Loading Events

« All Events

On this day in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire began

October 8

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every year that begins at 12:00 am on day 8 of October, repeating indefinitely

On this day in 1871, the Great Chicago Fire began, destroying thousands of buildings and claiming roughly 300 lives over the course of three days.

A dangerously dry summer and gusting winds made conditions in the Midwest ripe for fire – the same day that the Great Chicago Fire started, devastating fires also broke out in Wisconsin and Michigan.

Did you know? The chaos in wake of the disaster led to looting and general lawlessness – martial law was declared for several weeks until order was restored.

Although Mrs. O’Leary’s cow is traditionally blamed for kicking over a lantern and starting the fire, the initial cause is still unknown. In 1997, the Chicago City Council exonerated Catherine O’Leary (and her cow) for any part in starting the fire. 🐮🐮🐮

Chicago in Flames, Currier and Ives, 1871


October 8
Event Category: