The Lynn Auto Theatre, located in Strasburg, Ohio, has been in continuous operation since 1937.
Not only is it the oldest drive in theater in Ohio, it holds the honor of being the second oldest drive in theater in the world.
Built at the junction of State Routes 21 and 250 just northwest of Strasburg by Andy Thompson and Roland Boyer during the summer of 1935, the Lynn Drive In was originally named Boyer’s Auto Theatre.
The theater opened in the spring of 1937 and included a restaurant, gas station, Golf driving range, and arcade. In 1948, the theater was bought by Ward Franklin and his son-in-law Ray McCombs who changed the name to the Lynn Auto Theatre in honor of McCombs daughter, Judy Lynn. During the mid 1950’s, the restaurant, gas station, arcade, and golf range were unfortunately closed.
By the fall of 1957, Richard R. Reding, along with his son, Richard and his wife, Eunice (“Abby” as she was known to most) decided to buy the theater. They added a second screen during 1967, upgrading it to a Twin screen drive in. By the 1970s and 1980s, the Reding family not only owned the Lynn Auto Theatre but twelve other movie theaters in Northeast Ohio.
Today, the theater is on its fourth generation of the family, owned and run by Rick and Abby’s sons, Rich and Jamie Reding. In 1996, they added new soundheads to the speaker posts and installed audio boards giving customers the option of listening through their FM vehicle radios or by the traditional speakers provided. In 2001, the projection systems were completely overhauled and refurbished and by 2005, they added a brand new classic retro marquee.
The Lynn Auto Theater is one of the few grass drive ins left. It can accommodate 225 vehicles and is open from March through October. Not only do you get to watch a great current film here but you will also be in the midst of living Americana history that I am sure will be unforgettable!