Don't Butcher the Scapecow
9/1/2010
You can stop blaming Mrs. O'Leary and her cow for the Great Chicago Fire.

You can stop blaming Mrs. O'Leary and her cow for the Great Chicago Fire, which burned residents' pre-1871 viral records along with a third of the city.

Irish immigrant Catherine O'Leary did run a dairy business from the barn where the blaze began, behind her home at 137 DeKoven St. Richard F. Bales, author of The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O'Leary's Cow (McFarland & Co.) says the Oct. 9, 1871, Chicago Evening Journal first reported the spark as "a cow kicking over a lamp in a stable in which a woman was milking."