Did a cow really start the great Chicago fire of October 8, 1871?

While the fire did begin in a cow barn behind the cottage of Patrick O’Leary, there is no evidence that a cow was responsible.

In fact, a reporter, Michael Ahern, later admitted he created the legend in order to make a better story.

The fire lasted 27 hours, killing 250 people and destroying 17,450 buildings.

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