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Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions

Beyond the Mansion: Great Chicago Fire Walking Tour

In 1879, the Chicago Daily Tribune headline announced, “Something New in Houses— A Fire-Proof Residence.” The article showcased the Nickerson’s new residence, now home to the Driehaus Museum. Built on the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire, this historic landmark is a living reminder of the important stories and lessons that emerged from the most devastating event in the City’s history.

This walking tour will begin inside the Museum, with a look at the engineering innovations that made this Marble Palace fire-proof, and continue with a stroll around the neighborhood. You will hear about life in the Chicago of 1871 as we trace the path the fire blazed through the North Division, as the area north of the Chicago River was once known, and learn about how the neighborhood experienced and responded to such tragic loss by fire. Of course, it wouldn’t be Chicago if we didn’t also celebrate the spirit and resilience of the people who sought to rebuild this neighborhood into the fashionable and architecturally significant district that endures today.

Special note: The tour begins at the Driehaus Museum and then travels about two miles in a loop that ends back at the Museum. It takes just under two hours. Comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended! Tours will take place rain or shine.


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