Weirs Drive-In Theater Back On The Market After Concerns Raised Over Native American Artifacts

Sep 25, 2017

Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

During its 68-year run, the Weirs Drive-In Theater certainly played its fair share of "Indiana Jones" movies. Real life archeologists are also interested in what may be underneath the iconic outdoor movie theater’s thirteen paved acres.

“I would characterize this site as being the densest, potentially most important site in the state that we know of,” says New Hampshire state archaeologist Richard Boisvert.

He describes the land near Weirs Beach as an important fishing camp for Native Americans, with activity dating as far back as 10,000 years. Boisvert carried out an excavation adjacent to the Drive-In in 1990, which he says uncovered archaeological materials.

Earlier this summer, Patricia Baldi, owner of the Weirs Drive-In, announced she would close the theater and sell the land. A commercial developer from Belmont expressed interest in turning the property into condos, but now, the Laconia Daily Sun reports that Al Mitchell is backing out of the $2.5 million deal, in part because of concerns about added costs if Native American remains or artifacts were discovered during construction.

This doesn’t please Baldi.

“We’ve owned the property since 1974, and we have never found anything related to Indians on the property, anything," she says. "Not an arrowhead, nothing. And it’s ridiculous what’s happening.”

Baldi says she has other interested buyers already putting in offers, and expects a sale to go through.

Richard Boisvert, the state archaeologist, says no matter what happens on the land, it’s his hope that New Hampshire’s history can be preserved.