The Great Chicago Fire of 1871

1752 WordsJul 14, 20188 Pages
The Great Chicago Fire was a major milestone in the city’s history. The fire started on October 8th, 1871 and did not end until October 10th, 1871. People never saw this fire coming which might have made it even worse. The only reason it spread so far was because everything was made out of wood, the ground was parched and the wind was blowing that night; the reason it stopped was because it had started raining. Although the fire destroyed most of the city, it was a positive turning point in history. The Chicago Fire improved firefighting and their equipment, new buildings that were made out of fireproof materials, and it brought big investors to the city. There were more than 334,000 people in Chicago at the time (Burgan). Ninety percent…show more content…
Those industries kept the city’s finances stable and employed thousands of people. The fire destroyed the city’s business district, but it left the stockyards and packing plants untouched. The “Hog Butcher of the World” processed more meat than anywhere else on Earth. The railroads were also undamaged. That allowed shipments of aid to come in from around the world. Book donations from England were part of Chicago’s first free library. In 1956, there was a Fire Academy built on the site where Mr. and Mrs. O’Leary’s barn once stood. The Academy trains new firefighters to this day (Schons). The rebuilding of Chicago started immediately, sometimes even before the architect and engineers had completed their designs. There were laws that were passed requiring new buildings with fireproof materials like brick, stone, marble and limestone because of the fire. These materials that are way more expensive than wood were held together by a strong, sticky substance called mortar. The construction technique using that substance is called masonry and the skilled groups of construction workers are called masons. Many Chicagoans could not afford the fireproof materials, the skilled masons or the insurance to rebuild. Without rebuilding or insuring their property, thousands of people were crowded out of Chicago. Many businesses ignored the new building laws. There were two events that stopped the reconstruction of Chicago. The first event
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