Peshtigo is most famous as the site of the Peshtigo Fire of 1871, in which more than 1,200 people perished. They tell you at the museum that they were not really sure of the exact numbers of people that were killed. Such sadness, but a wonderful town has arose from the ashes to become a very welcoming, pretty town.
On October 8, 1871, a forest fire driven by strong winds totally consumed Peshtigo along with a dozen other villages, killing 1,200 to 2,500 people and charring approximately 1.5 million acres. This fire, known as the Peshtigo Fire, is the deadliest in American history. Unidentifiable remains of hundreds of residents were buried in a mass grave at the Peshtigo Fire Cemetery. The Peshtigo Fire Museum features several items that survived the fire, plus other artifacts from the area’s history.
This fire happened on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, the Holland, Michigan fire, the Port Huron Fire of 1871, and The Great Michigan Fire in Manistee, Michigan.
Below are some stories about the heroics of some of the people in Peshtigo.