The Great Chicago Fire


View from the Southwest Corner of Dearborn and Monroe after the fire, 1871. Image credit: Jex Bardwell. Click image to view photo gallery.This coming Saturday marks the 140th anniversary of the most catastrophic event in Chicago history. On the night of October 8, 1871, a fire broke out in Mrs. O'Leary's barn on the city's Southwest Side. A series of unfortunate human and natural events caused the blaze to quickly spread out of control.

When it was all over two days later, much of the city was in ruins. A stronger and more beautiful Chicago rose from the debris, but a few relics from the conflagration remain to this day.

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Some are on display; others have rarely been seen since 1871. Eddie Arruza shows us some of them on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.

Northwestern University and the Chicago History Museum have developed an iPhone app about The Great Chicago Fire.  The Museum has also completely redesigned its web page about the fire.

To see photos of pre- and post-fire Chicago, visit the image gallery below.

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