To be honest, it haven’t been the Madison Theater is decades. I think I walked inside it maybe once when it was some trendy bar and i was bar hopping downtown. I was not impressed.
I t burned down last night. Judging by the photographs in the Journal Star, it looks like the upper floors were the most damaged, But water damage probably will wreck the lower floors as well. No work on whether the building can be saved, but I am not counting on that happening.
What caused this fire? No one knows and i doubt we will.
When was the last time a state fire investigator found arson to be the cost of ANY lost historic building in Peoria? Or any important building where the owners would rather get the Hell out? It would seem that having a devastating fire is THE was to get out of the obligation of owning any run-down, yet historic building.
Not to cast aspersions on the owners. I am sure sun shines out of their asses, but I am suspicious.
The next step in this “process” would seem to be for the city to come along and declare a total loss and tear it down as a nuisance. Then someone buys the lot and uses it for parking. You know, to make it easier for even more drunks to get loaded at the bars on that block.
I woke up and read about the fire online. Then I told my parents. They were incredulous and recalled many happy memories from their childhoods visiting the theater (because of air conditioning) and the many movies they took us children there as well. I think Mom took me to see Bambi there. I was enthralled by the ornate walls and ceiling.
As a teenager, I used to WALK DOWNTOWN from my East Bluff home (1000 block of East Frye) to see movies at the Madison and the catty-corner Palace Theater. This was in the mid 1970s. And I would walk back uphill. At night. Not one person bothered me. Maybe because I looked like a linebacker from my sophomore year onward.