The Fires of Autumn 1918
Posted by: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
N 46° 57.589 W 092° 27.644
15T E 541028 N 5200839
Quick Description: Historical marker commemorating the great fire in the fall of 1918 in northern Minnesota.
Location: Minnesota, United States
Date Posted: 12/3/2007 12:44:04 PM
Waymark Code: WM2PVH
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member KC0GRN
Views: 94

Long Description:

The Fires of Autumn 1918

The Cloquet - Moose Lake forest fire of October 12-13, 1918, which almost reached this location, was one of the most destructive forest fires in Minnesota's recorded history.  Like other major fires, this one took place on cutover land - the stumps and waste that remained after the great pine forests of northeastern Minnesota were harvested for lumber.

Consisting of fire or six major fires and several smaller ones, the Cloquet - Moose Lake fire started during a severe drought in the fall of 1918.  It burned 390 square miles.  Official reports listed 453 people killed.  Years later in 1929, the State erected a monument in the Riverside Cemetery, in Moose Lake, commemorating the residents who lost their lives.  Lark portions of Cloquet, then known as "the white pine capitol of the world," burned completely.  Approximately 8,000 inhabitants evacuated ahead of the oncoming flames.  The fire reached the east side of Duluth and burned homes in several neighborhoods before it stopped.

Massive public and private relief efforts helped survivors get back on their feet, but efforts in the courts to secure compensation for the damages were unsuccessful.  In 1935, after a long struggle, federal legislation was approved to pay parts of the victims' claims.

The events of 1918 were etched into the memories of people who lived through them, and the fire was always a reference point when talking about the past.  Things were described as being ether "before the fire" or "after the fire."

To lear more, including stories of those who lived through the tragedy,  read "The Fires of Autumn: the Cloquet-Moose Lake Disaster of 1918" by Francis M. Carroll and Franklin R. Raiter, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press in 1990. ~ text of the marker

Marker Type:: Roadside

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wildernessmama visited The Fires of Autumn 1918 8/5/2011 wildernessmama visited it