The month after the fire, Joseph Medill (1823-99) was elected mayor after promising to institute stricter building and fire codes, a pledge that may have helped him win the office. His victory might also be attributable to the fact that most of the city’s voting records were destroyed in the fire, so it was next to impossible to keep people from voting more than once.
Despite the fire’s devastation, much of Chicago’s physical infrastructure, including its transportation systems, remained intact. Reconstruction efforts began quickly and spurred great economic development and population growth, as architects laid the foundation for a modern city featuring the world’s first skyscrapers. At the time of the fire, Chicago’s population was approximately 324,000; within nine years, there were some 500,000 Chicagoans. By 1890, the city was a major economic and transportation hub with an estimated population of more than 1 million people. (In America, only New York City had a larger population at the time.) In 1893, Chicago hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition, a tourist attraction visited by some 27.5 million people.
Today, the Chicago Fire Department training academy is located on the site of the O’Leary property where the Great Chicago Fire started. In 1997, the Chicago City Council passed a resolution exonerating Catherine O’Leary, an Irish immigrant who died in 1895, and her cow.
Unformatted text preview: THE CHICAGO FIRE of 1871 The mid year of 1871 had been a bizarrely dry one in Chicago. In the middle of July and October, just 5 inches of downpour fell. Notwithstanding twenty-seven fires in the first week of October, on Saturday night, October 7, a burst softened out up an arranging factory on the West Side and pulverized very nearly every building in a four piece territory before it was brought under control Sunday morning. They lost a hose and other blaze battling gear, including one of seventeen steam fire motors and a hose truck. Almost 50% of Chicago's 185 fire fighters battled this blaze and numerous were on obligation throughout the day, so they were depleted when the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 struck. Some individuals surmise that the flame was begun by Mrs. O'leary's cow kicking over a lamp. Others have diverse speculations, however one thing is for sure,on the Sunday nighttime of October 8, 1871 a blast began in Mrs. O' leary's horse shelter. Daniel sullivan sat on the wooden October 8, 1871 a blast began in Mrs....
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