The Great Chicago Fire: Is Mrs. O’Leary’s cow really to blame?

Chicago's Afternoon News

Chicago after the fire of 1871, The ‘Great Chicago Fire’ started in the cowbarn at the rear of the Patrick O’Leary cottage at 137 DeKoven Street on Chicago’s West Side at about 9 pm on Sunday 8th October 1871 and finally died down on Tuesday 10th October, United States, 10/10/1871. (Photo by Royal Geographical Society via Getty Images)

On this day in history, October 8th, 1871, marks the start of the Great Chicago Fire, which, according to legend, was caused by a cow who kicked over Mrs. O’Leary’s lit lantern. Author of The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow Dick Bales joins Jon Hansen (in for Steve Bertrand) on Chicago’s Afternoon News to shed some light on the historic event.

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