The Great Fire
On October 8th, 1871, a combination of a dry summer and lightning storm with strong southwest winds caused the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history. Thousands of acres of logging debris fueled the fire that stretched 50 miles long and 20 miles wide. Hundreds of residents were killed. Those who survived hid in wells, fields and the bay to escape the conflagration. Thousands of acres were partially cleared because of the fire. This allowed for an abundance of farming to occur. The fire left 5,000 Belgians homeless and transformed the landscape of the Door Peninsula. A building boom followed. By 1874 all communities effected by the fire had been completely restored.