The Great Chicago Fire 1871

By 1871 Chicago had become one of America's major cities spurred by the growth of the railroad in the 1840's and 1850's and by the boom created by the Civil War (1851-65). 

The night of October 7 saw a fire that burned out a four-block area of the West Side and required the services of almost half of the city's firefighters.

This was only a prelude to the disaster that struck Sunday evening.  The fire even then might not have become a disastrous one if the watchman on duty had sent the fire engine to the correct location when the fire began. By the time the firefighters reached De Koven Street the flames had spread too far to be controlled. The fire raged for a day and a half and covered 73 miles of streets.

Blame quickly fell to the young couple and they were forced to adjourn to Muskogee.

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Created: May 9, 2001
Last modified: September 12, 2006