The Vali-Hi Drive-In...


The Vali-Hi Drive-In is a good example of the history of 'clever' names used for drive-ins. 

The first rule is typically to spell everything as phonetically as possible using the fewest letters possible.

The second rule would be to use the local geography and a town feature in the name.  In this case, the drive-in is built into a small valley (Vali).

And then finally, try to be clever, ironic or use a pun.  Vali-Hi qualifies because a high-valley is somewhat an oxymoron, when in reality the Hi is in reference to the nearby highway.

See?  Clever.


The Vali-Hi Drive-In is the one of two remaining drive-in theaters in the Twin Cities (the other is the Cottage View Drive-In).  Despite it's close proximity to the 3M corporation world headquarters, it is in an isolated pocket of undeveloped property.

It can accommodate 800 cars, so it is modest-to-large in size and uses a combination of short wave FM radio and speakers to deliver the audio.

It appears to do a good business and there is no obvious immeninent threat to close forever, but each spring there is always news of another drive-in that decides not to open for the summer.


It is unlikely that drive-ins will completely disappear from the American landscape, but it will be greatly diminished.  From the first drive-in in New Jersey in 1932, to the peak of drive-in popularity in 1958, it has been a remarkable run. 

The sun has not completely set on this industry and there are some especially interesting twists taking place with the use of 'pop-up' drive-ins with digital projection technology.

But it won't be like it was and it is an easy subject to wax nostalgic about.