Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871

Chicago: The Paul Whitman Orchestra

   Most children love survival stories. One of great interest is the Great Chicago Fire in October of 1871. This substantial fire, which lasted several days, was supposedly caused by a cow that kicked over a lantern in a barn at the O' Leary's place. Catherine O’Leary was an an Irish immigrant.
   However, there are other beliefs of how the Great Chicago Fire got started. Some thoughts were that a meteor or the unusually very dry weather caused the fire. 
   After the fire, new and better buildings were built. Considerably more people moved into the city of Chicago. People would often blame Catherine O'Leary and her cow for the tragic inferno event.
   In 1997, and over 100 years after her death, Catherine O’Leary and her cow were cleared from any responsibility for the fire of 1871. 

Below are some great resources for your class as your learners study the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

         A short 1950 interview of Mr. Catlin, who was just a boy during the calamitous incident.
Chicago History Lesson Plans
Photograph of Great Chicago Fire on October 9th
Author Lauren Tarshis discusses her I Survived Series and The Great Chicago Fire.

Reference Staff. (2010). Chicago fire of 1871. Retrieved from

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