The Great Chicago Fire burned from Sunday, October 8 to Tuesday, October 10, 1871. The fire started in or around a barn on DeKoven Street, but despite the fact that the O'Leary family lived in the area, the legend of Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern is probably just that - a legend. More than 300 people died in the fire, 100,000 were left homeless, and four square miles of the city were destroyed. Although the Chicago fire, perhaps, the most well known from in American history, there have been significant fires in other major cities as well - Boston, Pittsburgh and Detroit included. To learn more about them check out Seven Fires: the Urban Infernos that Shaped America.
The great fire by Jim Murphy
Smoldering city: Chicagoans and the Great Fire, 1871- 1874 by Karen Sawislak
City of the century: the epic of Chicago and the making of America by Donald L. Miller