Peshtigo, like many Midwestern towns, was highly vulnerable to fire. Nearly every structure in town was a timber-framed building–prime fuel for a fire. When news of the tragedy at Peshtigo finally reached Madison (Wisconsin's capital) on October 10, 1871, Governor Lucius Fairchild and other state officials were away at Chicago, helping the victims of that fire. Readers will learn about the history of settlement, agriculture, and forestry in 19th-century Wisconsin. It was so horrific," Anderson said. The air was again full of smoke.

Still others visited the saloon and had dinner parties like it was a normal day. The Peshtigo Fire Museum is built in a former Catholic Church that was put here after the fire destroyed the first one. Relief Efforts What happened after the fire? The fire also burned 16 other towns, but the damage in Peshtigo was the worst. "Some people thought it was the end of the world." The city was gone in an hour. In the spring of 1872, when hope was beginning to bloom, the town was invaded by army worms. Many people were quiet from exhaustion and fear; some had a sense of impending doom. "What most researchers find so fascinating is the effect it (the Peshtigo Fire) had on people's lives. The Catholic Church bought the building from the Congregational Church on the other side of town and moved it across the river to this site. Chapter 4: Recovery. The Great Peshtigo Fire: Stories and Science from America’s Deadliest Firestorm explores the history, science, and legacy of the 1871 Peshtigo Fire at a fourth-grade reading level. In Peshtigo alone, 800 lives were lost. As the day grew darker, a strange red glow appeared in the west. Chapter 2: Sunday, October 8 Peshtigo. In the Sugar Bush and other agricultural areas, the tenacious worms destroyed all hope of the first planting season.