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The great Chicago fire - Research Paper Example

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Abstract The Great Fire of 1871 was one of the most immense tragedies in American history. It was actual Apocalypse in one individually taken city. During one night, the thriving and prosperous city of Chicago was turned into a blazing wasteland. The hurt was so deep that small amount of people believed the city could be never rebuilt once more…
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The great Chicago fire
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Download file to see previous pages Will Chicago be able to return her royal title of the “Queen of the West”? The Great Chicago Fire "It was like a snowstorm only the flakes were red instead of white." Bessie Bradwell Helmer 1. Chicago started as a small settlement and grew to a very populated city during XIX. The population of Chicago had burst from approximately 4,000 souls when it received its first city charter in 1837, to 30,000 in 1850 and to an amazing 330,000 at 1871. It had passed Saint Louis as the fourth-biggest city in America and became a key player on the international scene. Modern for those days highly-branched railroad was a very important element of Chicago city. No American city was linked to the romance of the railroad the way Chicago was. It resembled imperial European centers – Paris, for instance – where the stations, like the points of a gigantic compass, beckoned in all directions… It was the railroad that made Chicago the capital of America’s heartland, its attainable metropolis, its possible dream. (Lowe, 2010, p.51). 2. This fast increase city growth, though, happened with little planning. Several brick-and-mortar constructions were already built, but thousands of buildings were factually “thrown up” to house the enormous flood of European immigrants. There, next to rich houses was built squatter settlement where buildings often were put up very close to each other, back-to-back. The growth of the city was so speedy and similar to the fast growing bones of a teenager, which often might be subject to easy breaking. The expansion of Chicago was far from being ideal and faultless. There were class conflicts, business upheavals and urban rivalry which became common in American cities. 3. On Sunday October 8th 1871 around 9 o’clock in the evening in the small barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, that was on 137 DeKoven Street, the fire started. Nobody knew for certain what caused it. The investigation by the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners has never before been fully researched and reported by the fire historians. The Board’s final report published in Chicago newspapers on December 12, 1871, indicated that the commissioners were unable to determine the fire cause.” (Bales and Schwartz, 2005, p.4) 4. There were number of equally possible stories, from the owner’s cow kicking over the lantern to meteor shower which possibly caused 3 other fires in the same area simultaneously. 5. According to Owens (2007), “The Chicago fire started in the O’Leary barn but the O’Leary Home survived.” (p.8) 6. However, many historians nowadays believe that the true culprit of the fire was Daniel Sullivan, the one who told O’Learys about the fire. They accepted as truth his story that he got inside the barn to steal their cows’ milk. Prior to his death, Daniel Sullivan admitted that he was accountable. There are some indications confirming it is true, yet it is not certain. A.T. Andreas, nineteenth-century historian wrote: "Nature had withheld her accustomed measure of prevention, and man had added to the peril by recklessness." The fire spread very fast due to the draught for fourteen weeks, multiplicity of wooden houses, jacked-up plank streets and sidewalks and powerful southwestern wind. It was similar to hundreds of matchboxes set close ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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