Beverly Drive-In Theatre
Hattiesburg, Mississippi (Forrest County)
The Beverly, first opened on May 29th, 1948, was the second drive-in theater to open in the state of Mississippi. One of the more unique features about the theater is that the owners’ residence – a three bedroom, two bathroom house with a sun porch – was built beneath the main screen. In addition to two full-size screens, the complex houses a concession stand/projection room and a drive-through box office.
The Beverly ran strong under the original owners’ management for over thirty years, then in 1982, outside operators were brought in to manage the facility. After two years, the original owner terminated the agreement with the operating staff and closed the drive-in down. It reopened in 1986 for a brief period, closed again in 1987, and remained out of operation for the next fifteen years. The theater was then used for occasional special event fundraisers that “always sold out.” The Beverly reopened in 2001 under new management and with technological upgrades. Business was good until August 2005, when extensive damage occurred due to Hurricane Katrina.
Following the hurricane, little had been done to repair the site. Water infiltration damaged the interiors of the complex and the owner neither had the finances nor the willingness to venture forward. With a startling 96% of Mississippi’s drive-in theaters having been closed, the importance of preserving and restoring this site could not be more evident. As a state and local landmark, this site was fondly regarded by Hattiesburg residents and passersbys on Highway 49, as a slice of irreplaceable Americana.
2015 Update – Lost
The Beverly Drive Inn was destroyed by fire in 2010.