Paxton Majestic Theatre

133 South Market Street,
Paxton, IL 60957

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm

There is an early photo of the Majestic Theatre in the left column of this page of The Moving Picture World, July 1, 1916. The right column features a photo of Paxton’s other movie house, the Crystal Theatre.

Haiku70 on December 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm

This comment is to those who have made themselves feel important by hurting someone else…
My questions are simple.
Who says it was an arson?
Is the truth based on the typical gossip of Paxton, or did the State Fire Marshal and the insurance companies tell you this verbatum?
What gives everyone the right to crucify someone that most have not even met or spoken to?
Where were all of these supporters of the theatre in the last 10-15 years?
When have any of you approached the current owner and discussed the grand plans that you have had?
Who came to the conclusion that it was right to upset the owner, his wife, his sons and his grandsons who have read this crap?
Instead of hurting people by such slander, maybe you ought to spend more time figuring out what to do with the empty lot that will be there after clean-up is done.
Quit bashing the owner (and hurting his family).
You say he is a landlord who didn’t care, I know for sure that he did love this building.
Three tenants lived there and lost everything and poor Charlie’s bookstore is gone, he has nothing left.
He was more concerned of their well being when the fire started and what they were going to do afterwards. All you are concerned about is what untruth you will speak, now that the theatre is gone.
How caring you all are.
I stood with him as he watched, in total and utter shock, when his awesome building burned to the ground. He was there everyday for at least a week after the fire.
I saw a lot of people up there the day it happened, but few were there when it was all said and done. Such support for a grand bulding that everyone “cared so much for”.
With all the money that was saved to rebuild the theatre, why don’t you donate it to the tenants who lost everything in the fire?
All in all, we lost another old building in town, our fire department saved a whole block of buildings, and the thing that I am most grateful for, no lives were lost.
Figure out that your words are painful for those listening. If the shoe were on the other foot…I guess you would feel the same way I do.

theatredreamer on November 21, 2007 at 7:15 pm

There were tons of people worried about the building. Why did no one step up and take charge? I couldn’t do it as a teenager with no money. It is very sad that this has happened. What is being done for those who lost their apartments and belongings? Why was Albert Sutton never a more prominent influence in the workings of the theater? I only heard of these things growing up. I saw that the group could not do much for the building because they were not the owner. I could never see past that though. What will happen to the lot now? Are there plans to put something else there? Was the book store in operation?

dakotabuddy on November 21, 2007 at 6:19 pm

Hi Renea. I am not aware of the existance of any original blueprints. That is why I had taken elevation photos of the building and shetched out a floorplan. However, way back when, a company called Sanborn Maps, sketched out a lot of downtown buildings for the insurance industry, as all the downtown buildings were tied it to a city steam pipe that originated right next door, within the old water tower complex. Some of these sketches may be attached to the property abstract. I think that would be a good start, to find the originals. I’m on it. As far as public record goes, there is only a rough exterior sketch of the building, available at the courthouse. I wish it was manditory to fill such plans away. The Majestic Paxton Theatre was last TOTALLY remodeled back in the early ‘70s, I beleive. Contractors that had worked on the building at the time must have had a guide. Of course, I know the owner at the time loved to do a lot of his own work. Houston Plumbing comes into mind as a possible contractor. I had just moved, and a lot of my drawings,
documentations and photos need to be “excavated” from all the boxes
(: I will share anything I have, with you. I truly appreciate your apologies, Paxton is very lucky to have you!

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 21, 2007 at 6:11 pm

For Thanksgiving, THANKS to Ross for hopefully putting an end to the trash that keeps showing up on this Paxton site. I live in Manteno 55 miles north of Paxton. Every one of the 86 times an entry is made on this site, I read it to see what is going on in “my neighborhood”. Most times I think of that quote you show biz folks in Paxton must know, from Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” when Mayor Shinn states
I would have liked to have read about taking the letters from a production a couple of years ago off of the marquee, or comments about Paxton Foundation Vice President Judy Jensen-Popel (no relation) in the Kankakee Daily Journal 10/21/2007 "Next on the preservation wish list,is the Paxton Theater building, we are worried about it, noting that the south wall needs to be tuckpointed and the roof needs repair. (not that it matters now)
After the fire, the impression was left on this site that it was deserted and that arson was for insurance. It could have been arson, but I don’t know if we know that yet. In fact the building as I understand it, had 3 occupied apartments, the 4 tenants got out safely but of course were left homeless. Also the bookstore was completly destroyed, the owner was safe, but of course out of business. I don’t recall something important as human life not even being mentioned here.
IMHO this site should stick to facts on reports on what caused the fire. Goldern memories of the theater. Reports on a Paxton II.
Paxton Theater R.I.P.

theatredreamer on November 21, 2007 at 5:59 pm

Hey Scott, Do you know where I could find the blue prints to the original building? Are they still in existence? They should be public right? I also want to apologize for calling you an idiot and contributing to the childishness. I am the youngest one on here but I know better than that.


dakotabuddy on November 21, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Thanks a bunch, Ross. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family!

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on November 21, 2007 at 11:23 am

Thanks — it’s much appreciated. I love the passion for this theater, but we’ve been getting some complaints about this page recently. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for your understanding. :)

Suez on November 21, 2007 at 10:31 am

Mr. Melnick, please accept my apologies. I have only the theatre’s interests and reputation at heart. I assure you, there won’t be any more posts from me that deal with anything else.

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on November 21, 2007 at 10:27 am

Please refrain from antagonizing one another and, in keeping with site policy, keep the comments focused on the theater — not each other.

Thank you,

Ross Melnick
Cinema Treasures

dakotabuddy on November 20, 2007 at 7:29 pm

You know, I have bowed out more than a few times from this silly “attack ‘n run” conversation. And as much as you keep saying “let’s use this website as it should be used”, you keep drawing me back into the frey. As far as your repeated 'G.D.'comments that you already admitted are shameful, I am afraid I have not stooped to your low, of name-calling. And, in speaking of your wore out phrase, 'Gloom and Doom’, look around you. You have been living it, and cultivating it. Me? I’m just making the observation, and and calling you on it. If it will make you happy, I will say to you, kudos, you did a great job … then, again, look around you. Good job. As I’ve said, this is not the sight for such folley, and indeed another venue should be established for your personal attacks, where a defense could not be tendered. Charactor seems to be a bit of a reach to you. The rest of the nation is totally not interested, or even perhaps getting a good laugh from all the childishness and immature wranglings. Please retain some of that PRIDE you say you have, because it sure is not showing to be a
good example to all. Again, in a good faith effort to pacify you … GOOD JOB. And as quoted by Optima, ‘People may doubt what you say, but they will always see, and believe what you do’.

Jewal on November 20, 2007 at 6:41 pm

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Paxton Majestic Community Art’s Center~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Is there another web site we can go to, away from Mr. Gloom & Doom? Because I for one, do not care to read any more from Mr. G.D.!

Please send any mail to; ….. Sue, Tom and All Others, that want to put Reneaâ€\s dream into action, lets bring the Community together.

After all – All of todayâ€\s treasures come from someone, that had a dream yesterday.

Then letâ€\s get started. How many are willing to put in the time and/or funds to do this project? Now is the time to step forward into the future.

Lets make it a Community Action, as we also have PRIDE.

dakotabuddy on November 20, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Suez, I am sorry your bitterness abounds. Did I hit a cord in my reply to your last unproductive attack? I think, and I hope everbody here is beyond the ‘bickering’, I am. So, perhaps it is a good idea if you set up another avenue of communications that you can spew attacks without being called out on them. I have learned to respect each and everbody that has partook in this wayward conversation, and I thank each of them for their input. I truly think it is time for you, too, to put to bed your past guilts and current bitterness. I think we all have had a lot to say, and I am sure a bunch of it has been prompted by a combination of sadness and anger over the unfortunate event of last Tuesday. Cinema Treasures is a site dedicated to particular cinema/theatre venues, and of their contributions and memories, and historical significance. Let’s begin to keep it in that spirit. It is not all about me, you, any group, or anybody in particular, it is about the Majestic Paxton

Suez on November 20, 2007 at 4:42 pm

ooooooh, Mr. Majestic, I quake in awe of your majestic pomp….er…wisdom, I meant wisdom. Why do you assume I’ve done nothing for or about the theatre? Do you hope to provoke me into righteously proclaiming all that I’ve done behind the scenes and on the front lines so that you may decide whether or not I’m worthy to join you and Tom on your holy quest?
What utter pompousness. I’ve decided that you are not worth MY time.
Anyone interested in sharing the dream of bringing the theatre back to life, I’m going to set up an email where we can figure out a new place to share ideas and get this ball rolling. Mr. Majestic, you just stay right where you are.

dakotabuddy on November 20, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Yes, there was people living in the apartments. Mysteriously, nobody was home at the time(?) There are a lot of “questions” and coincidences, and I have passed them on to Investigators. Of course, as you can imagine, I have my own well founded suspicions, based on the recent history leading up to the fire, but, they are under investigation, so I should not say. I do pray for a very thorugh investigation, one that is not just routine.

theatredreamer on November 20, 2007 at 3:32 pm

what did happen? Were there really people living in the apartments? Did their stuff get burnt as well? Are there people investigating what caused the fire?

dakotabuddy on November 20, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Thank you, “Just”. I think a little bit of both is the perfect balance. Still, it is a sad, sad thing, what happened. And, if arson is suspected, I would truly hope everybody would agree, justice must be pursued, and served out. If everything I have been hearing on this page is genuine, I look forward to the rising phoenix in Paxton, both, in spirit and determination, mortared with the adhesive of memories and hindsite. Show the rest of Paxton, your dreams will not die with the physical demise of a Grand Lady.

Jewal on November 20, 2007 at 8:14 am

Yes, Scott it is shameful. So stop living in yesterday and step into the future for tomorrow’s generations.

dakotabuddy on November 20, 2007 at 7:19 am

Renea, I agree with you 110%. Just An Interested Party, “yesterday” was the time. And, your ‘G.D.’ implication is very shameful. But, yes, I would ask everone seriously interested, to gather with Tom and reinvigorate the Magic. I know he has worked hard for the theatre, and for his love. As J.A.I.P. says, your dreams today, become tomorrow’s treasures (for tomorrows' generations).

Jewal on November 20, 2007 at 1:51 am

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Paxton Majestic Community Art’s Center~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Is there another web site we can go to, away from Mr. Gloom & Doom? Because I for one, do not care to read any more from Mr. G.D.!

Please send any mail to; ….. Sue, Tom and All Others, that want to put Reneaâ€\s dream into action, lets bring the Community together.

After all – All of todayâ€\s treasures come from someone, that had a dream yesterday.

Then letâ€\s get started. How many are willing to put in the time and/or funds to do this project? Now is the time to step forward into the future.

theatredreamer on November 19, 2007 at 10:41 pm

Clearly you dont know who you are talking to. You dont know anything about the people that actually live IN Paxton. My grandparents probably know you. Did you know the owner of the bookstore next to the theater? My brother and I used to go in there as children. Or did you know the owner of the old comic book store? Did you know my teachers? Your time at the theater was just before I was born though. My brothers and sister probably knew you. I thought we would all be on the same team on this page. Even though you made me angry too. It was dumb anger. This website is called Cinema treasures…not theatre dreamers…this can be a site for those who remember it from a different time. From when Main street in Paxton was lucrative in they 1980’s. I have footage on camera from the last time there was major work done on the theater from a Christmas story.

We should find a forum for those interested in developing the plan for the new Paxton Majestic Community Art’s Center. Dont forget to get your memories in to the Record by noon on Tuesday! I want to read them all when I get back!

dakotabuddy on November 19, 2007 at 9:41 pm

I really cannot say much more than I have. The case has been made, and the results were in, November 13th, 2007. And if you, Suez are happy with those results, there is nothing I can do. You have no idea what I have been doing behind the scenes to preserve the Majestic Paxton Theatre. As if two years “physically” on the scene was not enough. I ask, what have/had you done to preserve the theatre? Please do say. Nothing, I’m sure. I tried, and continued to try up to the day of her demise. Keeping the ‘dream alive’ is a good thing, but dreams alone, especially those that have been “in storage” until now, did not do a thing for the theatre, did it? And you mean to tell me that the ‘FIRST time’ you ever went inside the theatre was for the “Sound of Music” auditions? That in itself reveils that you, yourself had never supported the theatre up until then. And even then, how many times after did you contribute. I had been patronizing the Majestic Paxton Theatre since the ‘60’s. Where have you been all these years? Your own lack of information and knowledge about the theatre, and now your sudden conversion and tone, leads me to believe your own 'far away place'must me a cinematic monestary in the hills of Eden. It is very sad, you just (and still) don’t get it, perhaps out of guilt, or justifiably taking my observations personally. You said it the clearest 'We don’t care’. And therein lies the whole problem. Hindsite is golden, but don’t blame someone in some ‘far away place’ that cared, and made the attempt, when yourself, having such a treasure right in your own back yard, probably never even knew the address. Some of us has “walked the walk”, so you just keep on “talking”, because as we all see, that has gone quite far in preserving your own treasures. Lastly, I thought you were the one that this site should not be ‘someone’s personal blog’,and ‘use it as it should be used’. If you cannot uphold your own integrity and advice, heaven forbid if myself, or anyone else heeds it. As I said, there is nothing more to say. She’s gone, and sadly there’s not a darn thing that can be done about it. All we have is our own memories to comfort us. Some of our memories are long term, or even short term as your own, but still just as valuable. The last order of business now, must be to answer your “what, why, who” statement, as it seems that nobody has expressed caring to know those answers. I guess even now, nobody cares. Well, who is suprised buy that? Nothing has changed but the “direction” of the talk. Sadly again, I am the one in the
forefront, seeking the answers…because I care, and always have cared.

Suez on November 19, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Okay, Mr. Majestic….You were at the theatre for a grand total of two years? You got paid for your work? And that gives you the grand title of “Mr. Majestic”, the holy overseer and chairman of the theatre as far as knowing ‘what happened to the theatre, why it happened, and who to blame’. God forbid that you take any blame, then you’d have nothing to talk about. You sit in some far away place and bemoan the theatre’s demise, when you haven’t had a thing to do with it for 22 years. People here cared for that place, considered it a home away from home, and have lost it. They lost it two years ago, and then lost the dream of ever returning due to the fire. So don’t give out any of that holier than thou crap about what we should have done and what you could have done. We don’t care. We care about keeping the dream alive and possibly rebuilding the theater, so if you care to contribute to that, fine. Otherwise, go away. We don’t need you.