Today in History
October 08, 1871
Chicago Goes Up in Flames
On October 8, 1871, a two-day blaze sweeps across four square miles of Chicago. Dry air and an abundance of wooden structures make the city especially vulnerable during what comes to be known as the Great Fire of 1871. The inferno leaves the Windy City's business district in ruins, 100,000 people homeless, and between 200 and 300 dead. Luckily, most of Chicago's infrastructure, including water, sewage and transportation systems, survives. Reconstruction efforts result in rapid economic and population growth and dazzling architecture, including the first skyscraper, which help transform Chicago into one of the United States' earliest modern cities. By 1893, when Chicago is selected as the site of the World's Columbian Exposition, its population has increased from approximately 324,000 in 1871 to 1.5 million.
Today's Feature History Article
With forests burning, U.S. officials are clashing with environmentalists over how best to reduce the risk of catastrophic blazes
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