This Weekend In History…

Great Chicago Fire – Not Started by a Cow

October 8, 1871

3.3 square miles (9 km2) of Chicago is destroyed, more than 250 people are killed, and 100,000 of the 300,000 residents were left homeless. Adding to the problem, Chicago had been in a drought, having received only 1 inch (2.5 cm) of rain since July 4. It was not Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that started the fire, even though this was reported in theĀ Chicago Tribune‘s first post-fire issue. Twenty-two years later, the author of the story retracted it, stating it was fabricated. The fire started at about 9:00 p.m. near a barn belonging to the O’Leary family. The O’Learys claim they were already asleep and not milking the cow as the article claimed. City officials never determined the exact cause of the fire, but it’s possible that a group of men who were gambling inside the barn knocked over a lantern.

Washington Monument

October 9, 1888

The Washington Monument is opened to the public. It was the first national monument to honor George Washington.

Vice-President Agnew Resigns

October 10, 1973

U.S. Vice-President Spiro T. Agnew resigns and pleads no contest to income tax evasion and is fined $10,000 and put on three years’ probation in exchange for dropping charges of political corruption. He was under investigation for taking kickbacks for construction projects in Baltimore while he was chief executive of Baltimore County and later governor of Maryland. He was the second U.S. Vice-President to resign.
The Vice-Presidency was filled by Gerald Ford, who became President upon Richard Nixon‘s resignation the following year.