150 years ago, Chicago burned to the ground. What really happened, and what’s only myth?

great chicago fire
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 diorama in Chicago History Museum. Flickr / Marcin Wichary
great chicago fire
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 diorama in Chicago History Museum. Flickr / Marcin Wichary

150 years ago, Chicago burned to the ground. What really happened, and what’s only myth?

On the night of Oct. 8, 1871, a fire broke out in Chicago. It started in or around a small barn owned by Patrick and Catherone O’Leary and would ultimately shape the city into what it is today. Historian Carl Smith joins Reset to tell the real story of the blaze that destroyed — and ultimately redefined — Chicago.

GUEST: Carl Smith, author of Chicago’s Great Fire: The Destruction and Resurrection of an Iconic American City; history professor at Northwestern University