Sutton Motor-In

110 Worcester Providence Turnpike,
Sutton, MA 01590

450 cars

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sutton motor in, 2012

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened in 1947, the Sutton Motor-In is a drive-in located on the main highway between Worcester, Massachusetts and Providence, Rhode Island. It was closed in 1996, and much of the 10-acre property (now for sale) is thickly overgrown with weeds and brush, giving the place a “haunted-drive-in” look.

The marquee over the entrance is still there, albeit with broken glass and some loose lettering. Walk through it and you can see the original ticket booth, the large single CinemaScope-ratio screen, and the projection booth on the right in the distance.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

posta44b
posta44b on October 26, 2009 at 2:17 pm

Iam the grandson of the original owner W.P.Bernard and the son of Thomas Bernard who was the owner during the 70’S until it closed. I just wanted to say that all the photos look great. Keep it up. I have some original photos of the 10th aniv. If anyone is interested let me know.

Shawn Bernard

moviebear1
moviebear1 on May 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm

Love to see some pictures of when the theatre was in operation.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 19, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Very interesting photos of the Marquee and entrance,lots nicer than most drive-ins.

DaLoEnt.com
DaLoEnt.com on January 28, 2011 at 3:09 am

I was one of the three partners who revived the shuttered, decaying Motor-In in 1996. Unfortunately, the town demanded a police detail. My two partners refused to pay after some of the on-duty officers were discovered sleeping on the property! Note: The state police offered to direct traffic for FREE, but the GREEDY Sutton cops wouldn’t allow it! The town then shut-down this beautiful, old (opened in 1947) theatre three short months after it was re-opened, and business was starting to boom. In 2000, I, along with one of the two other partners attempted to re-open the Drive-In again, but we were met with anger from the town council and the police chief, stemming from the 1996 debacle … this, along with a laundry list of EXPENSIVE, “necessary improvements,” caused us to regrettably withdraw our dream. The original owner’s son, Tom, has since passed away (nice guy, but very tough!). The land is currently owned by his two living partners — an attorney, and the G.M. of Polar Beverages. They are asking an obscene amount of money for the land!!! They’ll NEVER get it, as the property is in a desolate area, is among many other properties listed for sale, and just isn’t worth the money! Sad!

MrDJDude
MrDJDude on January 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm

In regards to Drive-In Dave’s story above, that’s the one I remember being posted at drive-ins.com, albeit with some details filled in. I think the name of the gentleman who posted it was Steve Coan; said he was involved in the last attempt to revive it. Unfortunately, drive-ins.com has been in a state of flux for several years, and some information remains inaccessible.

Dave, does that name ring any bells for you?

And as far as the asking price, I checked again, and at least as far as the brochure on the broker’s(Kelleher & Sadowsky) goes, it’s still a cool $1,250,000. Good luck getting that for it.

It really is a shame, too. The lot is still in decent shape, and all the structures are still there, as well as all the equipment, projectors included(condition not withstanding). But between the town and the 14-screen theater 10 minutes up Route 146, I can’t see it ever opening again.

DaLoEnt.com
DaLoEnt.com on January 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Hey Phantom Screen, Yes, Mr. Coan and I were the two who tried to get the gate opened again in 2000. The asking price for the land was $400,000 in ‘96, but was raised because of some retail “interest” in the area. The third partner in '96 was Don Brown, who re-opened the “Diamond State Drive-In” in DE and operated it until the original owner passed and her heirs decided to sell the land in 2008. He evidently went on to purchase the “Dream Drive-In” in WV (I think), but then couldn’t open because of an archaeic law re. african-americans, or something along those lines. I’ve read that since then, he’s been involved in a NY Drive-In somewhere. The three of us had looked at the “Airport Drive-In” in NY (HUGE theatre) but it is four hours from my house, and during negotiations, the theatre’s power room in the basement completely flooded, and the landlord wanted nothing to do with repairing the situation so we backed-out. After 2000, Coan and I attempted to purchase the “Danielson-Putnam Drive-In” in CT (my down payment for Sutton + Coan’s was put down as a deposit). After careful reconsideration (the place required MAJOR renovations, it was almost completely in a flood plain, the state required re-timing of street signal lights, etc.), I decided to withdraw. Unfortunately, Coan “decided” NOT to give me my money back! We had been best buddies … I was forced to sue him (which I easily won), and haven’t spoken to him since. Brown doesn’t like me, probably because he had “used” Coan back in '96, and I didn’t like it. Oh well … life goes on! Oh yeah, as a sidelight, Coan and I had also attempted the re-opening of the decrepit “Hartford Drive-In” in CT. The late builder’s daughter’s attorneys demanded something like an upfront $75,000 cash for a four-month season (why just four months? who knows!), and required us to carry a million dollar insurance policy, so we gave it up. Oh well … life goes on …

Trousercowboy
Trousercowboy on February 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

My previous link no longer works. For pics from July 2008 see here:

View link

DaLoEnt.com
DaLoEnt.com on August 5, 2014 at 5:39 pm

I have photos from Summer of 96. I should post them.

Wcastillo0707
Wcastillo0707 on September 12, 2014 at 8:06 pm

I would like to contact someone about buying this property My email address is . If anyone can contact me I will give you my contact info

DaLoEnt.com
DaLoEnt.com on September 12, 2014 at 8:52 pm

1.4 mil, last I checked. Not even worth one- third of that.

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