Podcast | Making Wisconsin: “The Forgotten Fire” of 1871
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - On October 8, 1871, two fires were set ablaze. Though one is likely written in your history books and one has been left to the ashes.
While the Great Chicago Fire was burning through the Windy City, there was a much more disastrous event happening here at home: The Peshtigo Fire.
150 years ago, The Great Fire of 1871 destroyed Peshtigo, burning down all but one building and killing 800 people in the city alone, according to The Peshtigo Fire Museum.
Charlie and Gabriella walk us through what caused this natural disaster — including weather patterns and standard industry practices of the time — as well as why it could never happen again. We also hear from Barb Englebert Chisolm, who does historical reenactments of how her ancestors survived the fire.
- The National Weather Service details the large-scale weather patterns that contributed to the fire
- Wisconsin Historical Society’s newspaper story about the fire’s history from 1921
- Fire Storm at Peshtigo by Denise Gess and William D. Lutz
WBAY’s coverage of the Peshtigo fire:
- Door County Belgian community to commemorate 150th anniversary of The Great Fire
- Peshtigo to celebrate “rebirth from the ashes”
- Brown County Historical Society publishes book on fires in 1871
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