Great Chicago Fire
137 W. De Koven St.

Site of the origin of the Great Chicago Fire

Site of the origin of the Great Chicago Fire-Looking SE at the Chicago Fire Academy
2003 NB

It started with a flicker in the barn of Catherine and Patrick O'Leary after dark on October 8, 1971. The fire roared its way northeast and ravaged downtown. It finally died down on the morning of the 10th. Thousands of Chicagoans escaped the flames by wading into Lake Michigan, limiting the death toll to 300. The fire, which thrived on a windy night in a city filled with wooden buildings, led to a reinvention of Chicago. When the rubble was cleared the city gave birth to the skyscraper and became synonymous with industrial progress. Today the city's Fire Department Training Academy stands on the site of the O'Leary cabin. -NB

-More on the Great Chicago Fire from the Chicago Landmarks Commission, Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Public Library, and About.com.

© Copyright 2001-2004
Nathan L.K. Bierma