Midway Drive-in Has a Long History!

midwayThe Drive-In is still alive, but unfortunately some of them may no longer be operating since at the end of this year, the majority of them will face closure with the movie industry’s switch from 35 mm film to digital. Upgrading to digital projection costs will be extremely high.

This summer the Midway Drive-In entertained guests in the great outdoors. Many evenings cars would be lined up along William Penn Highway waiting to get to the entrance of Juniata County’s only drive-in, outside of Mifflintown.

The Midway was built in 1950 and showed the first flick on May 17 of that year. The Berney’s, Irvin and Doris, were the first proprietors and showed the film “When My Baby Smiles at Me,” in Technicolor that first night. It starred Betty Grable, Jack Oaki, and Dan Dailey.

The area where the Midway Drive-In is located was formerly a junkyard that was turned into an open-air theater by Volpe Construction Company.

Many may recall when the concession stand was a spot where Midway had posted license plate numbers to help entice movie patrons to buy refreshments at the snack bar. Each night the ticket taker would randomly choose a car, write down the license number and take it to the concession stand where it would be displayed. Then at intermission between movies, the announcer would alert all movie-goers that they should come to the snack bar and check to see if they’d won a free pass to use on their next trip to the drive-in.

Also at intermission, commercials made their way across the big outdoor screen. Some of the more memorable ones were the dancing hot dog, which was shown on the screen in the movie “Grease,” along with marching ice cream and of course Jolly popcorn.

“Spotty” was a favorite intermission game played and recalled by nearly all outdoor movie-goers. “Spotty” was a bug on the film strip that would move all over the screen and had car owners trying to catch the bug with their mounted spotlights’ light beams.

Some may also remember when the cost of a ticket to the outdoor entertainment center was $1.00 a carload [1950s].

Movie patrons have been parking in the Midway Drive-In’s field for more than a half a century now.

Have a favorite memory from the Midway Drive-in?  Feel free to share it right here!

Civil War Event This Weekend!

mtuscarora_academy_todayA Civil War Event will be held at the Academy Saturday and Sunday, August 24 and 25. Union and Confederate re-enactors will be set up at the Tuscarora Academy Museum in Academia. They will give presentations and demonstrations of the Civil War soldier’s way of life throughout the weekend. The Academy Museum will be open Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. There’s no fee to visit so feel free to stop by that weekend. This will be the last weekend the museum will be open.

window-repairsIf you’ve driven by the TuscaroraAcademyMuseum in the last week you’ve probably noticed scaffolding, several boarded up windows, a large lift and people busily working.

That’s because the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has contracted to repair the center and round windows on the north end of the building.  They’re inspecting all the windows and replacing any water damaged frames or sashes, removing and replacing the glazing and painting the window frames, the door, and the wooden soffits, brackets and fascia at the roof line.  The masonry around the windows and door will also be repaired or replaced where needed.  They will be up on the roof replacing the flashing around the belfry and giving it a new coat of paint.



Restored Cannon Carriage On Display

New-cannon-aloneThis cannon carriage, once owned by the David H, Wilson GAR Post 134, Mifflintown, is believed to have been made in the late 1870’s.  It was restored and a new barrel was made by Jeff Stafford of Coatesville, PA.

It is, along with the matching limber, on display at the Academy.  The canon barrel was made so it could not be fired.

There will be more on this story in the September issue of Juniata Jottings – which should be in the mail in the next week or two to our members!


Zimmie’s “Pie Lady” Finds Her Way Home

The Pie Lady

The Pie Lady

For years, she beckoned Juniata County residents to come inside Zimmie’s Diner to sample the fine food and atmosphere.  And she did this without saying a word.  Her lure: a steaming hot-out-of-the-oven pie she held out in front of her.  Known simply as the “Pie Lady,” she was a staple in our fine county.

A number of years back, the diner was sold and the Pie Lady had vanished.  Gone….but not forgotten.

A few months ago, the Society was contacted by Reed Lebo from the Halifax area.  Mr. Lebo had recently attended an auction where he came across the Pie Lady.  Something about her lured him in (maybe it was that steaming hot pie?), and he decided he wanted to buy it.  Mr. Lebo didn’t know the history of the sign and had never been to Zimmie’s Diner.  He just knew it was interesting.  Rumor has it that he didn’t tell his wife of his intentions until he started bidding.  As he figured, she thought he was crazy for buying the sign.  As luck would have it, he ended up the top bidder.

Once he had the Pie Lady, he really didn’t have any plans/place for her.  So, he contacted the Society to see if there was any interest in purchasing the sign from him.  He only asked to be paid the same amount that he had paid for the sign.  After a quick discussion between the Board members, the decision was made to purchase the sign (because of its historical and emotional significance to Juniata County).

So, arrangements were made for the Pie Lady to travel back to Juniata County.  She boarded the back of a box truck and made the trip without incident (though she had lost a foot sometime between the time she vanished and the time she made it to the auction).  Fortunately, her foot was saved and traveled with her.

While Zimmie’s Diner no longer needs her to watch over it, the Pie Lady now resides in the Tuscarora Academy Museum.  She can be visited, along with all of the other local treasures on display, on Sundays during the Summer.  Better hurry, though, as regular hours will be done at the end of August.

Want to hear more about the Pie Lady and Zimmie’s Diner?  We’ll have more of their history in the next Juniata Jottings newsletter coming out soon.

Have any stories of the “Pie Lady” or Zimmie’s Diner?  We’d love to hear about them!

Zimmie's Diner with the Pie Lady sign out front.

Zimmie’s Diner with the Pie Lady sign out front.