Contributed by Michael Kilgore

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

dansdriveintheater on March 25, 2019 at 4:52 am

found it! you can see part of the ramps!

dansdriveintheater on March 25, 2019 at 5:00 am

i think iv'e found moores drive-in

Kenmore on March 25, 2019 at 7:29 am

Found It!

The drive-in was located at 184 NH-108, Somersworth, NH. It was located on the west side of the highway. A 1951 aerial shows it was present, so it appears that the Route 16 and Stairway drive-ins were the same.

Today, the property is part of a Jeep dealership. You can still clearly see the ramps and outline.

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