Chicago, Oct 9 — One catastrophic event has shaped so much of what you see in Chicago today. We would have never had the world renown skyline, the parks at the lake front or the spectacular grid had not the city been burned to ground. This week marks the 146th anniversary of The Great Chicago Fire. On this occasion, we announce the launch of a book of poems by Thomas Brandenburg on the history of the Chicago Fire.Through extensive research of historic documents, collections of objects and biographies he brings to life a Chicago that existed before and during the fire.
He paints a brilliant picture of the spirit of entrepreneurs such as Marshal Field’s and Henry Piper whose spirit echoes one of the city as it rebuilds in the poems, Contenders and Piper’s Alley. He unearths everyday fixtures that cross all of our lives in a poem about Apple Mary who worked on LaSalle street and made a small fortune by investment tips from the bankers she sold apples to on LaSalle street.
He takes you into the homes and small businesses of everyday people who were running to save their lives as the fire engulfed the city in poems, Chicago and On Foot. For a moment you get to glimpse into the terror that might have crossed their minds as they ran to save their lives and the few objects they held dear.
The poetry collection is being launched through the app Vamonde which allows you to experience the poems at the locations around the city where each site specific poem was written. Unlock a poem by going to a location and hear Chicagoans read a poem that brings the historic site to life. Every week for the next 6 weeks we will be launching a mini tour of the city where listeners are invited to come and step back in time to appreciate the history of this great city.
Starting at the South Loop, where the fire was kick-started at the now missing O’Leary’s Barn, at 558 West De Koven Street. There you will recieve a portrait through poetry, the life of Catherine O’Leary who experience heavy grief due to the event. Other locations of Hand Across Flames audio tour includes the city’s ground zero, Clark Street Bridge, and many more.