Larkfield Drive-In razed for Dollar General

CONTRIBUTEDTrisha Benson Sloan of Grove City took this photo June 15 of the former Larkfield Drive-In being demolished on state Route 58 in Pine Township. Dollar General is planning to build a store on the property.

PINE TOWNSHIP – The former drive-in movie theater that stood in Pine Township for decades has come down to make way for a Dollar General.

Richard Stachel, chair of the Pine Township supervisors, confirmed that permits have been issued and site preparation has started on the state Route 58 property.

Ernie DeSue, the township’s zoning officer, said on Thursday that the Larkfield Drive-In Theater on East Main Street Extension has been completely demolished.

“It went pretty smoothly,” he said of the process.

The company hasn’t indicated when it might be ready to open the new store, which will measure about 9,100 square feet.

Angela Petkovic, a spokesperson for Dollar General, said the store is being built at 615 E. Main St. Extension, and that they expect to break ground within the next few weeks.

She noted that the company looks for locations that are easy and convenient for customers, serving people within a three-to-five-mile radius, or a 10-minute drive.

Nearby stores include one in Pine on West Main Street, Slippery Rock, Harrisville and Mercer, and one under construction in Springfield Township.

The new store will employ about six to 10 people, Petkovic said.

Word has spread that the old theater building is no more, and people have been taking to social media to share their thoughts on the Larkfield.

Trisha Benson Sloan of Grove City took a photo of the demolition on June 15, recalling the time she spent with the DeMarsh and Gilliland families who lived next to the drive-in.

“Just a great memory of our past,” she said.

A 1996 article from The Herald on file at the Grove City Area Historical Society and Museum notes that William DeMarsh was selling the Guthrie Theatre in Grove City, and that he built the Larkfield in 1946.

The article also says that the Larkfield was thought to be western Pennsylvania’s first drive-in movie theater.

The website drive-ins.com, which has information about drive-in theaters across the country, says that the Larkfield opened in 1947 and closed in 1980, and that it was initially owned by DeMarsh Theaters, then a company called Cinemette.

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