Great Fire of 1871 - PESHTIGO SURVIVORS

PESHTIGO SURVIVORS (Illustration) American History Famous Historical Events Social Studies STEM Tragedies and Triumphs Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Nineteenth Century Life Disasters

This image depicts part of a mural at the Peshtigo Fire Museum in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It reflects an artist's conception of the frightening time which the town's residents endured as they tried to survive the disaster at Peshtigo during its Great Fire of 1871.


When the Peshtigo fire was over, survivors had the gruesome task of burying their dead. The "Fire Cemetery" was used for bodies that could be identified.

At least 350 were burned beyond recognition. They were buried in a mass grave at the church. (The Church is now the Peshtigo Fire Museum).

Remarkably, the month before the town burned, a "Bird's Eye View of Peshtigo" had been completed.  Now maintained at the Library of Congress, the colored plat map beautifully depicts the way Peshtigo appeared just before it was destroyed.

Undaunted by the staggering disaster, people in Peshtigo rebuilt their lives and their town. Within ten years it was once again a flourishing place on the river. As the town’s logo demonstrates, it is a "city reborn from the ashes."

People did not forget the tragedy, even if most folks in the nation never knew (or soon forgot) about it. Survivors, like Amelia Desrochers, helped to keep the story of the horror alive.

Meanwhile, the country’s attention was focused on the southern shore of Lake Michigan - to the place, known at the time, as America’s "second city."

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: May 02, 2019

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"PESHTIGO SURVIVORS" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2002. Jan 25, 2020.
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