Midwest Destination

Midwest Destination:

    Peshtigo Fire Museum
    400 Oconto Avenue
    Peshtigo, Marinette County, Wisconsin

Peshtigo Fire Museum

peshtigofiresign.jpg - 19613 Bytes "On the night of October 8, 1871, Peshtigo, a booming town of 1700 people, was wiped out of existence in the greatest forest fire disaster in American history."

Loss of life and even property in the great fire (occurring even the same night in Chicago) did not match the death toll and destruction visited upon NE Wisconsin during the same dreadful hours.

The town of Peshtigo was centered around a woodenware factory, the largest in the country. Every building in the community was lost. The tornado of fire claimed at least 800 lives in this area.

Many of the victims lie here. The memory of 350 unidentified men, women and children is preserved in a nearby mass grave." Incredibly sad stories are found throughout the museum and especially on the tombstones adjacent to the museum. Admission is seasonal and is FREE.

Peshtigo Fire Museum Peshtigo Fire Museum
A sculpture of fire welcomes visitors to the Peshtigo Fire Museum and adjoining cemetery. There are stories posted throughout the cemetery where fire victims are buried.Most of the items in the museum are not remnants of the fire, since few remained. They are period pieces and newspaper clippings from other cities.
Peshtigo Fire Museum Peshtigo Fire Museum
Mass grave contains the ashes, bones, and bodies of 350 people who perished in the Peshtigo Fire. Approximately 75 lost their lives in the Peshtigo Company's boarding house on the east side of the river. They were so completely consumed by the fire that one could not tell man from woman or child from adult. All, however, in the mass grave, were not ashes. Unidentified bodies are also buried here. Their nineteen-year-old brother took these two MELLEN children to the river. He walked into the icy water up to his neck with a child on each arm. The fierce heat compelled him to keep wetting their hair or ducking their heads under water. This continued for nearly four hours until flames subsided. When the older brother brought the children to shore, it was found that both had died of hypothermia.

The Peshigo Fire is a tragic story, yes, but also a story filled with great courage and determination. Stories of families being torn apart and some of miraculous recoveries. If the stories you read at the museum don't bring tears to your eyes or at least a knot in the pit of your stomach - you have no heart!

Have fun in your own backyard!
Connie Eccles
CEO of ComPortOne

Peshtigo Fire Museum
400 Onconto Ave
Peshtigo, WI 54147
715-582-3244 / Seasonal

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