|City/Town: • Hamburg|
|Location Class: • Amusement • Theater|
|Built: • 1960s | Abandoned: • 1990s|
|Status: • Abandoned|
|Photojournalist: • Michael Schwarz • Ginger Beck|
First kisses, buzzing mosquito coils, and sneaking into movies in cars… these are several of countless memories of the Sunset Drive In theater and the Sunset Roller Rink in Hamburg, Arkansas, a small town of around 3,000 people in the heart of Southeast Arkansas. For years, it was one of the only places of entertainment in the small town, a hot spot for birthday parties and movie dates.
Today it remains. Tall pine trees now cover the parking area, once shaped like a baseball field with seemingly endless rows for parking next to speakers on poles. A short step into the wooded area leads to the skating rink, an open air wooden structure with a wooden floor, which no doubt used to be slick for wheels to fly across. The beams above and the structural poles still stand strong. The outside is still emblazoned with white and yellow paint: Sunset Roller Rink.
Walking deeper into the woods, visitors may find the occasional overturned speaker pole, but remnants of anything other than woods are rare… that us until suddenly a giant white triumph of wooden movie screen comes into view. Truly a testament to hard work and solid building, it stands with pride, held in place by massive beams. No trees or weather has torn it down. If a movie were projected on it today, it undoubtedly would only appear slightly aged.
A short walk away from the screen leads to a now defunct concession stand and bathroom area made of cinder-block, no doubt the site of many hot dogs, bags of popcorn, and fountain sodas purchased and consumed.
With the decline in the novelty of American drive-in theaters, it is our wish to highlight and remember this amazing structure, no doubt the hot spot of a small town, filled with memories that many people still fondly recount today.
As we do not have exact dates or history, please feel free to leave your memories in the comments.
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