Manchester Drive-In

US 6 and Morancey Road,
Bolton, CT 06043

515 cars

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Manchester Drive-In

It opened on August 5, 1953 and closed on August 31, 1986. For sale in 2005. It had a playground on premises. A skeleton screen, as well as the marquee, concession stand and projection booth remained for many years. It has now been abandoned and is an unused field.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

coventryalumni1984gator on August 5, 2015 at 11:30 pm

I was from Coventry High class of 84 . I remember last being there in 84 . It was a place to party . The back rows where it was groups of Coventry high , East Catholic , Wram , Manchester high ect. partying . Also there was a spot where the 4 wheel drive trucks would go into the sand pit in back . I would never see the main movie , just the Three stoodges . I think the place must have closed sometime after the 84 season .

KennyG on November 28, 2015 at 10:48 pm

I grew up in Bolton, CT and graduated in 1981. We lived by the lake and every couple of weeks mom and dad would bring us three kids to the “Manchester Drive In”. It was exciting. My dad would make a big batch of pop corn with powered salt and butter, put it in a grocery bag then we all piled into the Ford Falcon Station Wagon. We ate supper early because dad would say, “we gotta get there early to get a good spot!” He was right. It was always crowded! I remember the first time seeing “Chiti Chiti Bang Bang and 101 Dalmatians at that theater. There are a lot of memories there, good and bad. One of our classmates was killed in the sand pit located behind the theater riding a three wheeler or some such motorized contraption. Rest In Peace Peter! But also, really really good times! I brought my high school sweetheart there often. We’ve been married for 34 years and we still live in Bolton. I would love to see the property revitalized, even another theater but to see it sitting there decaying is sad. I’m glad some of us still have these memories. There is so much more I could share. Maybe another time.

rivest266 on February 22, 2017 at 6:01 am

This opened on August 5th, 1953. Article:

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dansdriveintheater on January 30, 2019 at 4:13 pm

has since been demolished now a vacant field.

MichaelKilgore on November 17, 2019 at 9:28 am

Billboard, Oct. 30, 1954: “Manchester Drive-In, Bolton Notch, Conn., erected in 1953 at a cost of $100,000, will double its Car capacity of 500 this winter, according to partners Bernard Menschell and John Calvocoressci. As a promotional stunt for the comedy, ‘Genevieve,’ the drive-in recently offered free admission to riders in pre-1920 automobiles at opening performance”

pizza_impala on March 30, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Has not been demolished. Screen frame and Snack Bar still stand in woods by Shenipset trail and Freja park. Via google maps, the drive in is to the left of Bolton Notch pond. I visited in early February, and the property is part of the trail, so it is not technically trespassing. Trail is actually old entrance to the theater. For the snack bar, there are squatters living inside but do not bother them. Sand pit is to the back left, no speaker poles remain (there are old light poles and telephone poles with wires). Due to new bridge out in front of the park and ride, the original marquee and sign have been removed. However, the parking lot out front allows your car to be left. The area is great to drive to and explore.

kennerado on March 30, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Sad state, thanks for the update and photos.

DRIVEIN101 on September 26, 2020 at 12:16 pm

Final night of operation was August 31, 1986 with “A Fine Mess” and “The Karate Kid Part II”. The January 1, 1987 edition of The Hartford Courant indicated “THE LAST PICTURE SHOW: The Manchester Drive-In closes for good” in a local review of 1986.

pizza_impala on March 10, 2021 at 10:30 am

Uh oh

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