Today, October 8th, 2012, marks the 141st anniversary of the Great Peshtigo Fire of 1871.
On that day, a catastrophic fire swept through northeast Wisconsin and reduced close to 2,000 miles of forest and 12 communities to ashes. The exact number of lives lost is still unknown even today, though most documents site between 1,200 and 2,500. Many were buried in a mass grave, as it was thought so many had been killed that there wasn't anybody left alive to identify the bodies.
The fire occurred on the exact same day as the Great Chicago Fire, which history has been much more apt to remember, leaving the Great Peshtigo Fire all but forgotten.
I am currently working on an integrated photo essay project of the Great Peshtigo Fire, complete with comparative Then & Now photos of scorched earth in 1871, reborn and revitalized today, along with stories of those who survived the event and of those who did not.
I invite anybody who may want to be involved in the project, in regards to sharing stories from their ancestors, old photographs, artifacts, etc, please feel free to contact me directly.
For now, let's take a moment to remember those whose lives were lost or changed forever by that fateful day, a day that will eternally live in infamy for all Wisconsinites.
Below is a link to a marvelous site. It is Oconto County WIGenWeb Project's Great Peshtigo Fire page. It is filled with wonderful resources regarding the Fire, including links to the Museum, maps, written accounts, etc. Please take a few minutes of your day to review the site and share with your family.
For more posts and examples of Scott's Historic Landscape Photography, please see Scott's blog at http://scottwittmanphotographic.wordpress.com/