America’s oldest drive-in theater still alive

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Nine miles northwest of Allentown, Pennsylvania, sits America’s oldest drive-in movie theater, first opened in 1934.

While it was originally the second drive-in theater to open in America, Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theatre is now the only one left from the early 1930s. The theater was opened by Wilson Shankweiler, who originally called it Shankweiler’s Park-In Theatre.

Currently, there are around 300 drive-in movie theaters operating in the U.S., with 29 located in Pennslyvania. Since its opening, the theater has changed ownership multiple times and as the theater nears its 90th birthday, two new owners have taken control of the operation.

Lauren McChesney and Matthew McClanahan bought the theater in November 2022 after it was put on the market by previous owners Paul and Susan Geissinger, who had owned the Shankweiler’s since 1984.

McChesney said the theater, which was on the market for multiple years, was on the path to becoming a gas station. Hearing the news and knowing about the history of Shankweiler’s, he said the couple decided it was the perfect time to buy the business.


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Chuck comes from a lineage of journalism. He has written for some of the webs most popular news sites. He enjoys spending time outdoors, bull riding, and collecting old vinyl records. Roll Tide!