Drive-In Movie Theaters

Akron’s drive-in movie theater history began in 1937 when the Starlight Auto Theater opened off of 224 near Kelly Ave. and Waterloo. It wasn’t just the first in Akron, it was the first in Ohio and one of the first ten built in the entire country. The theater entertained movie goers until it turned the lights out in 1983, but the street on which it was located still carries its name: Starlight Dr.

The tradition of drive-ins continues today, in fact Ohio has more of them than almost any other state. The numbers continue to dwindle, but it’s usually a close tie with Pennsylvania and sometimes California. Over the next few weeks I will provide a few tidbits about the three drive-ins closest to the Akron area

Blue Sky Drive-In
959 Broad Street
Wadsworth, OH 44281
(330) 334-1809

The Blue Sky Drive-In was built by Dale R. Morrison in 1947. Its original screen was made of wood and had blinking lights that faced the road. Instead of providing a speaker at every parking space, a large speaker attached to the screen blasted the audio for the entire parking lot. Because cars weren’t required the theater would borrow chairs from nearby churches and funeral homes for customers to take a seat.

Leave home a little early to stop by Boss Frosty’s Ice Cream right across the street. They have a 32 ounce milkshake simply called “The Boss.”

I’ll follow up with the other drive-ins soon. I just need to go take pictures!


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