We all know the story: Mrs. O’Leary’s cow knocked over a lantern and all of Chicago went up in flames.

But is that the real story of 1871’s Great Chicago Fire?

In a quirky animated short, History tries to answer that exact question. The narrator notes Chicago’s growth during the period, “a disorganized body with a dry, wooden skin.”

A drought ensured dry wood was well-stocked, putting the wooden city at risk.

After the cow ALLEGEDLY knocked over the lantern, “flames walked faster than you could run, strolling through banks and hotels and offices and rivers so polluted that the grease on the black water was like wild fire.”

300 dead. A third homeless.

But is it really the cow’s fault? Watch the video above to find out!


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