Sodus Record July 10, 1947
On July 16, 1947 the Skyway Drive-in opened. Located at 7985 Ridge Road in Wallington, it was the first and only drive-in located in the Town of Sodus and was initially owned and operated by George Mason. The Skyway had 1 screen and could accommodate 400 cars. The drive-in had a good run of 28 years, but like almost all drive-in theatres, became a victim of a changing American culture.
A nostalgic article about the Skyway can be found in the book Arms’ Crossroads – Wallington pages 92-93 by The Wallington Cobblestone Schoolhouse Restoration Committee 1982
During 1947 the eastern edge of the business district was marked by the construction of the area’s first and only Drive-In Theater. The uprooting of a peach orchard, inherited by George Mason from him father, provided the site for the movie screen, bringing the casual, outdoor, watch-from-your-car family entertainment. Through the years of popularity the business was in the hands of Peter Caletto, Mr. Jaycon, and presently Bill Mack who is seeking the next owner. Adjacent to the theater George built a refreshment stand to serve the movie crowd. The food and the location soon called for the addition of a dining room. The Skyway was “the” spot to stop for coffee, a snack, an early breakfast after whatever the evening had been; bowling, the movie, work or just a night out. Many times, because of twenty-four hour service, there would hardly be a parking spot or an empty table for those rounding out their evening. From 1967 until 1970 Owen Connor was the owner, prior to locating across the road at his present business called The Country Acres Ice Cream Parlor and Trailer Park. Mrs. James Cheesman owned the diner from 1970 until 1972 when Steve and Helen Vergopolus bought it and did a complete remodeling job in 1977 naming their new restaurant The Grecian Villa. In March of 1981 William Baker became the owner and renamed it the Chessmure Place Restaurant. As is always customary with the local residents, you’ll still hear “meet you at the Skyway for coffee”.
My great aunt Ethel Wideman, worked in the concession stand. My mom, Doris Finnie helped out. My older brother, Rick Finnie worked the projectors in the summers of the late 1960s. My dad, Richard Finnie, who had the TV business in Alton, worked on the projectors there and other theaters in the area. I remember being behind the counter and going into the projection room. Baron DeMone, who hosted the scary movies in Rochester TV, was there one night and my dad got his autograph for us.
I recall Eugene Heise worked there as a projectionist near the end. The muscle cars would rumble in, some hot rods, foreign stuff and the guys would wander around before dark looking at them. Don’t recall seeing much of any of the movies though!