“The Great Chicago Fire of 1871” by Charles River Editors

I read the short story, “The Great Chicago Fire of 1871” by Charles River Editors.  It was very entertaining because the old story of Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicking over a lantern was scrutinized and various other scenarios were presented.

This was a short history of the fire that devastated Chicago during a difficult period in history.  I was very interested in the eyewitness accounts of the speed of the fire and the voracity of the flames.  Also interesting to me was the section relating how businessmen thought their bonds, cash, stocks, etc. would be safe in their vaults, only to return and find that even though the metal survived, the contents did not.  Imagine how many fortunes were lost.  Also interesting was the fact that the brick and mortar buildings stood no more chance of surviving than the wooden homes of those less privileged.  I cannot imagine the resourcefulness of those survivors in the weeks and months after the conflagration trying to come to terms with their homelessness and financial ruin.  This was quite a story.


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