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Great Chicago Fire Killed 300, Caused Major Damage 151 Years Ago (PHOTOS)

Oct. 8-10 marks the 151th anniversary of the fire that destroyed Downtown Chicago.

Downtown was greatly damaged in the Great Chicago Fire, leading to the city imposing "fire limits" where you couldn't construct predominantly wooden buildings.
Wikimedia Commons
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This story was originally published by DNAinfo Chicago in 2015.

DOWNTOWN — The Great Chicago Fire tore through Chicago 151 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).

RELATED: 5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Great Chicago Fire

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:

Credit: Wikimedia Commons
A panorama of Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Lake Street before (top) and after (bottom) the Great Chicago Fire.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The corner of Washington and LaSalle streets after the fire.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Grand Pacific Hotel in ruins after the fire. It was rebuilt and the second Grand Pacific Hotel was large and luxurious, taking up the block surrounded by Clark, Quincy, La Salle and Jackson streets. It was visited by celebrities, including writer Oscar Wilde.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The destroyed Bigelow Hotel on Jackson Street.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Honore Block reduced to rubble.
Credit: Library of Congress
Drake’s Block, at the corner of Wabash Avenue and Washington Street.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Another view of the Grand Pacific Hotel in ruins after the fire.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ruins in Chicago after the fire. A building front is held up by wooden boards.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Ruins at the corner of Dearborn and Monroe streets.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Madison and State streets after the fire. The Madison, Blue Island State Street cars are visible.

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