Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The Great Chicago fire 1871
Any talk on Chicago’s history is divided into before & after The Great Fire.
The Great Fire of Chicago, lasted 2 days [8- 10 October 1871] … It destroyed about 4 square miles of the city; killed about 250 people, made 100,000 homeless. It leveled about a third of the city; destroying about 17,450 buildings. It destroyed about the entire core downtown of Chicago and most of the North side. Property losses are estimated at $200 million.
The folklore has it that the fire was sparked by an errant kick from Kate O'Leary's COW!!!
However Chicagoans quickly started to rebuild the city ... and in just 6 weeks after the fire … construction of more than 300 buildings had already begun ... . The vigor of the city’s rebirth amazed the rest of the nation and within three years, it once again dominated the western United States. It soared from the ashes like the fable phoenix and became the home of the first skyscraper in 1885. [Yes Chicago is the birthplace of skyscrapers!!! ]. It is said that The Great Chicago Fire was the beginning of a new metropolis, much greater than it could have ever become if the horrific fire had never happened at all.
And in 1893 Chicago had recovered well enough to host the 1893 World Columbian Exposition.