Thursday, March 5, 2009


This morning I walked to school in the snow to teach my drawing class. When I got there a student told me that Boodles, a downtown restaurant, was on fire. As information trickled in via text messages and photos and the radio, we all learned that fully half a city block of downtown Bozeman had been obliterated by a natural gas explosion.
photo courtesy the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

It so happens that I had drawn the buildings in November. The spread I drew strangely depicts exactly the buildings destroyed: the Lily Lu building, the Montana Trails Gallery, Boodles and the Rockin' R Bar. (The American Legion building on the far right, while not destroyed in the initial blast, was later consumed in the ensuing fire from the gas leak.) I had also been drawing the south side of the street from directly in front of these buildings only a few weeks ago. As of this evening, one person remains missing. Considering the scale and power of the explosion in the heart of Bozeman on a weekday morning, I'm amazed there weren't more casualties. I have come to feel very close to these buildings over the past few months, so this is something of a shock. I'm not sure how I feel having documented the block just before its destruction. I expect it will take quite some time to clean up, and rebuild, if possible. Here's hoping they do.


  1. oh my, what a shocker. i can't imagine what might have gone thru your mind... what if the explosion had happened while you were sketching? i would send your drawing to the local paper, they might be interested in running it. it's now a unique historic record of even greater value

  2. Thanks Gabi. It's a strange feeling, seeing as how I've been thinking about these buildings so much lately.

  3. Wow - this is amazing. Creepy, though - the cars even look similar to the ones that were there on the morning of the blast.

  4. Indeed you do have a bit of history stored in that sketch book of yours now.

    Sad news, about the missing...
    Hopefully all will turn out ok.
    Full glass Lass~ Bairbre Aine

  5. so sad! amazing how it disappear…