Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Today in History: October 8, 1871

Sunday October 8th through Tuesday, the 10th, 1871 over three square miles of the center of Chicago burned relentlessly.
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Chicago in 1868 
(All that is shown burned plus more to the north (right) and south(left)

A bustling metropolis and manufacturing city, as well as the transportation hub to the west, Chicago was still a boomtown of sorts. The Chicago River had been linked to the Illinois River and connected to the Mississippi River. This linked Chicago to most states via waterways in the Union. 

Railroads criss-crossing the 'booming' country provided access to the East and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Chicago was primed to be the greatest of American cities...and then She burned.
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Burned Districts in Red

More than two-thousand acres burned of prime and not so prime Chicago land. 
A dry summer and fall, wailing winds, overcrowded residential districts built of wood with wood fences and wooden walkways fed the flames of the fire that started in the south part of the city. 
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North Branch of the Chicago River

It quickly reached the Chicago River mouth reaching tornado like conditions feeding the flames. People fled in every direction, streets filled with fleeing victims as 'fire-proof' buildings crumbled behind them. Bridges clogged and quickly as the fire came from the West and the South riding howling winds.

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Randolph Street Bridge

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Chicago Harbor

Victims fled to the Lake Michigan beach, to boats and piers...with only the clothes on their backs, dragging animals and carrying children and the elderly in their arms.

Tuesday morning rain drizzled and then rained, but the fire had burned and then ran out of fuel to the north with fewer homes and walkways to feed on.

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Above the remnants of the new City Hall are in the background as a shell.
Only known loss of life was set at approximately 300. Many panicked survivors poured onto the Lincoln Park Beach and into the Lake. A cemetery on the lakefront housed many for days as they waited for everything around their oasis to cool. 

Property losses totaled 17,500 buildings destroyed, dollar losses were estimated at  $222 million dollars. 

The center of the city buildings were all of stone and brick and most were reduced to a baked powder. Some had been advertised as 'fire proof'.

As far as the eye could see...nothing was recognizable.  Eventually the rubble was dumped into the lake to surround what had been the all the railroad's central depot. 100,000 of the residents of Chicago were homeless, and many more fled. Massive relief efforts were organized in cities across the nation and supplies shipped to Chicago to help. Winter was only 6-8 weeks away.

The only municipal building left standing was the 1868 Water Tower now located on North Michigan Avenue. Today it is the iconic symbol of Chicago's tenacity and a tribute to the CITY that rebuilt after the Great Chicago Fire. 

All these photos are historic and all over the internet and Pinterest. So, I have chosen not to show a source as they are long out of copyright, except for the Water Tower photo! 

I'm thankful for each and every comment, and will try and answer every question.

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Thoughtful Moments #3 "Do you see...what I see?"

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My oldest memories are of my favorite Fall seasons. I always loved warm sun on my back with a cool breeze licking my face.

Chippewa Flowage, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Who wouldn't love the green world bursting into so many colors...and tones you can't imagine?

I loved to do my gradeschool artwork with chalk on black paper, leaves and grasses bright in Fall's display.

Fox River south of McHenry Dam
Dad was a fisherman, so my youngest memories are of throwing in a line with a cane pole and watching it drift with the current. Ripples on the water teasing the bobber and his earnest reminder to, 

"Wait for it to disappear." 

South of McHenry Dam
 Late afternoon October skies showering the water with diamonds, blinding in beauty.


Moraine Hills State Park Illinois
Our family had property in the middle of Wisconsin surrounded by fields, hills, and nestled on a small chain of lakes. I would take long walks along the creeks and across the fields, the ever changing landscape as it morphed from greens to golden tans and then to the subtle dead grays of November.

Lakewood Forest Preserve  Wauconda, Illinois

Even with the flowers long spent, the grasses and wild plants provided fascinating details and diversity.


Moraine State Park, McHenry County Illinois

Windswept delicate grasses and grains, strong enough to withstand the pounding fall rains and wave playfully in a breeze.

Moraine State Park McHenry County Illinois
The teasing angle of an Autumn Solstice sun, fiery when high and smoldering and smokey in dusky light as it lowers in the southwest.


Lakewood Forest Preserve Wauconda Illinois

Fleeting clouds or....a pink sunset, what do you see? 
When you stop long enough...

'to really SEE'. 

These photos are all mine---some as old as 2007. Color has yet to even begin to change in N.Illinois this year.

I'm thankful for each and every comment, and will try and answer every question.