DOWNTOWN — The Great Chicago Fire tore through Chicago 147 years ago, killing hundreds and causing millions in damage.
The fire started on DeKoven Street, but it ended up consuming large parts of the Downtown area and reaching into other parts of the city. It started late Oct. 8, 1871, and didn’t end until the morning of Oct. 10.
It’s estimated to have killed 300 people and cost $200 million in damages (or almost $4 billion when adjusted for inflation).
Yet, the city was quick to rebuild afterward, said historian Tim Samuelson, in part due to the city’s location and its ability to get supplies.
“Chicago was able to rebuild itself relatively quickly, and supplies were able to reach Chicago … by the nature of the perfect central location by rail and water,” Samuelson said. “The raillines were largely still intact. Boats could still get in here. And so the city could actually rebuild itself fairly quickly.”
Here are photos of the ruins of Chicago in the immediate aftermath of the fire:
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