VA 704 (off VA 175), Wattsville, Va.
years of operation: 1958-late '80s
currently: screen is gone, old buildings still stand
Before the Dream Drive-In, there was The Dream -- a classic, deco-styled roller rink that was built in the late '40s by one Elijah Justice a stone's-throw from Chincoteague Naval Air Station. The drive-in was built across the road behind the rink, sharing its ketchup-and-mustard color scheme. The base closed in 1959 -- it's now part of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility -- but both the roller rink and drive-in hung on for decades under the determined management of the Justice family. The drive-in had tougher times -- it was XXX-rated through most of the '70s and '80s, finally taking a stab at a Spanish-language format in 1988 before closing down. The roller rink, which was the subject of a Washington Post article on June 24, 1988, was still in operation at least as late as 2008. Former Diamond State operator Don Brown purchased the drive-in in summer 2008, but his plans to resurrect it were abandoned due to unnoticed property-line issues -- the rear section of the lot actually belonged to an African-American family, and was used by black patrons to view the movies in pre-integration days. This article has the details.
Click here to see the 1992 USGS map depicting the
drive-in and surrounding area.
Click here to see a 1994 aerial photo of the drive-in. The building in the top middle of the image is the skating rink.
School bus pictured on left was once the Roller Rink Express, transporting young skaters from around the area to the roller rink. Above photos taken in April 1998.
Thanks to Reggie Reaves for the following photos, taken in December 2008:
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