Wisconsin History Day By Day

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Historic Third Ward

The Great Fire of 1892 in Milwaukee's "Irish Third Ward"

Read More About It

"Beertown Blazes: A Century of Milwaukee Firefighting" by R.L. Nailen and James Haight


square blocks

Interesting Fact:

Approximately 1,900 people, mostly Irish-Americans, were left homeless as a result of the fire.

Study Questions:

  • Besides the strong winds, why do you think the fire spread so rapidly?
  • Describe what Milwaukee's Third Ward looked like in 1892. Is this what we think of Wisconsin in the "good old days"?
  • What have been some of the bad fires in your community's history?

    Search these newspaper databases for additional stories about major fires in Wisconsin's history:

  • Newspapers on BadgerLink
  • Wisconsin Historical Society

    U.S. historical events that occurred on October 28:

    1886: The Statue of Liberty is dedicated.

  • October 28

    October 28, 1892: A fire in Milwaukee destroyed over 400 buildings, covering 16 square blocks in the city's third ward. The fire started in an oil storage yard and spread rapidly with the aid of strong winds. Property loss totaled more than $4,500,000.

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