Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Great Chicago Fire

It was hot and dry evening in early October 1871 when Chicago burst into flames. Although the origin of the fire is forever lost in urban legend, the destruction was very real with the wooden shops and hotels of downtown being reduced to ashes. Even City Hall burned down. The raging fire crossed the Chicago River and jumped from roof to roof as citizen ran toward safety of the Lake Michigan. In the end, a third of the city's worth had burned down.

The map below shows the area of the damage.

Yet as traumatic as the Great Fire was, the event turned out to be an incredible opportunity for Chicago as businessmen and land speculators eagerly set out to rebuilding the city beyond its former glory. Like a phoenix, Chicago emerged as a thriving metropolis once again. The event lives on in the life of Chicago and its citizens who view any challenge as an opportunity.


thomas_oneworld said...

Good post. The area of devastation was indeed vast, including the central business district as well as many private homes of all classes from the poor to the wealthy. After the fire burned for two days the estimated number of people whose houses burned in the Great Fire was over 100,000. Visit the Chicago History Museum, both online and in person to learn more about the fire and the rebuilding of Chicago.

Philip said...

Back in the day, hotel lobbies were social centers.

Hoteis Em Joao Pessoa