Coles Drive-In

4979 E. Lee Highway,
Loudon, TN 37774

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Coles Drive-In

Coles Drive-In was operating by 1951, and had a capacity for 225 cars. It was still open in the 1980’s.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

jwmovies on September 22, 2012 at 6:42 am

Approx. address for this drive-in was 3863 East Lee Highway. Outline for theatre is still partially there.

theaterkid on January 3, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Actually, the drive-in opened BEFORE 1955. The original owners were William and Mildred Cole. They had 5 children, who all worked at the theatre and at the two A&W root beer resturants owned by the Cole’s. One of the resturants was located next to the Theatre. Cole’s Theatre was the “local Hang-out” of Loudon and had a Saturday night Bingo game that was a real “drawing card” and loved by all in Loudon. One year, for the 4th of July, the grand prize for Bingo was a car. It was a “packed house”. Popcorn was 10 cents. Try getting that at your local movies. AND….the people in the concession stand could add up your order in their heads…without a calculator and without a pencil and a piece of paper or a digital adding machine. Just my using their brain. Now THAT was the day. Hot dogs were 25 cents. You could bring your kids in their p.j.s and lay on the hood of your car, under the stars and watch the “show”. Or hey, you could spread a blanket on the ground and bring a pic-nic and enjoy supper with your family. There were beautiful fireworks on the 4th of July. It was the best place in the world…it was all we had….and all we knew.

TomMc11 on August 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm

June 2016 Google Street view shows that some form of marquee is still there, part of the word “Theater” is still visible.

Kenmore on August 31, 2017 at 3:35 pm

The marquee today is different in design than the photo, so it appears some changes were made before the theater closed. Also, it sits well away from the highway, so either it was moved or the road was moved at some point.

kennerado on August 24, 2023 at 4:51 am

This was open as early as 1951.

50sSNIPES on August 24, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Still opened in the 1980s.

Kenmore on August 24, 2023 at 9:55 pm

A closer address is 4979 E Lee Hwy, Loudon, TN.

Google Maps has updated their addresses and this one puts it right on the property. You can see the remaining ramps and the marquee is still there as of September 2022.

It appears that the highway was shifted to the east at some point, which is why the marquee is no longer beside the road.

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