Drive-Ins and Theaters

Some of my most fondest memories growing up in Logan County are of the great times spent at the Drive-Ins and Theaters. If you have any special Logan County Drive-In or Theater memories or photos you’d like to share with us here, please do so. To share a photo, please email it to the admin at Please note that you must own the photo you are submitting or ensure that no one has a copyright claim on it.

1957 Monitor Drive-In Theatre

Monitor Drive-In Theatre from the LHS 1957 Yearbook.

Logan County Drive-Ins and Theaters Photo Gallery

See may also like: The Logan Theatre History

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26 Responses to Drive-Ins and Theaters

  1. Vanessa Mathis says:

    My great uncle Wayne Mathis owned and operated the monitor drive in. His sons were Tom Mathis, Tom “rose” Tomblin, Gary Mathis. Wayne died in 1974. I have no idea who owns the property which now hosts a “flea market”!

  2. Virginia Stepp says:

    I remember the Monitor Drive In, Capital Theatre, Logan Theatre, Smokehouse and others. My mother raised 6 children on her own after my father Alfred Smith Curtis left her high and dry, he even changed his name and social security number. He changed his name to Samson Curtis. I still hold contempt for him. But Mom would never allow us to go to the Smokehouse, it was no place for young ladies she would say. Needless to say we were dirt poor, Mom, (Betty Curtis, maiden Burgess), so 3 of us would get in the floorboards of Mom’s old rusty car, with hardly any brakes and hide with coats and blankets over us. We would bring our own pops, chips and sandwiches. My grandmother Margaret Burgess, maiden Chafin, would lock us out because she said going to the movies was devil’s work. We would spend the night with my Uncle Paul Burgess and Aunt Sis (Nora). He would call mammaw and say let them come home, they aren’t doing anything wrong, she would tell him to mind his own business. Haha, she was a card. I learned everything from her. We lived at Micco at this time. My granddaughter owns the house where we grew up.

  3. Frank Mcdonald ( Steve ) . says:

    When I was about 4 we didn’t have much money ,My mother would take us to the rail road tracks next to the drive inn in monitor and if we were real quiet we could hear the movie ,I went back there last year from ohio ,I looked forward to walking on the swing bridge that went to my grand parents house but it was gone I guess a flood got it .

  4. Barbara Mowery says:

    I didn’t see where anyone mentions this, so I will. In one of the pictures is the Capital Theater, & City Bakery, and it says that the Capital Theater opened in 1925, which is probably correct, but the Capital Theater in the picture was opened in about the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. Before that, the building was a place of business. Anyone remember how small it was, and that the floor was not sloped like movie theater floors, so that the people up front would not block the view of the people in the back? The first movie I saw there at the 2nd Capital Theater was ‘The Exorcist’. The original Capital Theater build in 1925 was on the corner across from where the walk up ATM machine is at LB&T. I went to that theater several times in the late 1950’s. It was a large real theater building, with all the usual features of a ticket booth, 3 sections of theater seats, with aisles between each section. One Easter I went to the movies & took my little sister. We saw a movie titled ‘Many Rivers to Cross’, staring Robert Taylor & Eleanor Parker. Robert Taylor’s role was as Bushrod Gentry. I fell in love with him that day. My sister & I watched the movie twice !! I remember the lady at the ticket booth wore her lipstick beyond the edge of her lips. Nowadays some people do that, but that was the first time I saw someone do that.

  5. John l. Booth says:

    I was about 4/5 years old when we moved from Branchland (Lincoln Co.) to Logan. We moved into a 2 room apt. over the New ERA Bakery. My mother worked at the bakery. (P.S. The Bakery was named after the owners 3 Daughters Edna, Renata, Aida). I would go to the bakery every Sat. and make boxes for cookies, cakes, and pies. The owners would give me .25 cents to go to the theater till my mother got off work, and they would give me a bag of cookies, and cupcakes. I would pass them out for popcorn and candy. We later moved to Charles and Pine St. We rented off the Watsons. My mother remarried in ’52 and we moved to Lorado in spring ’53. I started Lorado grade School in the 5th grade. Went to Man Jr High School and graduated from Man H.S. in ’61. After the flood of Buffolow Creek in ’72 I don’t go up there very often. Every (lately) I come down (from Chicago) to visit my Brother (Conard Midkiff) at Davin and my sister (Patty Mitchell) in Va.
    Lorado was HOME. And after the flood it has changed so much the only things that didn’t change was the hills.

    John Booth
    formaly of Lorado, W.Va.
    Roselle, IL.

  6. Richard Moreno says:

    Shelby, I remember the Smoke House for three other reasons. As a teen (late 1940s-early 1950s) I was crazy about baseball and avidly followed the Cincinnati Reds whose games were broadcast on WLOG, I think is was. In the afternoons after school and on weekends I would stop by the Smoke House to catch up on all the Major League scores which were posted in chalk on a huge scoreboard on the right wall of the restaurant area as you walked in. The scores –which came in by Western Union– would be posted inning by inning, and it was the next best thing to actually seeing or listening to the games.

    Loving baseball also made me a fan of the Logan businessmen’s softball league which played games on Middleburg Island on Saturdays or Sundays. They were exciting, highly competitive fast-pitch games and featured some really good talent. There were six teams in the league: the Smoke House [the perennial champions it seemed], Silver Brand Clothing Store, Southern Auto, Guyan Machinery, Appalachian Power Company, and another team. The Smoke House’s star pitcher was a fellow who was essentially one-armed [the other being withered], and he pitched with blazing speed.

    My third memory of the Smokehouse is a magazine rack where they sold the popular ‘Sporting News’ –which mainly covered baseball– and magazines like ‘Field and Stream’, and such which appealed to men. I discovered that the rack also had racy magazines with titles like ‘Sunshine’ which supposedly were for “sun-lovers” (a polite name then for nudists) and featured discreet nude photos of women romping in the sun. These kinds of magazines had an appeal for adolescent boys like me who were just becoming aware of the physical differences between girls and boys.

  7. Richard Moreno says:

    What I remember best about the Middelburg Theater and growing up in Logan in the 1940s and 1950s is Tony’s, a tiny standup sandwich bar right alongside the theater where the genial Italian owner –named Tony of course– made and served the best pimento cheese sandwiches on freshly baked Italian bread. My dad would take me to Tony’s for a pimento cheese sandwich on Saturday’s and then send me to watch a western double-feature. If the films were expecially good or if it was raining or freezing outside, I would sit through the whole bill a second time at no extra charge.

  8. Herb Harvey says:

    I saw Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock at the Holden theater when it first came out. The scene where Elvis is being beaten with a whip had several of the teeny bopper girls in tears. My Uncle, Pete Messer, had some type of manager position there. I also remember them drawing ticket stub numbers from a hat and if you had the matching number you would win a silver dollar.

  9. Jane McDonald Jamison says:

    Do you remember the theatre in Peach Creek? Only a dime for all the movies, and a gathering place outside for all we teens. And Tony’s beside the Middleburg Theatre with his “Tony” bread for his ham salad and pimento cheese sandwiches? I’m quite sure his “Tony” bread was Italian bread made at one of the local bakeries owned by Italians.

    • ralph baldwin says:

      I remember that theater well. My grandmother, Hattie Baldwin, sold tickets and pop corn in the evening showings. By day she ran the boarding house above the theater. Mainly out of town railroad workers stayed there and I can testify they got a huge plate of whatever meal they were eating.

  10. Lona Workman says:

    I remember all of the old theaters, I moved to Cole Branch in 1948, just after my Dad was killed in the Mines at Proctor on Buffalo Creek, but I had been comming to Logan to shop with my parents all my life. I met my husband walking down Coal Branch one Hot July day. I was on my way to Thom Broning’s store for my mother, when he came walking up the sidewalk. We passed each other about where the old grade school used to be. but I didn’t speak to him for several weeks later. But you can read all about my life growing up on Buffalo Creek and Logan in my book. ” MOMMIES GONE” by Virginia West on Amazon .com.

    • Lona Workman says:

      PS< there sure was a Gem theater at the mouth of Coal Branch. and my future husband and I used to slipp dwn there and watch the "dirty " movies at night, there was a wall between the white section and th colord, so for the first time the colord didn't have to it upstaires.

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Hey Lona,
      What sidewalk? I don’t remember a sidewalk near the little school at Coal Branch. I skinned my knees many times slipping and sliding on the gravel in front of the school, hurrying to get to class after the bell had been rung. Sure wish someone would come up with some old pictures of Coal Branch School. My memories have gotten foggy with time. Maybe there were sidewalks in front of the coal camp houses at Coal Branch? I have numerous pictures of Black Bottom from the 1940s-50s and there were no sidewalks at Black Bottom. I used to go to the GEM theater every time the picture changed when it was new. My mother worked at the Pioneer Dry Cleaners next door to the theater. I believe the old Gem Theater building is still standing. There was no petition (segregation) when I used to go there. I never went at night though. I only remember family movies being shown there. My favorite was “That Hagen Girl” starring Shirley Temple, Rory Calhoun and Ronald Reagan (yep, that Ronald Reagan) 😆

  11. Peggy [Hensley} Adkins says:

    Sorry, I was talking about the GEM THEATER in Deskins Addition .Got side tract,It was a very pretty place.I guess, Iwas 8-9-10yrs old.Grandpaw would tell is what he was doing. Tom Brownings store was across the street.

  12. Shelby Burgess says:

    I don’t know of any Gem theatre. The theatre with the toll booth was the old Midelburg theatre. For a quarter, one could get popcorn, and enjoy a double feature, back then (not quite old as dirt, but gettin’ there). The Monitor theatre was located between Deskins addition, and Monitor. Les Avis was the proprietor. The Logan theatre brings back memories. Tex Ritter, the cowboy movie star, did a show there. There were other notables who did shows there.

    • Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

      Shelby, The GEM Theater was built about 1946 at Deskins Addition (Black Bottom). To the best of my knowledge it was the only theater in Logan County that was owned and operated by black people. I used to go every time the “show” changed for half fare (10 cents). Shelby, if you look closely, the theater with the “toll both” is the Logan Theater. Half fare at the theaters in town was 15 cents. I sold the Logan Banner on the streets of Logan to earn “show fare” and went to all of them when the “show” changed. I always went for half fare, even after I started dating, but if I had a date, the poor little boys had to pay full fare for themselves and for me. I grew up roaming the hills and streets about town. I wasn’t real crazy about the westerns at the Middleburg Theater. The Middleburg had a double feature (western) every Friday and Sat. My dad won $400.00 in a drawing they had one time.

      • Harvey Yanko says:

        I remember 3 theaters in town -Logan, Capitol, and Middleburg. As a young lad during the late 40’s and early 50’s every Saturday I went to the Middleburg theater to watch a double feature western, the lastest chapter of a serial and a cartoon. Many parents dropped their kids off there and went about their shopping. Those are enjoyable memories and to this day when I watch an old western with Johnny Mack Brown, Ken Maynard, Tex Ritter, etc. I wax nastalgia and see myself back in the theater cheering on the heroes. Those were the days. And times. Too bad we cannot return to how it was.

        • ralph h. mcneely says:

          harvey, this is ralph mcneely,, did you live in north mitchell hghts???/ i lived with emery killen next door if you did… i just ran across your name here and could not believe it… if you look in the photos for friends and relitives i think you will see your house… if not i am sorry to bother you….

        • ralph h. mcneely says:

          make that friends and family,,,… getting old.. i have a photo of you and me also… send me an email and i will send it to you…. my mom and dads name was elmer and katie,,, i know it has been a few weeks but i hope this is you…

        • roy wollfe says:

          Hi harvey, we were in a lot of classes together. How are you doing?

      • Shelby Burgess says:

        Nearly forgot the Chapmanville movie theatre; Darby Hager was the proprietor. They had weekly shows featuring “B” grade movies. About the only good thing this theatre had was the low admission price.

    • Kate W. says:

      I remember the Midelburg theatre and the 1-inch cobalt blue glass tiles on the wall behind the concession stand. My parents used to take me there as a child. When I was about 9 or 10 I started going to the Holden Theatre across the street from the Main Holden Island Creek Store. I went every Saturday, to a double feature, news reel and cartoons, with my sister and two cousins who lived in frogtown at the time. I saw my first Elvis movie at the Logan Theatre but never saw any movies at the Capitol as a child that I remember. One thing I remember is the uncensored previews in some of these movie houses. Some of them had a traumatic effect on my memory and I remember them as clearly today as the day I saw them. Some things have changed for the better, don’t you think?

      • Shelby Burgess says:

        I remember all of that; The locals ruled downtown Logan from Monday -Friday. The weekends belonged to we outsiders. We took over the city. The sidewalks were so crowded, people would walk in the streets.

        • Shelby Burgess says:

          The old Smokehouse was a favorite, where one could shoot pool, eat. One always watched for friends, co-workers to chat with, while walking the streets. Logan truly was an exciting place back then. I miss those days.

  13. Dodie (Smith) Browning says:

    Does anyone remember the Gem Theater at Black Bottom? It was built about 1946, across the street from the old Tom Browning Grocery Store.

    • Peggy [Hensley} Adkins says:

      I remember I went there every time it changed. A big 10 cents. My grandpa helped build it. Charley Hensley, my aunt, uncle, kids and GRANDMA. [Ada Whitehead] move here from Norfolk VA. Grandpa worked in shipyards in WWII Moved here for a few years. Moved to Crocker Mt. VA. My main place was Middleburg with–TOM MIX– how he could fight. My brother and I loved him. We would talk about him all the way home.