Hi-Way Drive-in

Hi-Way+Drive-in

“Where memories are made.”  The slogan for the Hi-Way Drive-In on the corner of Route 30 says it all.  The theater is beloved by everyone in town, yet unless something changes drastically; it may never open again.  Reasons behind the possible closing include the fact that CVS Pharmacy is trying to buy the property from Dill Construction Co. who, until recently, annually leased the property to Lee Zimmerman for the drive-in.

Since 1965, the Zimmerman family has been associated with the drive-in and originally planned to continue having it for many years into the future.  On the official Hi-Way Drive-In website, when describing the history of the drive-in, it states “After three generations and over 30 years working there, we just couldn’t sit idle and let the Hi-way close. We look forward to having the drive in for many years to come.” 

Unfortunately, this dream is not in their future anymore.  “A lot of people are upset, it’s kind of a landmark” Lee Zimmerman said to Marie McCandless of the Latrobe Bulletin as Zimmerman discussed the pending closure of the business which he and his family have run for years. “It’s big business coming in and taking over little business,” Zimmerman stated. 

As a result of the drive-in closing, many people in the community have become angered at the idea that the place where they once shared so many memories on warm, beautiful summer evenings is now going to be gone forever.  “I would be so upset (if it closed) because there are so many great memories of growing up there on summer nights when I was little,” said junior Alex Palmer about the theater closing.  One of her favorite memories from the drive in was “when my mom used to drench my sister, brother, and I in bug spray to keep the mosquitoes away and we always would complain about the smell.”

Another Latrobe student, Jimmy Zimmerman, said that he saw his very first 3D movie at the drive-in when he was younger.  When hearing about his childhood memory being replaced with a pharmacy, he said “I think it’s ridiculous that we are willing to replace something so historic with a drug store.  There’s just something not right about it.”

But, they are not the only two people voicing their opinions about the drive-in’s future.  On, April 5 at the Unity Township Municipal Building, during the Unity Township Planning Commission meeting, a group of protesters met to stop the approval for a site plan that proposes the construction of the CVS Pharmacy.  One of the protesters, Sheila Daniele from Latrobe presented a petition with over 400 signatures at the protest.  Daniele told Chris Ulicne of the Latrobe Bulletin “We will stand behind our community.  Big business doesn’t mean anything to this little town.”

Although it is looking rather bleak for the protesters against the closing of the drive-in, they are not giving up that easily.  Latrobe resident Karen Sarp said to Chris Ulicne of the Bulletin, “The drive-in is the last legacy that we have here.  People come from surrounding towns, from out of state, to go to the drive-in.” 

Hopefully, the protesters efforts will not be wasted and the Hi-Way Drive-in can be saved for future generations to enjoy, much like our own generation has enjoyed it.  Nina Wickham, a junior at Greater Latrobe said, “It’s so classic and it’s become a tradition in the summers.  It’s great that we have a drive-in; it makes me feel like not everything from the past is gone.”