Libby Drive-In Won’t be Rebuilt

By Beacon Staff

LIBBY – A drive-in theater where high wind last summer toppled the movie screen will not be rebuilt, the owner says.

The reconstruction necessary for the Libby Drive In to meet building codes would cost too much, Bert Wilson said.

The National Weather Service said the storm July 19 blew into the Polson area as a tornado, and the damage extended north and west to Libby. Winds in the Polson area were reported at 70 to 80 mph.

Building codes require that a new screen at the drive-in be able to withstand winds of at least 90 mph. That would require a metal screen, and installing one would remove some of the drive-in’s historic feel, Wilson said.

At least 30 percent of the customers were tourists, he said. When the storm hit, the drive-in was offering the movie “Live Free or Die” at carload prices.

The storm knocked out power in part of the Flathead Electric Cooperative system, broke tree limbs and damaged boats on Flathead Lake.