Prairie Fire: Episode 5 - September 2023


On the September episode of Prairie Fire, we introduce you to a couple as they restore a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home in Riverside Illinois that used to be a schoolhouse. We travel to the town of Mclean in Central Illinois for a tour of an old school gaming paradise called Arcadia. Charles Dickens gets a chance to redeem himself after disparaging the beauty of the Illinois Prairie when we join him for a trip down the Mississippi River, and we get a performance by Los Tejanos to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Arcadia: America's Playable Arcade Museum

We introduce you to John Yates, the owner and creator of the Arcadia, America’s Playable Arcade Museum. He’ll tell us how he combined his love of arcade and pinball machines with his obsession with fixing things into a museum and a playground for children and adults alike.

The Coonley Playhouse in Riverside, Illinois

Have you ever wanted to own a piece of history? How about a home designed by one of America’s most famous architects? Kirsten and Jeremy Black recently purchased the Coonley Playhouse—a former school built by Frank LLoyd Wright in 1912—and are now undertaking an extensive restoration process. The Prairie Fire team visited the private home to share the importance of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “prairie-style,” the challenges of bringing a historic home back to life, hidden histories, and what it’s like to raise children in the former schoolhouse.

Charles Dickens Thoughts on the Mississippi River

Well, we know Charles Dickens didn't like the Illinois prairie, but what did he think of the Mississippi River?

Los Tejano'z Performance

Los Texano'z joined us for our second performance on the Prairie Fire set to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.  The band, headed by singer and accordion player Edgar Gutierrez, specializes in Tejano music.  This style of music is a blend of Mexican and US influences with German and Czech dance rhythms. Los Texano'z has performed in the Central Illinois area events and venues for several years.


Prairie Fire airs on the Third Thursday of each month on WILL-TV.  You can also stream it anytime on YouTube or the PBS App!