As dawn broke on October 10, 1871, the dazed survivors of the Great Chicago Fire stumbled through their burned and battered city. A 30-hour inferno had reduced Chicago to ashes.
Homes and business were replaced by gaping holes and smoldering rubble. Tens of thousands of people had lost their houses and jobs. Many had lost loved ones. As aid poured into the city, officials turned their attention to the challenges of distributing relief and maintaining order.
But the embers had barely cooled when residents went to work throwing up makeshift structures and reopening their businesses. Over the next two years, Chicagoans would rapidly rebuild their city. It was the start of a recovery that would spur architectural innovation and urban renewal, turning Chicago into a modern metropolis.
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