Back in the day, Neosho had four movie theatres on the Neosho Square and later on, a drive-in theatre. For the month of August, the Newton County Historical Park's one-room schoolhouse has a display devoted to the movie theatres of Neosho's past.

Back in the day, Neosho had four movie theatres on the Neosho Square and later on, a drive-in theatre. For the month of August, the Newton County Historical Park's one-room schoolhouse has a display devoted to the movie theatres of Neosho's past.

"We have a small display of some memorabilia that Rich Roberts and I put together," said Chris Gray. "Rich is the grandson of Hugh Gardner who had all of the movie theatres in town, pretty much back in the day. He had the Orpheum, the Edgewood Drive In. Rich's grandmother had kept quite a scrapbook of items, she seemed to clip everything and kept everything. So we took her old scrapbook and we made it new, preserved everything, we have some things that are framed, dating back to the early 1900s, a lot of stuff from the 30s. We got together the other day and started framing some stuff and thought that it would be nice if the public could come out and see some of the items that would remind us of the movie days."

The display - according to Gray - is very important.

"I remember seeing 'Jaws' there with my buddies," he said. "Even sometimes you get your first kiss. I got my first kiss on the third row (at the Orpheum). Movie stars like GeneAutry would come to town. Gene and Hugh were big friends. I met Gene in 1995, we had sat down and had a discussion about the old Neosho days, he was very fond of this town, remembered the people, we had a good discussion that day about it... I remember taking my kids to the 66 Drive-In (near Carthage) a few years ago. they resisted a little bit, they said, 'oh come on Dad.' I said, 'this is Americana, you must experience this. You probably won't have the experiences we had, but I want you to come out here.' They said, 'great, mosquitoes and bad sound.'"

Along with the scrapbook of old newspaper advertisements, there is also movie posters, an old speaker from the drive-in (which you would hang on your window to hear the sound, compared to today's way of hearing the sound through a car's radio).

"I think that it is important that they see how people were entertained before their time and then it is important for people to come by and remember times that they had here," he said. "This is a great place to sit here and look through the scrapbook, start telling stories. stuff like this needs to be preserved."

Wanna go?

The Newton County Historical Park is located just off of the Neosho Square on Washington Street. Hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Closed on Sunday.