The first of many drive-in theaters opened in New Mexico in 1914. More than 100 years later, someone has compiled an interactive map that shows more than 4,600 drive-in theaters built in the United States.
Below is a screen capture of the map, but the direct link to it is here (the map may take several seconds to load).
Now just 336 drive-ins remain; less than 8 percent of them have survived.
The map used data from Drive-ins.com. What I found surprising is most of the surviving drive-in theaters are located the Upper Great Lakes and Northeast. According to an article about the map, New York and Ohio boast 28 each.
I had assumed most of the surviving drive-ins were in the Southwest — especially Texas — because warm weather lasted longer there. But it’s now clear the most surviving drive-ins are where their density always was the largest.
The map includes the surviving Route 66 drive-ins — Route 66 Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois; Sky View Drive-In in Litchfield, Illinois; 66 Drive-In in Carthage, Missouri; and Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa. Drive-ins also exist in the Route 66 towns of Amarillo, Oklahoma City and Cuba, Missouri.
(Hat tip to Tonya Pike; image of the 66 Drive-in in Carthage, Missouri, by Brian Butko via Flickr)