Indiana State Road 67: Cinema 67 Drive-In and See Rock City barn

State Road 67’s original alignment leaves Gosport, in Owen County, Indiana, along Main Street. Unfortunately, the road ahead is closed where an old bridge is no longer fit for service. I drew that alignment on the map below in blue, and I’ll write more about that alignment in the next article in this series. We detoured to the other end of this original alignment along current SR 67 and saw a couple of things worth sharing.

Map data ©2023 Google.

Southbound SR 67 is an east-west road here. Just before it meets US 231 in a T intersection, you’ll find Cinema 67 Drive-In Theatre.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

This theater opened in 1957 as the Records Drive-In, and was sold and renamed as Cinema 67 in 1973. Cinema 67 can hold 350 cars.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

The era when drive-ins were most popular ended a few decades ago, but many held on. The ones that remained reached a crossroads around ten years ago when new movies stopped being distributed on film. Digital projection equipment is wicked expensive, and many drive-ins couldn’t afford it.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

Many drive-ins closed. Some shifted to showing old movies, for which they could still get film. But some fortunate drive-ins figured out how to beg or borrow the money for digital projection equipment. Cimena 67 is among those so fortunate. The theater still operates; see their Web site here.

Cinema 67 Drive-In

Right past the drive-in, SR 67 meets US 231 at a T intersection, and you turn left to stay on 67. SR 67 is the longest State Road in the state, but US 231 is the longest US highway in the state. US 231 came to Indiana in 1954, a Johnny-come-lately to the Indiana highway network. But it was routed entirely over existing State Roads. Here, US 231 was routed over what used to be SR 43.

Begin the US 231/SR 67 concurrency

Along this stretch where SR 67 and US 231 run concurrently, before the road reaches Spencer it passes this barn.

See Rock City

Rock City is a tourist attraction that sits atop Lookout Mountain, which straddles the Tennessee/Georgia border near Chattanooga. To advertise this attraction, starting in the 1930s Rock City paid farmers in 19 states to allow them to paint an advertisement much like this one on their barn roofs. Farmers were paid about $40 in return. About 900 barns were painted in the end. But they were all painted on the old two-lane highways. As the Interstates were built starting in the late 1950s, they became less relevant and the program eventually ended.

In the ensuing years many of the advertisements faded and many of the barns fell into disrepair or were demolished. Some farmers with intact barns, like this one, kept repainting the advertisement, probably out of sentimentality.

Rock City hired a professional photographer named David Jenkins in the early 1990s to document all of the barns that remained. He drove all over with his camera, trying to find these barns from sometimes sketchy information. He published a book called Rock City Barns: A Passing Era, to share these photos. It’s available on Amazon here. Jenkins blogs here and sometimes shares images from this project.

Next: The original alignment of SR 67 in this area, which passes through the tiny town of Romona.

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Comments

15 responses to “Indiana State Road 67: Cinema 67 Drive-In and See Rock City barn”

  1. Russ Ray Avatar

    I did not realize 43 went south of West Lafayette. I grew up on that road!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Yep. From Spencer to Lafayette, US 231 was routed over what was then SR 43, and SR 43 was then truncated in Lafayette!

  2. -Nate Avatar
    -Nate

    I am -so- pleased to see a working drive in theater .

    I miss them and made a point of taking my then young son to the Pickwick Drive In in Burbank, Ca. before they demolished it .

    -Nate

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      We have several drive-ins still operating in Indiana. I know of two others for sure. Here’s an article I wrote about one of them.

      https://blog.jimgrey.net/2020/04/13/movies-on-the-michigan-road-the-skyline-drive-in-in-shelbyville/

      1. Paul Russell Avatar
        Paul Russell

        The Tri-Way Drive-In on Michigan Road (yes, THAT Michigan Road) north of Plymouth, Indiana is stil in business.

  3. Dave Jenkins Avatar
    Dave Jenkins

    Jim, thanks very much for the mention and the link. There’s a Rock City barn in today’s post also. alifeinphotography.blogspot.com

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My pleasure as always!

  4. Nancy S. Stewart Avatar
    Nancy S. Stewart

    “See Rock City and Ruby Falls” …. I remember these so much from vacations …. ( along with the “Burma Shave” signs. ) I have been to both Rock City and Ruby Falls. I like the Rock City/Chattanooga area very much and I believe that I could actually live there. Lots of Civil War history.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve been down Chattanooga way myself and from the first I fell in love with the landscape. I’m an Indiana man through and through and am unlikely to ever leave, but the one other place I could see myself living is down there.

  5. Dave Jenkins Avatar
    Dave Jenkins

    I first went to Chattanooga in 1955 at age 18 to attend college. Altogether, I lived in the Chattanooga area for 59 years. I would prefer to be there now, but we’re getting on in years and have kids in Knoxville, so that’s where we are. I miss Chattanooga and the northwest Georgia mountains.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Fortunately, Chattanooga isn’t a far drive for you when you want to visit!

  6. brandib1977 Avatar

    An operating drive-in AND a Rock City Barn? What a fun trip!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I would have needed only a Mail Pouch Tobacco barn or an old general store to make this a total hat trick!

      1. brandib1977 Avatar

        Another day, another road!

  7. J P Avatar

    I had no idea that 67 was the longest state highway. And I never really understood what/why 231 existed, so thanks.

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