About a month ago, Google ran a doodle on its homepage, celebrating the anniversary of the opening of the first drive-in theater. It even came with a special, playable video:
Google irked some people with the doodle for choosing the opening of the first drive-in, as opposed to the anniversary of D-Day, which fell on the same day, but many were delighted with the memories of American tradition the doodle conjured up.
Today, I was interested to see a piece of content come through my Google Alerts, that carried the title: “Google Killed A Part Of America’s Past.” It’s a short opinion piece from The Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I’m not sure why it was coming through today, nearly a month after the fact, but it says:
As I accessed the Internet today for the first time (June 5), I was flabbergasted of what I saw on my homepage (google.com): A Google Doodle of Drive-Ins! When you click on the Google Doodle it provides some information provided by Google about drive-ins and how they were first started. But what they failed to mention is how they “destroy drive-ins and America’s past.” Being a Council Bluffs native, I have my share of memories growing up and going to the drive-in to see movies with my family on the weekends.
I wanted to bring this to the attention of local readers that our local “company” that took away a historic landmark dares to educate people about the past, when they indeed killed a huge part of it!
Google, as you may or may not be aware, has a data center in Council Bluffs, and the company did indeed bulldoze a drive-in, in order to set up shop. An InformationWeek article from 2008 confirms:
Some local landmarks are getting bulldozed to make room for Google. A drive-in movie screen was the first to go. The nearby Presbyterian Church is slated for demolition, too.
On its Council Bluffs Data Center page, Google says: Google is very happy to be located in Council Bluffs, IA. We announced our plans to build a data center here in early 2007, and today we are a fully operational site that has already begun benefitting our users around the world. We have had an excellent experience in Council Bluffs as we’ve built out this $600 million investment, and we look forward to being a part of the Iowa community for many years to come.”
According to CinemaTreasures.org, the drive-in was closed in late 2007, and was demolished. “At that time, the owners were hoping to build a new twin-screen drive-in theatre at another location,” it says.
VirtualTourist.com member Rich62, who uploaded the lead image to that site in 2006, captioned the photo:
THERE ARE STILL A FEW DRIVEIN MOVIE THEATERS AVAILABLE IN AMERICA, AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM.
Six years later, it appears that there are even less.