Drive-in movie sale falls through due to possibility of artifacts on land

  • The entrance to the Weirs Drive-In Theatre (JENNIFER MELI / Monitor Staff)

Associated Press
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

One of New Hampshire’s last drive-in movie theaters is back on the market after the state archaeologist said there may be Native American remains or artifacts buried there.

The archaeologist, Richard Boisvert, said the land near Weirs Drive-In Theater in Laconia was once a Native American fishing camp. Al Mitchell, the planned buyer, backed out of the $2.5 million sale due to concerns about added costs if remains or artifacts were discovered during construction. It’s not clear how long that could delay development.

Boisvert said the camp had activity dating back as far as 10,000 years. He carried out an excavation that uncovered archaeological materials adjacent to the drive-in in 1990.

The Lake Winnipesaukee Museum said the Native Americans built a special type of basket to capture fish that migrated through the channel. The village was called Aquadoctan, meaning “place of good fishing.”

Theater owner Patricia Baldi said there are other interested buyers already putting in offers.

“We’ve owned the property since 1974, and we have never found anything related to Indians on the property, anything,” she told New Hampshire Public Radio. “Not an arrowhead, nothing.”

Baldi said there is a chance she could reopen the drive-in movie theater next summer if no buyer emerges.