Theater Description Beverly Drive-In Theatre, Hattiesburg Mississippi

The Beverly Drive-In Theatre is located at 5320 U.S. Highway 49, on the southern edge of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in Forrest County. The drive-in theater faces Highway 49 at its southwest boundary and encompasses approximately 12 acres. The district is bounded on the northwest by portions of Edwards Street and Brady Rd. and on the south by Old Airport Rd. The immediate area around the Beverly consists primarily of commercial buildings, such as service stations and a few retail outlets. These structures are built in close proximity to Highway 49, a 4-lane intercity highway. The areas to the immediate east and northeast of the Beverly are primarily residential. Edwards Street is two-lane and runs north; Brady Road is 2-laned and runs northeast; and Old Airport Road leads to the heart of a residential community known as Palmer's Crossing. The Beverly is one of few remaining drive-in movie theatres in Mississippi and was the oldest in operation in the state, prior to Hurricane Katrina.

The larger screen tower, referred to as Screen 1, is approximately 105 x 75 feet and is original to the 1948 construction. Screen 1 consists of a brick masonry screen tower sheathed on both sides with white asbestos/cement tiles, a popular siding of the post-World War II era. The main screen tower extends outward on both sides to accommodate paired Tudor arched openings for automobile entry and exiting. Several neon lights are attached to the screen tower, including the Beverly logo with a moon and shooting stars. The current Beverly script logo is the third documented version; it covers approximately one-half of the 75-foot screen width. Beyond the arched openings, the north and south parking lot walls consist of corrugated metal sheets arranged in a unique weave pattern between heavy timber light poles. The two drives open into a traditional semi-circular parking arrangement stretching over several acres. The metal posts that once held the speaker boxes are still in place at each parking space.

Screen tower #2 was constructed in 1979 and oriented at the southeast corner of the site. This screen, approximately 80 x 40 feet, consisted of high grade plywood applied to a frame of heavy pole timbers. Screen tower #2, with the exception of the heavy timber framing, was destroyed in 2005 as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

The original owners built their family home, a single level brick masonry building, beneath the main screen. The house was built to be sound and light-proof. A later renovation of the non-viewing side of the screen created a faux New Orleans style front facade, which is centered on the lower half of the screen. The facade consists of a two-story porch, three bays wide, with four square brick columns on the first story. The second floor balcony features ornate wrought iron balustrades and paired wrought iron posts, and three arched faux windows that give the appearance of having louvered shutters in the closed position. Centered on the first story facade are operable French doors topped by a semi-circular wooden frieze in a sunburst pattern. Louvered shutters are fixed in the open position on either side of the doors.

One wing of the house, a single-story, flat roofed structure, extends northeast from the house at an approximate 45 degree angle. This wing has clapboard siding and two over two wood sash windows with horizontal lights. The entire one-story home is viewable from the parking/viewing area, including approximately a dozen windows and three doors. Some privacy was afforded to the homeowners by vegetation planted along the edge of a small grassy yard area, east of the main portion of the house.

Toward the rear of the parking area, centered directly across from the screen, is the projection booth and concession stand. These two functions are housed within one cinder-block building, with the same mid-century design as the residential structure. The projection booth is housed in the two-story portion of the otherwise one-story structure. The projection booth was adapted, in 1979, to project upon a second screen, constructed on the southeast corner of the site. The concession/Projection shed features brick pilasters, similar to the columns on the front facade of the house. Much of the interior of this structure has plaster walls and a lay-in acoustical tile ceiling. A concessions counter exists along the east side of the space and an iron railing runs parallel to the counter, serving as a cue for food and drink patrons. Two restrooms are also included in this structure. On the west side of the building, two viewing windows allowed patrons to view the screen from the concession area. Two sets of paired aluminum doors lead from the west facade of the concession shed onto a patio featuring seating areas within clear view of the main screen.

On the east side of the screen, a traditional semi-circular parking arrangement stretches over several acres. The parking/viewing area is paved with a rough concrete aggregate. Each semicircular row is slightly tiered to allow for an optimized viewing angle from each automobile. At the end of each row, lighted signs are still in place that show the number of each row at the top and a "Full" sign at the bottom. The metal posts that once held the speaker boxes are still in place at each parking space.

On the west side of screen 1, facing Highway 49, is the former Goofy Golf area, where the ticket house, cueing, and restroom facilities still remain. The ticket house and restroom are both housed in a one-story brick structure with a flat roof. The top half of the ticket house portion of the structure has wood walls containing wood awning-style hatch doors in the center of each wall. All of the goofy golf-related facilities, such as instruments, pathways, borders, and cups, have been removed.

The flat-roofed box office and entrance canopy, constructed circa 1949, served as the primary theater entrance. The metal and glass box office divides two driving lanes beneath the once neon-lit canopy. Above the box office is a sign on which the words "BOX OFFICE" are spelled out in neon. A marquis, also with neon lighting, is placed on the northern edge of the canopy; it features a divided letter board for placement of two feature titles. The round metal support posts on either side of the canopy are anchored into large concrete planters that run the full length of the structure.

The Goofy Golf Course once covered approximately one-half acre and featured miniature wooden buildings such as churches, windmills, and schoolhouses that straddled traditional putting greens with synthetic turf. All that remains of the course are remnants of the putting greens and holes for the cups.

The original art deco style Goofy Golf sign is still intact but in poor condition. The top portion of the sign, once lit in neon, features the word "Beverly's" written in script. Additional neon detailing exists on the side edges of the sign. Corrugated plastic panels with the words "Goofy Golf" once existed in the center of the sign.