The History and Archaeology of the American Drive-In Theater

Author(s): Jeremy Pye

Year: 2015


The American drive-in movie theater played a valuable role in the entertainment of the country during the mid to late twentieth century. During its heyday in the 1950s, the drive-in theater was a primary family recreation locale. Convenience was key; families could wear anything; they could eat, drink, or smoke in their cars; and there was always a place to park. Many drive-ins installed play areas, picnic areas, and concession stands. Some theaters even offered miniature golf courses, driving ranges, live music, and dancing. The drive-in was not simply a place to watch a movie, it was a community center. Attendance at drive-ins began a steady decline starting in the 1960s leading to their slow demise. Many of the old theaters have succumbed to time or development and have become potentially significant archaeological sites. Unfortunately, relatively little attention has been given in the archaeological literature to these important historical resources. 

Cite this Record

The History and Archaeology of the American Drive-In Theater. Jeremy Pye. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434159)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 576