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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Dellos


I spent the better part of four years researching THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE for a documentary I directed and produced, "Love Under Fire: The Story of Bertha and Potter Palmer."

Growing up in Chicago and going to Chicago Public School, they taught us that Mrs. O'Leary's Cow had started the fire. This is lore that was the result of two "isms"-- racism and sexism. Mrs. O'Leary was an Irish woman selling milk out of her barn without a permit.

The fire was, in fact, started due to the dry late summer and fall, before THE GREAT FIRE, there had been approximately 19 fires creating the perfect storm of dry weather, high winds, and an over-taxed fire department. The real source of the fire is unknown, but we do love a good story here in the Windy City.


✂️ Chicagollage Day 6: The Great Chicago Fire.

✂️ Join us at @chicagocollagecommunity for our weeklong challenge CHICAGOLLAGE.

We invite you to make a collage a day for the week of January 1st through the 7th.

Jan 1st: Chigagou, an Algonquian word meaning “onion field.”

Jan 2nd: Chicago Transit Authority

Jan 3rd: Bike Lane

Jan 4th: The Loop

Jan 5th: Lake Front

Jan 6th: The Great Chicago Fire

Jan 7th: “urbs in horto” (or “city in a garden,” Chicago’s Motto)

✂️ Chicagollage How To:

1. Make a collage based upon the daily prompt (analog or digital)

2. Post it on Instagram

3. Hashtag it with #chicagollage for a possible feature on the @chicagocollagecommunity page

✂️ Everyone is invited to join. Each participant can set their own goals. For example, you can choose your favorite prompt and just work on that one for the whole week. We started the Chicago Collage Community to be connected with those around us, and that is what Chicagollage is about: community, inspiration, creativity, and cut & pastes.

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