E8. The Great Chicago Fire, October 8, 1871

The Great Chicago Fire, October 8, 1871
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The Great Chicago Fire, October 8, 1871
The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned from Sunday, October 8, to early Tuesday, October 10, 1871. The fire killed up to 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles (9 km2) of Chicago, Illinois, and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.[1] Though the fire was one of the largest U.S. disasters of the 19th century, and destroyed much of the city’s central business district, Chicago was rebuilt and continued to grow as one of the most populous and economically important American cities.
The fire started at about 9:00 P.M, October 8, in or around a small barn that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street.[2] The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. In 1893, Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who wrote the O’Leary account, admitted he had made it up as colorful copy.[3] The barn was the first building to be consumed by the fire, but the official report could not determine the exact cause.[4] There has, however, been some speculation that would suggest the fire was caused by a person, instead of a cow. Some testimonies stated that a group of men were gambling inside the barn so they would not be seen by others. The lamp that they were using was accidentally knocked over, which is what started the fire. Little evidence has been presented to prove whether or not this is true. There has been speculation as to whether the cause of the fire was related to other fires that began the same day.
From: Sunday, October 8, 1871
To: Sunday, March 11, 1973
Result: 37,044 days
101 years, 5 months, 3 days
3,200,601,600 seconds
53,343,360 minutes
889,056 hours
37,044 days
5292 weeks
From: Sunday, October 8, 1871
To: Tuesday, September 11, 2001
Result: 47,455 days
129 years, 11 months, 3 days
4,100,112,000 seconds
68,335,200 minutes
1,138,920 hours
47,455 days
6779 weeks

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