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Lakeshore Drive-in Theatre was located in Greece, New York

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Lakeshore Drive-in
Status: Demolished
Location: 207 Ling Rd, Greece, NY 14612
Screens: 1
Capacity: 480 cars
Original owner: Built by Forrst Robbins, Joseph Trott, and Joseph Iamon, operated later by Redstone Theatres/National Amusements.
Opening date: July 1, 1950
Final season: 1992
What's there now: Undeveloped property as of 2007.

This page was last updated on December 29, 2009.

The Lakeshore was built as a 480 car theater at 207 Ling Road in the Town of Greece, New York in 1950. It was the 5th drive-in to open in Monroe County and was reported in the Rochester Times-Union to have had a 100-foot tall screen. Grand opening night was July 1st, 1950 with "Bagdad" and "Down Dakota Way" as the first double feature shown. By the early 1980s, nearly all of the RCA in-car speakers were gone or no longer functioning, so AM radio sound was introduced on channel 650, and the in car speaker system was no longer used.

I have been told that the theater closed for some time during the 1970s, but I have yet to confirm this. I do know for sure that the theater was owned by Redstone Theatres in 1972, and in the 1980s until its closing, was owned by National Amusements of Dedham, Massachusetts. The theater closed after showing its last double feature of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Unlawful Entry" on Saturday, September 5th, 1992 (the night I was there). There was no indication to anyone that the theater was not going to reopen in the spring.

Lakeshore was the last remaining drive-in in Monroe County until its demolition on May 5th, 1993. A local radio station sponsored a "Save The Drive-In Night" in 1991 where admission was only $1. Cars were lined up for almost a mile both ways trying to get in. Despite this effort, the theater lasted only one more season. No one knew of the closing of the theater until we saw its screen going up in flames on the 6 o'clock news. It can be assumed that National Amusements decided not to reopen the theater for the 1993 season, and to tear it down due to the need for many repairs to the theater, and the rapid decline of business. The biggest complaint was the faded and weathered screen that was aluminum gray in spots rather than white, and the poor channel 650 AM sound. It was reported that a demolition crewman's blow torch "accidentally" ignited a pile of wood behind the screen causing a rapidly spreading fire. Accident or not, it sure made knocking the screen down much easier.

If you're interested in opening a drive-in, this would be an excellent site...however, I believe National Amusements still owns it. You would just need to clear away all the poplar trees that have spread into the site since 1993 (many of which are "offspring" from the original border trees that lined the theatre originally). The property is zoned for industrial use by the Town of Greece, but there are many residential developments that could easily be spread into the Lakeshore property if the price is right. Currently the driveway is fenced off with no other signs of development inside the property. I recently e-mailed National Amusements asking for any photos or information they still may have on the theatre, but received no reply.

-- Courtesy of Travis Beaver

 

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Topo Map from 1995, courtesy of TerraServer USA. Aerial image from 2006, courtesy of Google Earth. Aerial close-up image from 2006, courtesy of Google Earth. New drive-in construction article from the Geeece Press on April 27, 1950.
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Opening soon ad from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on June 30, 1950. Grand opening tonight ad from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on July 1, 1950. Grand opening article from the Geeece Press on July 6, 1950. Lakeshore Drive-in ad from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on April 12, 1951.
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Final night ad from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on September 5, 1992. Save the Lakeshore Drive-in article and picture from the Greece Post  on August 12, 1991. Lakeshore Drive-in demolition article from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on May 6, 1993. Lakeshore Drive-in demolition article from the Rochester Times-Union on May 6, 1993.
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Lakeshore Drive-in demolition article from the Greece Post on May 13, 1993. * Date of fire is incorrectly reported as May 6 instead of May 5. Lakeshore Drive-in aerial photo from early 1990. Lakeshore Drive-in aerial photo from early 1990. Lakeshore Drive-in aerial photo from early 1990.
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Lakeshore Drive-in marquee from May 1993, courtesy of Travis Beaver. Lakeshore Drive-in ticket booth from the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle on June 6, 1991. Lakeshore Drive-in marquee from May 1993, courtesy of Travis Beaver. Lakeshore Drive-in entrance from May 1993, courtesy of Travis Beaver.

WOKR-TV Channel 13
Rochester, New York
May 5th, 1993 - NewsSource 13 at 6 news clip

The end credits for the Lakeshore Drive-in, near Rochester, New York.
Unfortunately, the news story incorrectly states the grand opening as being in 1954, when it was actually in 1950.
Also, the last movie to play at the Lakeshore was Unlawful Entry - NOT Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was a double feature of Buffy the Vampire Slayer followed by Unlawful Entry.

-- Video courtesy of WOKR NewsSource 13 and Travis Beaver.

 

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