During the same year as the Great Chicago Fire, Urbana also experienced its own tragic blaze.
The date was October 9, 1871, when a friendly bonfire erupted into one of the biggest infernos in Urbana history. Starting on the Corner of Market Street (modern Broadway) and High Street, the fire swept through the wooden structures taking with it homes and businesses. A volunteer bucket brigade was finally able to put out the fire, but a large part of the city was destroyed. The aftermath of the blaze paved the way to Urbana’s first Fire Department.
Pictured is Tom Caulher, the first Fire Chief in Urbana
Lara, Archives Assistant