Hull's Drive In
Hull's Drive-In, September 2002
|Former names||Lee Drive-In|
|Address||2367 N. Lee Highway
|Owner||Hull’s Angels, Inc. (a 501(c)(3) membership organization)|
|Type||Not-for-profit drive-in theatre|
|Opened||August 6, 1950|
Hull's Drive In is a 319-space drive-in theatre in Lexington, Virginia, one of the seven drive-in theatres still currently operating in Virginia. It is the only non-profit drive-in theatre in the United States. It shows current, family-friendly movies every weekend (Friday-Sunday) between March and October.
The theater opened on August 6, 1950 as the Lee Drive-In. Its owner was Mr. Waddey C. Watkins of Roanoke. In August 1957, Mr. Sebert Hull of Buena Vista assumed ownership. Mr. and Mrs. Hull ran the newly renamed Hull's Drive-In for the next four decades. When Mr. Hull died before the 1998 season, Mrs. Hull sold the business to Mr. W.D. Goad, whose auto body shop is adjacent to the drive-in on Route 11, north of Lexington. Thousands of movie fans were thrilled when Mr. Goad kept the drive-in going that summer, much the way Mr. Hull had for all the years before. The following season (1999), the high cost of the technical improvements that were needed discouraged Mr. Goad from opening the theater. That summer, the big screen remained dark as Mr. Goad searched for a buyer who could fund the necessary upgrades and run the business.
Relief came in the form of Hull's Angels, the local non-profit group dedicated to preserving Hull's Drive-In Theatre. Over the dark summer of 1999, the group formed and by that fall, agreed that they themselves should try and purchase the business. They organized formally as a non-profit corporation, and by spring 2000, signed a lease with an option to buy over the next two years. A $75,000 capital campaign followed, and by July, the Angels had raised enough money from around six hundred donors to make the urgent upgrades and repairs and reopen the theater for the balance of the summer.
2000 was the resurrected Hull's first full summer season, and in 2010, the drive-in marked its tenth year as America's only non-profit drive-in theater.
July 30, 2014, TripAdvisor.com voted Hull's Drive-In as the #7 top drive-in in the country as recognized by reviews on TripAdvisor.com.
August 6, 2014, Hull's Drive-In celebrated their 64th season of showing movies as well as celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Hull's Angels, Inc operating the drive-in.
- Harrison, Don (2 May 2005). "See You at the Movies". The Roanoaker (magazine). Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- O’Neil, Roger (16 August 2006). "Drive-in movie attracts crowds in Virginia". MSNBC. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- Sutcliffe, Andrea (2010). Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads. John F. Blair. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-89587-386-6. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
Hull's Drive-In Theater is one of perhaps eight remaining drive-in theaters in Virginia and fewer than 400 nationwide.
- "The Nation; Drive-In Theaters Flicker Back to Life; All but extinct in the 1990s, outdoor cinemas are making a modest comeback. One in Virginia is revived as a nonprofit business.". Los Angeles Times. 2 September 2003. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- Matthews, Richard (8 June 2005). "Hometown Heroes: Hull's Angels". Ellensburg Daily Record. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- Proceedings of the Rockbridge Historical Society, Volume 12. Rockbridge Historical Society. 2003. pp. 392–5. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- Philp, Rowan (17 July 2000). "The Best Picture Show; Drive-In Movie Fans Band Together To Keep a Screen From Going Dark". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
- Conner, Robin; Paul Johnson (10 October 2008). "Starlit Screens: Preserving Place and Public at Drive-In Theaters". Southern Spaces. Retrieved 2 November 2010.