On Sunday, October 8, 1871, just after 9 p.m., a fire broke out in the barn behind the home of Patrick and Catherine O'Leary at 13 DeKoven Street in Chicago. The cause is unknown, though one of the O'Leary's cows often gets the blame. A dry summer had left the wooden city parched and vulnerable, and the flames quickly spread east and north, consuming everything in their path. Firefighters could do little more than watch and pray. After two days, rain fell and the flames died. After the two-day blaze, which destroyed an area about four miles long and about 3/4 mile wide, at least 300 people were dead, 100,000 homeless, and $200 million worth of property had been destroyed including Chicago's entire central business district. As Chicago's citizens took stock of the ravaged city, many saw the destruction as an opportunity. Despite having suffered the largest urban fire in U.S. history, Chicago would rise magnificently from the ashes. A year later, almost $40 million had been invested in new construction, turning what had been a hastily built, haphazardly developed boomtown into a modern, well-planned city center. The successful reconstruction exemplified Chicago's"I Will" spirit and spread the city's unique and extraordinary reputation worldwide.Published with the Chicago History Museum. Thirty color, black-and-white, and sepia tone reproductions. Oversized postcards dimensions: 6 1/2" x 4 3/4".