The Chicago Fire Ravi Jagadeesan, Avery Coonley. Pictures/Map from Chicago Fire Website
When & Where the Great Chicago Fire Started • Around 9:30 PM on October 8, 1871 in the O’Leary barn, 137 DeKoven St., West Division
How the Great Chicago Fire Started • The most common stories of how the FIRE started: a cow knocking over a lantern, Catherine O’Leary knocking over the lantern • The most common stories are most likely untrue!
The Conditions on the day the Great Chicago Fire Started Dry 2 fires per day 20 fires in the week before the FIRE – biggest day before FIRE Flammable – wooden houses, wooden sidewalks, wooden streets 65 mph wind!
What the Chicago Fire Destroyed 4.5 square miles, one-third of 1871 Chicago Burnt over 15 of the 16 bridges over the Chicago River Burnt over Chicago river because it burnt 2-3” layer of oil on river
A. O'Leary barnB. Bateham's MillsC. Parmelee's StablesD. Gas Works Conley's PatchE. Court HouseF. Wright's StablesG. Polk StreetH. Northwestern ElevatorI. Galena Elevator
Damage Caused By the Fire • 300 people died • 100,000 people left homeless! • $200 million in damage!
Ruins of the Business Center looking southwest from Old Fort Dearborn. Explosion of Giant Powder and fall of buildings in the front.
Wholesale District, looking west along the Chicago River. River street in the very front. The West Side in the distance.
Looking eastward. Mouth of Chicago River. Lake Michigan. Many scared people escaping from the Fire in boats.
Looking southeast. Burning of the Old United States Marine Hospital. Rescuing the people who live in a house or apartment
Dear Chum, We are burnt out of house and home and so we had to come up here. I suppose you would like to hear about the fire and how we escaped from it. Half past one Monday morning we were awakened by a loud knocking at the front door we were awake in an instant and dressing ourselves we looked about and saw a perfect shower of sparks flying over our house. I got some water and went out in the yard while my brother went up on the roof we worked for one or two hours at the end of that time we had to give up. We tried to get a wagon but could not so we put two trunks on a wheelbarrow and each of us shouldered a bundle and we marched for the old skating park I leading my goat. We got along very well until the Pes[h]tigo Lumber yard caught on fire then it was all we could do to breathe. Mother caught on fire once but we put it out at last we heard that there was a little shanty that hadn't burnt down so we marched there but had to leave our trunks and everything else but Charlie and father went back and got one but could not get the other as the sand was blowing in their faces and cut like glass at last a wagon drove up and we all piled in and escaped so good by yours Justin
Rain on Monday evening Fire end on Tuesday Morning Catherine O’Leary was taken to court, but proven innocent O’Leary House survived How the Chicago Fire Ended
Other Ways That the Fire Could Have Started • Meteor showers: A meteor shower, 14 small fires, and another big fire that night.
Daniel Sullivan & Dennis Regan • Daniel Sullivan claims to have witnessed the start of the Great Chicago Fire, but couldn’t have because his view of the O’Leary barn would have been blocked by the house of James Dalton • Sullivan & Regan visited the O’Leary House before the fire that night.
Chicago made less flammable -- houses made based on cement and bricks Chicago learned a big lesson the hard way How Chicago Changed