Center Drive-In

20 Division Street,
Derby, CT 06418

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Center Drive-in Division St. Derby Conn.

The Center Drive-In was located on the town-line of Ansonia and Derby. It opened July 2, 1953. It possibly closed in the late-1960’s as the screen had been removed by 1972. A gas station now occupies the site.

Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

jlmcea on February 2, 2007 at 5:23 pm

The Center Drive-in theatre was south of Division St. behind McDonald’s, where BJ’s Wholesale Warehouse is today. When I started coming to Ansonia in 1974 it was closed, but the “humps,” projection booth/snack bar, and speaker stands were visible for years. I don’t remember the screen. In 1955 these two rivers flooded and there was at least 10' of raging water over this property. It stood in the “center” of the V where the Naugutuck and Housatonic Rivers meet. Over the years, evidence of the drive-in crumbled, and BJ’s bought the land and built about 1999 (a guess.)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 6, 2010 at 9:16 pm

This was a rather huge Drive-in parking 900 cars and owned by B.Jacocks.

NYozoner on February 14, 2011 at 12:01 am

20 Division St, Derby, CT 06418

The above address will map accurately to the location of the drive-in, which is visible on Google Earth using historic aerial imagery.

david williams
david williams on June 25, 2011 at 1:40 pm

The Center Drive-In opened in the early 1950’s as I recall, and was located on the South side of Division St., along the Naugatuck river, just West of the Division Street bridge.
It was a very large area, and took up all of what is now BJ’s and the McDonald’s.

After the “Flood of ‘55”, the screen was re-built, the concession stand was cleaned up, repainted, etc. It operated for several years after that, into the 1960’s. Subsequently, it became a golf driving range for a few years.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on February 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm

20 Division St, Derby, CT 06418 is the correct address.

dallasmovietheaters on August 16, 2015 at 5:31 pm

When Robert Schwartz opened his Center Drive-In Theatre on July 2, 1953, he wanted to have the newest, largest and finest theater. He had “newest.” Largest was done with a massive 900-car lot. And finest was knocked down when the theater was Connecticut’s first built for widescreen film formats including CinemaScope. Frank McQueeney did beat him to it launching with widescreen to start his 1953 season at the Pine Drive-In in Waterbury.

50sSNIPES on September 23, 2022 at 3:43 pm

It looks like that the screen was completely removed in 1972, so it may’ve closed in the late 1960s.

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