Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire

Below are some photographs of the damage caused by the fire and the stories behind the scenes of ruin. The first two photos were taken by Jex Bardwell, one of the many out-of-town photographers who, sensing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, hurried to the stricken city. The remaining photographs are the work of G.N. Barnard, a talented Civil War photographer. He opened a studio on Washington Street in the spring before the fire.

Farwell Building, 1871

Farwell Building, 1871. (photo by Jex Bardwell)

Brothers John V. and Charles B. Farwell were two of the five partners in John V. Farwell & Company, the oldest dry goods firm in Chicago. Born in upstate New York and raised partly in downstate Illinois, they arrived separately in Chicago in the mid-1840s. In the course of their careers they became involved in every variety of social, cultural, political, patriotic, and religious, as well as economic, undertaking. Farwell Hall, the downtown headquarters of the Y.M.C.A., was named after John. Charles, who later became United States Senator from Illinois, was long active in Republican politics, and before the fire he successfully finished the stalled Washington Street tunnel project. The Farwell Building was located at 112-116 Wabash. After the fire the firm rebuilt several blocks west on the northwest corner of Monroe and Franklin Streets.

Al Capone
Black Sox
Century of Progress
Chicago Fire
Fire Bibliography
World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protests and Politics
The Pullman Era
The Stockyards
Fort Dearborn

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