Landmarks that Survived the Great Chicago Fire

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By Dustin Ford

The Great Chicago Fire is one of the city’s most prevalent historical moments. It is rare to see anything affect so much of Chicago at once, let alone physically destroy it. Most of everything east of the river was engulfed in flames, but some buildings survived. You can still visit these buildings today and see how they survived the raging inferno.

The Old Water Tower and Pumping Station

This water tower was designed to bring cleaner water to the city in its time of need. During the fire, a German Fireman named Frank Trautman covered the tower in wet blankets in order to stave off the intense heat. This became of the most famous landmarks to survive. The Pumping Station was less fortunate; the inside was scorched but the exterior survived and was able to be rebuilt.

St. Michael’s Church

This Old Town Church was a sanctuary for German immigrants who fled to Chicago. When news of the fire broke out members of the parish packed as much valuables they could into a cart and fled. The interior of the church was destroyed except for its walls. Rebuilding was started only a week after.

Old St. Patrick’s Church

This is the oldest public building to survive the Great Chicago Fire. The blaze missed the church by two blocks. This might seem like a safe distance, but fate can be dramatically changed in a matter of yards when such intense heat is involved.

The Clarke House

This house became famous not from its marble pillars, but from its survival of the fire. Strangely, enough, this house would later be put onto a train and moved away from the rubble. It was later moved back years later.

2339 N Cleveland, 2323 N Cleveland, and 2121 N Hudson

These 3 residential houses predated the fire and now stand as landmarks. Perhaps it was luck that they stood standing after such a traumatic event. Then again, the same could be said for every building listed here.

Check out our website for more on Chicago’s sites.

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