Masks required in Abakanowicz Research Center; optional for rest of Museum more


Virtual Talk | A Combustible Society: Chicago’s Populations and The Great Chicago Fire

Saturday, November 6

In 1871, Chicago was the nation’s fifth largest city with a large population of recent European immigrants seeking employment in Chicago’s booming meatpacking industry, rail transportation, lumberyards, and more. The arrival of so many immigrants sparked xenophobic sentiments that pitted the native-born residents against the newly arrived foreign population as both struggled for space and economic stability.

Join us as Dominic Pacyga, professor emeritus of history at Columbia College Chicago, gives insight into the history of Chicago’s population in the years before and after the Great Chicago Fire. Hear about the smoldering tensions that led to subsequent social and economic movements such as the Haymarket Affair, the Pullman Strike, and the shaping of our city’s neighborhoods.

Free to all; RSVP required


We are monitoring the COVID situation, and if a program format changes, you will be notified no later than one week in advance with updated details. CHM requires all visitors over age 2 and staff to wear a mask while inside the Museum or on a tour. Learn more about the Museum’s safety policies and procedures. 

Dominic Pacyga
Map of Chicago found in Heck's Prize Packages, showing burnt district after the Chicago Fire of 1871. CHM, ICHi-039315
Calvary troops lounging on lawn of Hotel Florence (left) in Pullman, Chicago, 1894. CHM, ICHi-064047
Broadside announcing mass meeting at Haymarket Square, 1886. ICHi-034602
Illustration depicting Haymarket Square events, Chicago, May 4, 1886. Published in Harper's Weekly, May 15, 1886. CHM, ICHi-003665

The Details



6 th

2:30–3:30 p.m.

Event Location


Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago's Stories