Historians Debunk Popular Myth Regarding the Cause of the Great Chicago Fire

Historians Debunk Popular Myth Regarding the Cause of the Great Chicago Fire


Chicago seems to like to pin the blame for its misfortune on farm animals.

For decades the Cubs’ failure to get to the World Series was the fault of a goat that was once kicked out of Wrigley Field. And for well over a century, a cow belonging to Mrs. O’Leary caused the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

But just as baseball fans know the Cubs’ pre-2016 shortcomings had nothing to do with a curse put on the team by a goat’s angry owner, historians say there is no evidence that the massive blaze that destroyed a huge swath of Chicago and displaced about a third of its residents began when Catherine O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern.

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Indeed, nobody puts much stock in that

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