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Entries : Fire of 1871
Fire of 1871

Fire of 1871

Aftermath of Great Chicago Fire, 1871
On October 8, 1871, a fire began on DeKoven Street in a barn owned by Catherine and Patrick O'Leary. Fueled by a gale-force wind, this blaze grew into the Great Chicago Fire. Advancing northward for 36 hours, the inferno destroyed three and a half square miles in the heart of the city, leveling more than 18,000 structures. One-third of the city's 300,000 residents lost their homes, and at least 300 perished. Aided by an outpouring of charity from around the world, Chicagoans brought about a remarkable reconstruction; the city expanded as it rebuilt, and most visible signs of the destruction were erased within a year. Traditionally understood as the turning point of Chicago's early history, the Great Fire cemented the reputation of the rising metropolis as a place of opportunity, renewal, and future promise.

Sawislak, Karen. Smoldering City: Chicagoans and the Great Fire, 1871–1874. 1995.
Smith, Carl. Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The Great Chicago Fire, the Haymarket Bomb, and the Model Town of Pullman. 1995.