Lords of the White City: Burnham and Root

The tale of Burnham and Root begins with an ornery bovine.

On the cold, dry night of October 8, 1871, Mrs. O’Leary’s lit lantern rested on her barn’s hay-covered floor on the outskirts of Chicago. The lantern’s dim light provided a warm glow as she milked her cow. An errant kick from the cantankerous beast toppled the lantern and sparked a Great Fire that ravaged Chicago, as the story goes.

Image © Bettmann/CORBIS

Image © Bettmann/CORBIS

At least that’s the lore.

In reality, Catherine O’Leary was already in bed when that fire sparked in her barn.
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