1.  The Great Chicago Fire started around 9:00 p.m. October 8, 1871 and burned through the morning of October 10, 1871. 2rushlif

2.  The exact death toll attributable to the fire is not known; 125 bodies were recovered but about 200-300  are estimated to have perished.  Some 100,000 of the city’s 300,000 people were left homeless.

3.  More than 3.3 square miles of property was destroyed, worth some $222,000,000 in valuation, which was about one third of the entire city’s valuation.

4.  Contrary to popular belief, the fire was NOT caused by “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow” knocking over a lantern; although it’s likely the fire started in or near the O’Leary barn, a reporter made up the cow-kick theory.

5.  Some people believe that a meteorite caused the fire, but this theory does not have much support in the scientific community.

6.  Three other major fires occurred along the Lake Michigan area on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire.  One of these, the Peshtigo Fire, killed at least 1200 people and charred 1.5 million acres of land, but it remains relatively unknown compared to the less-deadly Chicago fire.

7.  One of the reasons the fire got out of control is that firefighters were already exhausted from having fought a fire the day before and underestimated the potential of this fire when they first responded to it.

8.  Matters were not helped by the area having had an extremely dry spell of weather.

9.  There have been three athletic teams called “Chicago Fire” – the current Major League Soccer team, and earlier World Football League and American Football Association teams.

10.  The 1937 movie In Old Chicago gives a highly fictionalized account of both the O’Leary family and, to a lesser extent, the Great Chicago Fire.

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