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Ceredo Drive-In.jpeg

Opened in June, 1948, the Ceredo Drive-In was Huntington’s first drive-in movie theater. It closed in 1975.

Editor’s Note: This is the 421st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.

CEREDO — Although early drive-in movie theaters opened in some locales as early as the 1930s, drive-in theaters are best remembered as part of life in the 1950s.

For teenagers savoring the new-found freedom that came with their drivers’ licenses, the drive-in movie was the perfect destination. (“Hey, let’s see how many kids we can stuff in the trunk!”) Many young families, too, made a weekly excursion to the drive-in, youngsters in tow. You could visit the concession stand for popcorn, soft drinks and candy or you could bring your own snacks. Some folks would even bring lawn chairs, turn their pickups around and set the chairs in the bed of the truck.

Huntington’s first drive-in movie theater was the Ceredo Drive-In. Located at U.S. 60 and West 6th Street in Ceredo, it opened June 4, 1948. The East Drive-In followed in 1950. Both the Ceredo and the East were operated by the Greater Huntington Theater Corp., which owned a number of other local theaters, including the grand Keith-Albee Theater in downtown Huntington.

The plot of land where the Ceredo Drive-In was located has an interesting history. For decades it was nothing but a cow pasture. Then, in 1926, a greyhound dog racing track was built on the property. The quarter-mile-long track had a wooden grandstand that seated 10,000 people. The track remained in operation until 1935. The facility was later used for Ceredo-Kenova football games and other events until a 1940 storm destroyed the grandstand.

Meanwhile, 15 acres of the property operated as the Wayside Golf Course, long popular with area golfers.

In 1975, both the drive-in theater and the golf course became part of Ceredo’s history when they were demolished to make way for construction of the Ceredo Plaza shopping center. The plaza’s anchor store was a Big Bear supermarket. In 2004, the store closed when the grocery chain filed for bankruptcy.

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