The closing of the Tri-Town drive-in marks the end of an era - ...

Lunenburg resident David Clement still remembers going to see the movie "the Ten Commandments" at the Tri-Town drive-in theater with his parents in the 1960s. Full Story
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Bills Cat

AOL

#1 Jul 6, 2008
Ah, the passing of an era. I, too, was born and raised on the East Side of Fitchnurg and going to the drive in was a genuine big deal when we were little kids. There were two to choose from back in the day -- The Tri-Town and The Whalom Drive-Ins -- and the really adventurous could scoot up actoss the border to a couple more in NH. There were also THREE movie theathers on Main Street at one point: The Fitchburg, the Universal and The Saxon. The smell of popcorn and the sight of YooHoo in a small metal can still evoke memories of "the Drive In."

I still fondly recall the first time four of us went to the Whalom WITHOUT our parents to celebrate one of our pals getting his own car. This may not seem a big deal to the average reader today, but to us in 1967 it was a first in a life-time experience.

Can't argue with progress, though, and this seems to say it all. Back in the day, the drive-ins were competing with TV's that got only six or eight channels. There were no rental movies, On Demand or NetFlix, so a trip to the drive-in was a chance to see new movies and get out of the living room for an evening. A stop at A&W or Dairy Queen along the way was never out of the question, either.

I'd often thought it'd be a great idea to try a more modern drive-in, a high tech version, and I'm happy to hear that Sue Swanson in Mendon is giving it a try. Maybe I can drag my wife away from the TV some summer evening and stroll down memory lane. And, yes, I remember The Mendon Animal Farm, too. Maybe the new housing complex in Lunenburg should be named "The TriTown."

Peace,
Bill Lord
Sad

Lunenburg, MA

#2 Jul 6, 2008
I understand why Fedeli would want the easy cash instead of keeping up such a large operation year after year, but it does say a lot about the state this country is in. Out with the old and in with the new.
In this case, the old is a place that my mother and my grandmother enjoyed movies each summer. My mother tells stories about the speakers in the windows and how she drove off accidentally breaking one!

It's just sad that again a wonderful family spot gets plowed over to make room for a couple hundred houses.
This also begs the question...where are we going to put those kids that will move into those homes....?

The whole situation is sad...and maybe someday I can afford to bring a new drive in theater to Massachusetts to preserve the traditions of the past.....til then...
Andrew

Moose Pass, AK

#3 Jul 6, 2008
There is a third fully functioning drive-in left in Northfield, MA.
LOL

Fitchburg, MA

#4 Jul 6, 2008
well dude no one wants to go to Northfield, Ma
sad loss

Holden, MA

#5 Jul 6, 2008
This is a sad loss for the community.
yeah right

Boston, MA

#6 Jul 6, 2008
sad loss? that place has been and still is a pit that holds absolutely no value any longer. 17 dollars to watch a movie you can't see in venue that is nothing more than a breeding ground for mosquitoes and stupidity. Good riddance. Maybe as a token of good faith, the community should assist in getting that place closed down as soon as possible.
Anne

West Wareham, MA

#7 Jul 6, 2008
Well, this dude wants to go to Northfield, MA. They play 2 first run movies - "Wall-E" and "Narnia: Prince Caspian" are playing now.
leah

Gardner, MA

#8 Jul 7, 2008
yeah right wrote:
sad loss? that place has been and still is a pit that holds absolutely no value any longer. 17 dollars to watch a movie you can't see in venue that is nothing more than a breeding ground for mosquitoes and stupidity. Good riddance. Maybe as a token of good faith, the community should assist in getting that place closed down as soon as possible.
You will never understand the 80's, best time in my life, loved it there.
MAss Hole

Holden, MA

#9 Jul 7, 2008
yeah right wrote:
sad loss? that place has been and still is a pit that holds absolutely no value any longer. 17 dollars to watch a movie you can't see in venue that is nothing more than a breeding ground for mosquitoes and stupidity. Good riddance. Maybe as a token of good faith, the community should assist in getting that place closed down as soon as possible.
I have a feeling that you're one of those idiots who goes to the movies to talk to their friends/say things to the movie screen/answer the phone...and when you are walking somewhere like the mall, you walk straight ahead not moving for anyone because THEY should move for you, right?

You're age and maturity level is showing.
Sad

Westborough, MA

#10 Jul 7, 2008
I always loved going there as a kid. I almost feel guilty for not going so much in the past few years. Sad to see another one go.
Riley Martin

Worcester, MA

#11 Jul 7, 2008
boo f-ing hoo

if everyone loved it so much then why didn't you go? If people went they'd make money and still be open.....
Boulder City

Damariscotta, ME

#12 Jul 7, 2008
Bills Cat wrote:
Ah, the passing of an era. I, too, was born and raised on the East Side of Fitchnurg and going to the drive in was a genuine big deal when we were little kids. There were two to choose from back in the day -- The Tri-Town and The Whalom Drive-Ins -- and the really adventurous could scoot up actoss the border to a couple more in NH. There were also THREE movie theathers on Main Street at one point: The Fitchburg, the Universal and The Saxon. The smell of popcorn and the sight of YooHoo in a small metal can still evoke memories of "the Drive In."
I still fondly recall the first time four of us went to the Whalom WITHOUT our parents to celebrate one of our pals getting his own car. This may not seem a big deal to the average reader today, but to us in 1967 it was a first in a life-time experience.
Can't argue with progress, though, and this seems to say it all. Back in the day, the drive-ins were competing with TV's that got only six or eight channels. There were no rental movies, On Demand or NetFlix, so a trip to the drive-in was a chance to see new movies and get out of the living room for an evening. A stop at A&W or Dairy Queen along the way was never out of the question, either.
I'd often thought it'd be a great idea to try a more modern drive-in, a high tech version, and I'm happy to hear that Sue Swanson in Mendon is giving it a try. Maybe I can drag my wife away from the TV some summer evening and stroll down memory lane. And, yes, I remember The Mendon Animal Farm, too. Maybe the new housing complex in Lunenburg should be named "The TriTown."
Peace,
Bill Lord
Bill: Just curious, what was the first movie you saw at one of those Drive-Ins...
Boulder City

Damariscotta, ME

#13 Jul 7, 2008
Anne wrote:
Well, this dude wants to go to Northfield, MA. They play 2 first run movies - "Wall-E" and "Narnia: Prince Caspian" are playing now.
Having been to Northfield myself a few times, it is an excellent time. It is a bit of a drive out there, but an wonderful experience. Not too far off the Mohawk Trail, and if you do it as part of a weekend trip...it's nostalgic at best!
Boulder City

Damariscotta, ME

#14 Jul 7, 2008
leah wrote:
<quoted text>
You will never understand the 80's, best time in my life, loved it there.
Know the feeling...you'd stop a few places, chinese food, subs, drinks (couldn't get the beer though..but it was ok without it..), and you'd see three movies...food was gone by the second movie, and you'd hit the snack bar (Tri-Town's french fries were the greatest and greasiest, and their pizza wasn't bad either...) for the third feature.

Go home around 1:45-2 a.m., you didn't have to worry about Sunday Brunch...you already had it!

They things are great now...back then...it was better! Just alot of fun!
Rena

Jacksonville, FL

#15 Jul 8, 2008
Riley Martin wrote:
boo f-ing hoo
if everyone loved it so much then why didn't you go? If people went they'd make money and still be open.....
Its still packed there every weekend so (like most people who post before thinking/reading/checking facts) you should check your facts before posting a comment....
In shock

Englewood, CO

#16 Jul 24, 2008
I can't believe they are closing!!! I no longer live in the state, but when I do return home, the drive-in is something I always look forward to. Although development is welcome and needed in the area, the drive-in is a unique and invaluable attraction for the people who will be moving into the area. It's sad that the developers and city council has such poor foresight to see that. There are plenty of delapidated and run down buildings that NEED to be replaced, so why not start with those.
in shock

Englewood, CO

#17 Jul 24, 2008
I can't believe they are closing!!! I no longer live in the state, but when I do return home, the drive-in is something I always look forward to. Although development is welcome and needed in the area, the drive-in is a unique and invaluable attraction for the people who will be moving into the area. It's sad that the developers and city council has such poor foresight to see that. There are plenty of delapidated and run down buildings that NEED to be replaced, so why not start with those.
Former municipal official

Princeton, MA

#18 Jul 24, 2008
in shock wrote:
It's sad that the developers and city council has such poor foresight to see that. There are plenty of delapidated and run down buildings that NEED to be replaced, so why not start with those.
It's called private property. If you own it, you have the right to use it as you see fit. It is unfortunate that all those people who care so much about drive-ins have not gotten together, started a corporation, and bought one, maybe this one. But if all people have is fond memories of the drive-in that means no one has been going recently, and they are not profitable. It is simply not reasonable to expect a private property owner not to cash in.

As for the "city council" (Lunenburg is of course a town and has no such thing), this particular project actually shows a great deal of foresight. Under 40B, a developer can currently come in to a town with less than 10% of affordable housing stock (like Lunenburg) and propose a development ANYWHERE (Howard Street?) and avoid standard zoning requirements. The Tri-Town project is reportedly going to bring Lunenburg close to its 10% requirement. The project is essentially to allow the town planners to take back control of growth in the town.
Heidi

Maynard, MA

#19 Jul 31, 2008
Well, I've been going there, and this makes me sad. I haven't been this year, but I went three times last year. Which is three times more than I went to a regular movie theater last year.
King of the Drive-In

Branford, CT

#20 Aug 4, 2008
Another one bites the dust. I remember when the Whalom Drive-In "burned down". Then the Chemlsford was turned into Condos. Then the Mohawk was condos too. The Milford is still doing fine in NH.

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