Credits could roll on two historic Michigan Drive-In theaters for sale

NOW: Credits could roll on two historic Michigan Drive-In theaters for sale

DOWAGIAC, Mich. -- The end could be near for two Historic Michiana Drive-In Theaters.

Both Sunset Theater in Hartford and Dowagiac’s five-mile drive in are closed for good before the summer starts.

There were once 137 drive-in theaters spread across the State of Michigan now just six remain.

“We’re losing another piece of Americana,” said Jimmielou out and about in Dowagiac.

After 62 years, the end of an era could be near for the Dowagiac Theater.

The owners announcing on Facebook,

"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of five Mile Drive-In theaters this summer. As a family-owned establishment, our operations are deeply intertwined with the well-being of our own family members. Unforeseen health challenges within our family require us to take a step back at this time."

The community already lost the 96-year-old Ramona Roller Rink earlier this month to a fire believed to be started by lightning.

As they work to rebuild, one nostalgic piece of Dowagiac history will remain open, the 102-year-old Caruso’s Candy and Soda Fountain.

They’ve shared five generations of memories at the shop, and multiple at the theater.

“Yeah, I grew up going with my family in the summer and once I got older, I started going with groups of friends. It’s just a summer night. That’s what we did,” said Quianna Murray, a 5th Generation Employee.

Drive-Ins started to make a comeback during the coronavirus pandemic as an activity where people could keep their distance.

Now the hope is that someone new will buy the theaters, so the communities don’t have to roll the credits on the American pastime.

“Yeah, I feel very sad, because it was a very safe fun activity, and we are getting a lot of choices taken away and they’ve all been part of Americana we won’t get back,” added Jimmielou.

The two closest remaining drive-Ins from Dowagiac are Capri in Coldwater, Michigan and Tri-Way Drive-In in Plymouth Indiana, where they will be celebrating 40 years under current ownership Memorial Day Weekend.

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