Remembering the Peshtigo Fire with Barb Chisholm

An illustration of the Peshtigo Fire from “Harper’s Weekly,” Nov. 25, 1871 edition.

The Door County Historical Society’s Aug. 23 program at Heritage Village at Big Creek recalls the night of the Peshtigo Fire.

On the evening of Oct. 8, 1871 the worst recorded forest fire in North American history raged through Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, destroying millions of dollars of property, timberland, and between 1,200 and 2,400 lives. Beginning in Peshtigo, meteorologists speculate prolonged widespread drought fueled the fire and incredibly strong winds caused the fire to spread across Green Bay to Door County.

Barb Chisholm will give an overview of the fire that enveloped both sides of the Bay and includes the history of the village of Williamsonville (Tornado), and the devastation at that site and other parts of the county. In an engaging manner, Chisholm steps back in time and gives a first-person interpretation of her great-grandparents and how they survived during and after the fire.

The program will be held on Aug. 23 at 2 pm in the Collins Center, at 2041 Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay. This program does not have an admission fee, but a donation is appreciated. For more information, call 920.421.2332 or email [email protected].