The modern city of Chicago was settled in the first quarter of the nineteenth century after the Potawatomi Indians ceded their land to the United States. The rich farmlands and boundless opportunity attracted Yankee settlers from the Northeast, spurring urban development and technological innovation. In just a few decades, the city grew from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of residents, becoming a symbol of modernity. Much of this growth can be attributed to the increasing population of German, Irish and Polish immigrants. Among them were the O'Learys, Irish immigrants, who settled in the modern-day South Loop.

Chicago 1871

We all know the legend. Around 9 P.M. on October 8, 1871, Mrs. O'Leary was milking her cow when the animal knocked over a lantern. The dry hay caught immediately. The fire spread quickly across a young city constructed mostly out of wood, burning almost everything in its path. It lasted for days. Over 300 people died. O'Leary was immediately fingered as the culprit, and was soon immortalized as such in song....