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Historic Cities coloring pages - Chicago fire of 1871

The Chicago skyline was set ablaze on Sunday, October 8th, 1871. A popular urban legend blamed the fire on an accident that occurred when Catherine O'Leary was milking a cow in the family barn.

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 American Cities Coloring Page - Chicago Fire

Catherine O'Leary seemed the perfect scapegoat: she was a woman, an immigrant, and Catholic, a combination which did not fare well in the political climate of the time in Chicago. This story was circulating in Chicago even before the flames had died out, and it was noted in the Chicago Tribune's first post-fire issue. Michael Ahern, the reporter who came up with the story, would later retract the "cow-and-lantern" story in 1893, admitting that it had been fabricated. Several alternate theories of blame have been proposed, but none have ever been proven.



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