Riverside Auto Drive-In

Riverside Drive and Cranston Drive,
Dublin, OH 43017

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Riverside Auto Drive-In

This drive-in theater was located on the east side of Riverside Drive, just south of Route 161 on the east side of the Scioto River. It was the first drive-in to open in the Columbus area, opening on June 25, 1940.

In the mid-1970’s it was closed for the construction of the housing development, Riverside Green. A few years later, Friendship Village, a retirement center, was added to the same area.

Contributed by rj

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm

What great picture to open a Drive-in.BURT LANCASTER. one of the greats. And i share his birthday.

Mark_L on July 29, 2010 at 5:42 pm

Thanks to Mike Rogers for finding the official date this theatre opened. It was the first drive-in in the Columbus area and opened on June 25, 1940. The first feature was HIS GIRL FRIDAY. Details are hard to get on this because the newpaper microfilm for that date is too dark to see clearly.

I misinterpreted an ad from April 2, 1948, that said it was the Grand Opening.

In 1940, this theatre was WAY out from the main city area. Major development in this area was 35 years away.

pappyroehrer on January 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

Funny…I recall in the late ‘60’s entering from the other side (south side). My recall faulty?

Mark_L on January 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Pappyroehrer, I enjoy your commments on Columbus theatres. Please post more if you can.

HISTORICAERIALS.COM has aerial maps of the Columbus area from both 1957 & 1971. The 1971 maps shows the same entrance as the image from 1957 above.

Things sure have changed in that part of town. All signs of the drive-in are completely gone now.

pappyroehrer on January 10, 2014 at 2:46 pm

yes…I concur. faulty recall here.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 9, 2021 at 4:18 pm

The correct address is: Riverside Drive and Cranston Drive Dublin, OH 43017

GPS:40.086287, -83.109306

Mark_L on January 10, 2021 at 11:37 am

5800 Riverside Drive was the address used in newspaper listings. Before the theatre closed, it was sometimes listed as “Riverside Drive, South of Rt. 161”.

Cranston Drive (which looks from aerial maps to run right through the projection booth) was not built until the late ‘70’s.

Soon after the drive-in closed in Sept, 1976, the location was used as a sales information center for the Riverside Hills housing development.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 10, 2021 at 11:59 am

Yes you correct on the address. Goggle maps sometimes shows the correct location at times but other times not. I like to use cross streets at times. They don’t move around. I have been using GPS coordinates to locate drive-in theatres also. They don’t change…

Mark_L on January 10, 2021 at 12:04 pm

I agree…GPS coordinates are best. There is a lot of strangeness in the maps. There is one theatre in Indiana that maps to a location on the Ohio State University Campus!

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on January 10, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Thanks…with some drive-in theatres that were located in the country it makes them easy to locate them with GPS.

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