Source: Steven M Cook
Hi Here are some bits and pieces that I remember about the end of the Traverse Drive-In theatre. Yes, it did close about 1980, but I want to say possibly earlier like 1977. I had worked at the Embers restaurant across the street from the Theatre from the summer of 1978 through May of 1984. There was limited parking for employees and the owner of the Embers, Keith Charters, had arranged with the owners of the theatre property for us to park on the property in what had been the driveway entrance.
The entrance was on the south side of the property along U. S. 31 North and the exit when the theatre was operating was at the north end of the property. We parked there for the entire time that I worked at the Embers. Especially in the summers as the Embers was very busy and part of the parking lot was also used by those who had boats in the Marina. Employees parking across the street was very important for business as there were 20 to 30 cars on the lawn and old entrance road.
The theatre itself burned during the summer of either 1980 or 1981, I don’t remember which. I was in the Maritime Academy and I was away on my sea time on the ships during the summers and I received a letter from my Mom that the theatre had burned. I believe that the structure was mostly wood and while it did not burn completely and collapse, it was damaged enough and structurally unsafe that it was pulled down for safety reasons. The land behind the theatre was on an up-slope and there was a subdivision slightly to the north of the property. Many people simply walked through the fields and trees and sat on the rise behind the fence to watch the movies. Not much but a little something.