FAIRBORN — The clock is ticking for the marquee sign of the old Skyborn Drive-in Theatre. The Fairborn Area Historical Society is currently looking to move the sign to a secure location before it is demolished or sold.
Barrett Paving Materials, Inc. currently owns the property that used to be Skyborn Theatre. The mining company demolished the theatre and the adjacent Skyborn Skateland earlier this year in order to extract aggregate below the foundations of both buildings. Barrett Paving donated the old marquee sign to the Fairborn Area Historical Society when it acquired the land in 2018.
“While they have allowed the sign to remain on their property, it is now time for the historical society to move the sign to a secure location,” historical society members said in a statement. “There is an outside company that is interested in purchasing the sign and moving it outside the area. Therefore, FAHS needs to move quickly.”
The FAHS has been quoted $4,000 in order to move the sign to a secure indoor location, and the organization is requesting donations from Fairborn residents to preserve the final marker of this landmark. The historical society currently has slightly more than $1,000 of the $4,000 goal.
Part of the FAHS’ functions is to acquire, catalogue and preserve the material artifacts of the city. The museum curates these finds so that residents and visitors may learn about the rich history of the Fairborn area. Once the FAHS, in cooperation with local authorities, is able to find a suitable outdoor venue for the sign, it will return to public display.
The former Skyborn Theatre opened on May 17, 1950. According to a previous report by this newspaper, Delber Kinsel owned and operated the drive-in theatre until his death in 1957. Kinsel’s widow sold the business in 1958 to Sidney C. Brant & Associates of Cincinnati for $110,000. Chakeres Theaters, out of Springfield, purchased the business in 2009, and operated the drive-in theatre until it closed at the end of the 2015 season.
Should readers feel inclined to contribute to preserving this piece of history, donations can be mailed to FAHS, P.O. Box 1483, Fairborn, OH 45324. Checks should be made out to FAHS with the notation “Save the Sign.” Additionally, donations can be made by phone at 937-689-0956.
Reach London Bishop at (937) 502-4532