Monday, August 4, 2008

Booneville's Best Drive In

-click to enlarge-

This was the Campus Drive In, also known as "Red's place" on US45 near NEMJC (now NEMCC) in the mid to late 50s. It was a very popular place and was usually very busy almost any night of the week and swamped on weekends. The food was very good and reasonably priced. A friend of mine, Robert Honeycutt, while attending the college says he was kept from hunger by eating at least one meal a day there, a steak sandwich basket for about 65 cents.

I have seen quite a few of you readers up there often. I would go and get the foot-and a-half-long hot dog with everything including chili and other great sandwiches at least 3 times a week. There was a blaring jukebox and an outside speaker, and no one cared if you danced with your girl in the gravel parking lot. As at most any other place in those days an occasional altercation would break out between two or more guys, usually over a girl or the results of a drag race. That was always dealt with and over quickly.

However a more sinister act happened there once. Jimmy Lee Ward shot Travis Williams in the head point blank in the kitchen. It was over a domestic dispute involving a woman. Ward got off scott-free. That was in 1957, and the trial was done fairly quickly. I was attending Wheeler High School that year and we were allowed to go to the proceedings one day. That was the first time I had ever seen a court trial.

A lot of you Bearcats (and Blue Devils) went to the college, do you have any stories about the place?

Photo and parts of story courtesy of Willie Weeks of Booneville Photo is from the 1960 Booneville yearbook, "The Spotlight".


  1. Holy cow, do I ever remember that drive-in! we had some good times there and if you couldn't find who you were looking for anywhere else, go there.
    The sliced pork BBQ with lettece tomato and mayo was my favorite.

  2. I remember the night that Harold Murley ate two raw hamburgers at the Drive Inn.

  3. I remember the Campus drivein well. My uncle Speedy Gentry owned it for a while. I ate there a lot.


  4. I hope I am doing this comment right, my first. I loved that place!
    My mind races back to the night that the shooting took place and it was awful.
    The restaurant recovered well after that and it was still a great place to go to.