Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire broke out on 8 March 1871, and took two days to bring under control. The fire destroyed over ten square kilometers of Chicago’s inner city and claimed the lives of hundreds. About one third of Chicago’s three thousand inhabitants lost their homes. The Great Fire is considered one of the worst disasters in the United States in the nineteenth century.

The rapid reconstruction of the city and, in the city’s inner loop, the rise of the world’s first skyscrapers in the early 1880s, made Chicago internationally famous for its urban planning and architecture.

Further Readings: 
  • Cronon, William. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: Norton, 1991.
  • Rozario, Kevin. The Culture of Calamity: Disaster and the Making of Modern America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.