“learn about America's most disastrous forest fire”
Visit the Peshtigo Fire Museum to learn about America’s most disastrous forest fire. The museum opened in 1963 as a memorial to the Peshtigo Fire, its victims, and its survivors. The fire that occurred on Oct. 8, 1871 burned over one million acres and took about 800 lives in the community of Peshtigo and several hundred more in the surrounding acres burned. It had been an extremely dry year and people regularly used outdoor fires. Many of those fires were left to continually smolder and the scene was set. Sunday evening the 8th brought a weather change with strong winds that fanned some of those smoldering fires into raging fires. Over Peshtigo and several nearby areas known collectively as the Sugar Bushes, this fire is believed to have developed into what now is known by firefighters as a firestorm. At the time of the fire Peshtigo was a thriving lumber town. Peshtigo was the home of the Peshtigo Company that owned; a large sawmill, the world’s largest woodenware factory (producing such things as pails, tubs, tool handles and shingles), and a sash, blind, and door factory. Much of its product was shipped to Chicago as the major owner of the Peshtigo Company was William Ogden who had been Chicago’s first Mayor.
The museum is interesting if you want to see lots of different things from the past but only two things in there survived the fire. The cemetery is right next door and is where the mass grave is. Glad we stopped to see it.
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Peshtigo Fire Museum
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