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MERRILLVILLE | Those interested in reliving nostalgic memories of Merrillville's former Y&W outdoor theater will have to go indoors.

The Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society on Sunday unveiled a new exhibit featuring memorabilia and photos from the popular attraction located on Broadway in Merrillville from 1953 to 1998.

The display inside the historical society’s museum includes an original sign from the Y&W, arranged in a way resembling a drive-in theater.

The majority of items featured in the exhibit are from the collection of former Merrillville residents Al and Linda Showalterbaugh.

The Showalterbaugh family also loaned Y&W memorabilia to the town when it hosted outdoor movies during Merrillville’s 40th anniversary celebration about three years ago.

Dorinda Gregor, a member of the historical society, recalled visiting the Y&W with family.

She said her family would make popcorn and Kool-Aid before heading to the theater, and they enjoyed using a playground that was set up at the site.

“We had fun over there,” Gregor said.

The historical society’s museum is at 13 W. 73rd Ave. It is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays through October. Tours also can be arranged by appointment. Admission to the museum is free.

In addition to the special Y&W exhibit, the museum displays Civil War artifacts and photos, vintage military uniforms and other historic memorabilia celebrating region history.

The historical society also has offered presentations during its monthly business meetings.


Local News Editor

Marc Chase is a veteran investigative reporter, columnist and editor of more than two decades. He currently leads The Times news staff as local news editor. He can be reached at 219-933-3327.