Abandoned Vermont: St. Albans Drive-in Theater (R.I.P)


St. Albans Drive-in Movie Theater, as seen in May 2012. 

As of the 2012 photograph of the St. Albans Drive-in Theater, it was not abandoned. It was still open and operating, one of Vermont’s four remaining drive-in movie theaters.  As of 2014, the drive-in closed after 66 years of business, partially due to costs required to upgrade to the mandated digital projection from film reels. As of 2014, the land was for sale, and still is. Such is the fate of many drive-in theaters, especially on valuable land.

Because I’m a sentimental nostalgic fool for roadside America and Vermont, I wanted to photograph the St. Albans Drive-in Theater one more time, before it disappeared. On a cold, windy, February day, I said my goodbyes to this bit of roadside America.


View from across US Route 7. Not as cheery as the 2012 view. February 2016. 


Entrance & ticket booth to the drive-in. Still lined with lights. February 2016. 


The speakers at the St. Ablans Drive-in theater were removed years ago. Instead, viewers tuned into the radio station. February 2016. 


Ticket booth. February 2016. 


No admission charge today. February 2016. 


The screen is in disrepair and new traffic lights are in place for the development across the road. February 2016. 


Stepping back you can vaguely see the remaining mounds in the earth for the cars to park. February 2016. 


The snack bar (right) and the movie projection room (left). Note the chain protecting the projection. Windows are all broken. February 2016. 


View of the playground and the dilapidated screen. February 2016. 


The playground (swingset) remains intact, if not jumping out of the ground with its concrete foundation. Slide, two swings, rings, trapeze, bar, and see-saw. February 2016. 


Beneath the screen looking into the drive-in. February 2016. 


Pieces of the screen have fallen to the ground. February 2016. 


Possibly from up there. February 2016. 


The back of the screen. February 2016. 


Some drive-in screens have their structures concealed. This one is out in the open, nothing too fancy. With high winds, the structure has to be sturdy. February 2016. 


From the entrance road. February 2016. the marquee is barely visible, but you can see it to the right of the screen supports. February 2016. 

I can’t say for certain, but I would bet that one factor in the closure of the St. Albans drive-in is the construction and opening of this across the street:

As seen from the Walmart entrance road. February 2016.

With its October 2013 opening, I shared my lament.

Here is a great article from the St. Albans Messenger that highlights history and memories of the drive-in.

RIP St. Albans Drive-in. You’ll be missed by many.

10 thoughts on “Abandoned Vermont: St. Albans Drive-in Theater (R.I.P)

  1. Judy Stock says:

    That was a big treat going to the drive in theaters. Another thing going by the wayside. With so much meanness in today’s world drive in theaters wouldn’t be safe. So sad!

    • Kaitlin says:

      After 2014, a lot of theaters went out of the business due to the need to turn to digital projections. Too expensive. And then I guess last year’s harsh winter did in the screen. bummer.

  2. Kristy Lynch says:

    I remember many a summer watching movies at this drive-in. I saw the first Star Wars at this drive-in. There was always a double feature. A tame movie for the kids and then a more adult movie when the kids would fall asleep in the back of the Caprice Classic station wagon!
    Dancing refreshments on the screen. Thank you for this post.

  3. Ron Steele says:

    I am sure If Paul Gamache was still living and could have look down through the corridor of time and see the impact of the pandemic has taken on the theater industry and the toll that it has taken on the Welden Theater he would have reconsider by upgrading his equipment to digital knowing the loss of the Welden Theater having to close their doors for nearly a year, the Drive-In would be a definite asset to the family. Did Paul Gamache act in haste! Perhaps,
    According to Lester Holt of NBC news he said: Since the pandemic Drive- In Theaters are making a comeback.
    Former employee Ron Steele

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