Riverside Drive-In

1942 Bennington Street SE,
Roanoke, VA 24014

250 cars

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Riverside Drive-In

On May 21, 1952, the Exhibitor wrote that the Riverside Drive-In in Roanoke was scheduled to open in mid-June. “Owner is Jack Pence.” The July 2 edition said that “Pence and Watts, joint owners,” expected to open it shortly. It had opened on June 20, 1952 with Jon Hall in “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” & Judy Canova in “Joan of Ozark”. A 1953 note called the co-owner G. H. Watts.

The Riverside Drive-In was one of several drive-ins listed for Roanoke in the 1953-56 Theatre Catalogs. Its capacity was 250 cars, and the owners were Pence and Watts.

The August 18, 1958 issue of Boxoffice reported that Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Pence had sold the Riverside Drive-In to Mr. and Mrs. Atkins for $25,000. “Atkins planned to install new sound and improve the concession stand”.

The Riverside Drive-In probably closed before 1977, since it wasn’t in the Motion Picture Almanac’s rebooted drive-in list that year.

Contributed by Michael Kilgore

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

MichaelKilgore on March 6, 2022 at 6:57 pm

Boxoffice, Aug. 11, 1958: “Roanoke, Va. - Mr. and Mrs. Atkins, formerly owners and operators of the Lee Drive-In in Lexington, have purchased the Riverside Drive-In here from Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Pence for $25,000. The new owners will install new sound equipment and improve concessions equipment at the theatre located at 1942 Bennington St., S.E.”

Now that I know which Roanoke drive-in was the Riverside (it was the one by the river), I can check the aerial photos. They indicate that the Riverside was still intact in 1969, but long gone in 1982. It was still in the 1973 topo map but replaced by housing in the 1978 map.

rivest266 on February 8, 2023 at 9:49 am

The Riverside Drive-In opened on June 20th, 1952. Grand opening ad posted.

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