What survived the Great Chicago Fire? Natural stone did
Some stones are more hardy and durable than others – marble is universally known to be harder than sandstone. On the whole, however natural stone is recognized as a tough material that can withstand a variety of different punishments.
If one needs any proof of the strength of natural stone, it only takes a short look back to the history of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 to be certain. This monumental event in American history serves as a reminder for of us today of the perils of choosing inadequate building materials.
The Great Chicago Fire – a primer
The Great Chicago Fire burned for nearly two days, from October 8 to October 10. By the time rain had put it out, an area of 4 square miles had burned down, destroying 17,500 buildings, killing around 300 people and leaving 90,000 without a home.
To this day, how the fire had started is a mystery. While it is generally acknowledged that it began in a barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O'Leary, whether it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern, as the story goes, is up for debate.
Thanks to the many wooden buildings, sidewalks and streets that filled Chicago at the time, the fire ripped through the city, turning seemingly everything it touched into ash.
What survived the great fire?
Not everything fell in the inferno, however. While the wooden structures easily succumbed to the blaze, the Old Water Tower at 800 N. Michigan Avenue at the centre of Magnificent Mile continued to stand.
The tower, constructed in 1869 from limestone blocks, became something of a symbol of Chicago in the wake of the tragedy, and has become one of its notable attractions – in no small part thanks to the strength of its masonry.
Of course, natural stone isn't impervious to flames. For one thing, fire can leave unsightly burn and soot marks on a stone surface, requiring some serious, heavy-duty surface cleaning.
If your natural stone should survive its own blaze, use HANAFINN Rejuvenata ACTIVE™ to remove those stubborn marks and get it looking fit to be a landmark of your own.