In the wake of the Great Fire of 1871, a ravaged Chicago remained. The urban slate had been violently wiped nearly clean.
Its future was in question, but its spirit was unbroken. In a speech to the New York Chamber of Commerce just days after the fire, William Bross, part-owner of the Tribune — and a Chicagoan who had been burned out of his own home — called on the world to help Chicago rebuild: “What she has been in the past she must become in the future, and a hundredfold more!”
He emphasized the rich opportunity in Chicago: “Young men, hurry there! Old men, send your sons! Women, send your husbands! You will never again have such a chance to make money!"
Before long, opportunity-seekers from all over (including architect Louis Sullivan) were joining in the “Great Rebuilding,” and a new, bigger, and better Chicago was born.