Welcome to When Weather Changed History "The Great Chicago Fire of 1871"
This interactive unit addresses how the weather impacted one of the most destructive fires in American history. Legend blames the catastrophe on a lantern kicked over by Mrs. O'Leary's cow. The Weather Channel dispels this popular myth and others, showing that it was really the result of a long drought in the Chicago area in 1871. Due to the dry conditions that this caused, a small barn fire erupted into an inferno that swept through Chicago and nearly destroyed the city. The program also shows how Chicago rebuilt itself from the ashes with revoluntionary architecture that included the world's first skyscraper.