As part of a series on the influential, colorful, historic people, places and things along Illinois Route 66, we present…
SkyView Drive-In Theatre
Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame Class of 1998
1500 Old Rte 66 N, Litchfield, IL 62056
Here’s the story behind this historic landmark:
America once had 4,000 drive-in theaters, 33 of which were on Route 66. Nationally, there are less than 500 drive-ins left today. On Route 66 there are only five. The longest-lived of them is the Sky View Drive-in in Litchfield, Illinois.
Friscina, a regional theater chain, opened the Sky View in 1949. Its 16-acre lot holds 600 cars. At the time of its induction to our Hall of Fame, the theater’s owner was Norman Paul, who bought it in 1982.
The decline of drive-in theaters’ popularity had many reasons throughout the years: Television, rising land values, smaller cars, VCRs and even Daylight Savings Time. Yet the Sky View thrived through it all. When the Sky View became a Hall of Famer, some 300-400 people regularly attended weeknight showings and more than a thousand on weekends. Paul attributed this to good advertising, family-worthy movies, and the $1 admission price. He also saluted his loyal staff… all four regulars had been with the Sky View for more than 20 years.
Fast forward 20+ years and we’re glad to say the Sky View is still operating.
Current owners Nick, Mindy, Mike and Debbie Pastrovich purchased the drive-in in 2016, modernizing the name to SkyView. As of this writing, they have put the theater on the market, stating they are “looking for new caretakers” of the property The Pastrivichs credit the locals and Route 66 enthusiasts for their successes.
The family declares, “The Mother Road has such a rich history, and is loaded with fun things to do, and of course amazing foods to try!”