Tonight was the final showing for the Cottage View Drive-In. The weather was cold, damp and dreary. I guess, fitting weather to the theater's 46 year run. In it's place will be a a very familiar super store that starts with a "Wal" and ends with an "art".
I first photographed the drive-in back in 2007 in late August, but didn't post the photo until September 10. I know it was August because it was a very hot and buggy night, I really needed bug spray badly and made a very short night of it. The very next season, half of their lights burnt out and I never got second chance to improve this shot.
That very photo, from the hot buggy night, can be seen in my local Applebee's Restaurant on their wall. It is part of a photograph mural of sites of Cottage Grove. What's funny to me is, they never asked for permission to display my photo on their wall, but there it is. What do I do? I'm honored to have my photo there and never want it to go away. Soon I will take a photo of me by my photo and post it here on the blog.
As for the theater closing, it is a bummer for the community, but the city will benefit in the long run. The taxes collected are ten fold since the drive-in is only open seasonally. I believe they estimated $20,000 versus $230,000 from the Super Store. I don't quite remember the exact figures, but it is pretty close. A piece of our history has closed, but the untold story is, the theater would be soon closing, regardless of the Walmart purchase, as they needed a projector upgrade from an analog film projector to a digital one, thank you Hollywood. The cost of the upgrade was $70,000 and with the small grossing theater, it was never going to happen. So really, it was a matter of time before they closed and the lot collected no tax dollars.
As sad as it is to see it go from the city of Cottage Grove, I am happy that I was able to give my kids ever lasting memories of the Cottage View Theater for the last six, seven, eight years, or whenever it was I first brought them here.