The Paxton Theater Fire, from 35,000 feet

So I was flying from Boston to Atlanta by way of Chicago, heading south across Illinois roughly on a vector that took me along Interstate 57. I had enjoyed getting looks at varioius intersections and landmarks (Chicagoland Speedway, Argonne National Laboratory) west of Chicago, the Canal Corridor (with the Illinois and Michigan Canal) and the Illinois River on either side of Joliet, the Kankakee River, and then the countryside along the way to Champaign-Urbana, when I spotted a fire on the main street of a town along the way.

I had meant to do the detective work of figuring out which town it was, and to get some photos to the local paper, but got caught up in work.

Then this morning I decided I needed to nail this one down, and sure enough, the town was Paxton, and the fire was in its historic Magestic Theater. Here’s the story from the News-Gazette. Here’s the “before” picture of Downtown Paxton, from Wikipedia. I believe the Magestic Theater is there on the left. Not sure, though.

5 comments

  1. Mike Warot’s avatar

    I liked the photo set, it’s good to see some places I actually know and can comment about (the nuke at Dresden, for example)… I added some notes to a few of your photos in the set.

    –Mike–

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Ah! So you’re the Mike in the notes! Well done! I figured there would be one or more readers who would know about this stuff. I love Google Earth, but on my old computers it’s a slog to find out what all this stuff is. And some things (e.g. the names of rivers) Google Earth just sucks at or doesn’t bother with. And until you look closely you have no idea how many towns look like Paxton, Ill. I actually found it by matching town names and “fire” with the 13th of November. Once I found the fire in Paxton, I saw that indeed it was a visual match with the pix.

  3. Stephen Downes’s avatar

    What I like is that you still sit by the window even though you travel a lot. That tells me more than anything you could write.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks, Stephen. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what are 10,000 pictures worth? I have at least that many, shot out of airplanes.

    For the most part I’m not trying to take great photos. I’m trying to learn about what I’m seeing. Beats the hell out of school.

  5. Andrew Leyden’s avatar

    My favorite part of flying over Illinois is to try and guess the speed of the plane. As the squares are basically 1 mile squares, you can count how long it takes to cross one and work out the ground speed of the plane (more or less).

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