Great Fire of 1871
On Oct. 8, 1871, the day the famous Chicago fire began, equally terrible fires broke out on Lake Michigan's east coast in forests parched by a hot dry summer. The flames were fanned by high winds. In a few hours most of Holland and Manistee lay in smoldering ruins, a fate other coastal towns barely escaped. The fires swept on across the state, clear to Lake Huron, destroying some two million acres of trees. Relief for the thousands of victims came from all over Michigan and the nation.