The Great Chicago Fire: Background information when reading The Fifth Floor

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The Fifth Floor

by Michael Harvey

The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey X
The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2008, 288 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2009, 288 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd
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About this Book

The Great Chicago Fire

This article relates to The Fifth Floor

Print Review

The Great Chicago Fire burned from about 9pm on October 8th to early on the 10th, 1871. The source of the blaze is unknown; for many years it was believed that the fire was caused by a cow kicking over a lantern, but more than twenty years after the fact the reporter responsible for first publishing this story admitted that he'd made it up.

Although the number of lives lost was relatively low considering the extent of the fire (about 200-300 people), the fire is still remembered today, partially because of the extent of the damage (about four square miles of the mainly wooden city were destroyed), but mainly as the catalyst for the city's subsequent growth into one of the most economically important and populous American cities.

A Study in pictures of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 from the Chicago Historical Society

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

Article by Allison Stadd

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Fifth Floor. It originally ran in September 2008 and has been updated for the July 2009 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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