Hillcrest Drive-In

1312 Barkley Road N,
Statesville, NC 28677

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Previous Names: Statesville Drive-In

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Hillcrest Drive-In

The second drive-in to open in Statesville, NC was the Statesville Drive-In. It opened on May 18, 1949, featuring the 1948 musical “Give My Regards to Broadway” with Dan Dailey, Charles Winninger, Nancy Guild and Charles Ruggles. It was opened by J.W. Hill and W.C. Kelly who also operate the Roxie Theatre in Troutman, NC. The drive-in was built at a cost of $50,000 and featured a 64 ft. x 55 ft. screen tower. The parking ramps could hold 300 cars with outside blast speakers mounted on poles around the outside of the parking ramps. Eventually the partnership of Hill and Kelly was dissolved. Hill took over the operation of the Roxie Theatre and Kelly retained operating the drive-in. Since Kelly was also employed by the railroad, he realized that his regular job conflicted with running the drive-in theatre so he decided to sell it. In August of 1950 the drive-in was sold to A.F. Sams, Jr. dba Statesville Theatres. It was their first venture into operating drive-in theatres.

On May 1, 1952, the drive-in was renamed to the Hillcrest Drive-In. In December of 1953, Sam C. Cline secured a five year lease on the Hillcrest Drive-In. Cline was also operating the Villa Heights Drive-In which he opened in 1948. The Hillcrest Drive-In closed in October of 1959 for good. Sam C. Cline and Paul Henkel dba the Hillcrest Amusement Co. demolished the drive-in and opened a 1/8 mile go cart track on the property. Later on that was demolished and the property was redeveloped into light industrial businesses.

Contributed by Randy Studer
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