“MAP of the City of CHICAGO” Chicago: Warner & Beers, c. 1873, from Atlas of Illinois. Lithographed map with original hand-coloring. (Image: 16 ¾ x 13 3/8’’)
This attractive historical map depicts Chicago in considerable detail with major parks, cemeteries, waterways, railroads, stockyards, and streets well identified. Produced just two years after the great fire of 1871 which destroyed more than half the city. The map shows the area burned with the darker shading.
No one knows how the fire started in the cow barn at the rear of the Patrick O'Leary cottage on Chicago's West Side. The blaze began about 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 8, 1871. By midnight the fire had jumped the river's south branch and by 1:30 a.m., the business district was in flames. Shortly thereafter the fire raced northward across the main river. The waterworks were evacuated although the tower was not badly damaged and still stands. 300 Chicagoans were dead, 90,000 homeless, and the property loss was $200 million.