Majestic Theatre burns to ground

From November 14, 2007:

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Article in Champaign daily The News-Gazette about Paxton, IL, residents bemoaning the destruction of the Paxton Majestic Theatre in the downtown area, completely gutted by a fire. (Remember that the direct link to this article will expire after Tuesday, November 20.)


Editor’s note: Obviously, this really isn’t about the movies but the loss of something that the citizens of Paxton held near to their hearts as a landmark and communal place. Since no one was injured by the blaze, damage to the surrounding block was minimal, and the theater itself had been in disuse since 2005, I’d hesitate to call it an outright tragedy. It’s still sad, especially since apartment dwellers in the upper floors of the building lost their belongings, but even then – and I apologize if I sound a bit callous – did it warrant five full articles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and a dramatic photo gallery in the News-Gazette?

Still, any loss of identity or history is crucial to a small town. C-U Blogfidential offers its condolances to the people of Paxton.

For those who might be scratching their heads in confusion right about now, this Majestic is not the same Majestic (see item: 8/1/07) that reopened during the summer in Streator on its 100th anniversary. If so, I might have invoked the word “tragedy” a lot more readily for a theater that actually had been living.

~ Jason Pankoke

[Updated 11/15/07, 01:45 p.m. CST]

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