Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Great Michigan Fire of October 8, 1871

The Chicago Fire of 1871 gets (justifiably) a great deal of attention. Something that is not as well known is the fact that it was only one of a number of major fires across the Midwest that burned millions of acres and caused over 1200 deaths. The worst of these destroyed the city of Peshtigo, Wisconsin which killed over 800 people. Michigan was dealt grievous blows from "The Fiery Fiend" as fires swept across the state, wiping out or endangering entire cities, towns and villages including Holland, Manistee, Grand Rapids, South Haven and Port Huron doing millions of dollars worth of property damage and killing hundreds. [More]
I came across this on the Michigan in Pictures blog today and I thought it might be of interest to folks who had family in Michigan back in 1871. That was a bit before my earliest ancestors got here in 1881 so they wouldn't have experienced the horrific fire.

If you'd like to read more about this and another great Michigan fire (1881), you can do so on the following web sites:
Absolute Michigan
University of Michigan News Service
Library of Congress, American Memory
Michigan DNR