The Pantagraph: Documents that survived the Great Chicago Fire are held in state archives. But it will take special technology to decipher them.

The Pantagraph: Documents that survived the Great Chicago Fire are held in state archives. But it will take special technology to decipher them.. “What could be among the oldest surviving Chicago city records sit inside a special climate-controlled vault at the Illinois State Archives, largely indecipherable. These are volumes that survived the Great Chicago Fire 150 years ago. Some appear to contain early property assessments or official confirmations. One is in a box labeled ‘General Ordinances A, March 4, 1837 to July 8, 1851,’ potentially dating back to Chicago’s incorporation as a city. But they are blackened and damaged from the fire, and what exactly they contain remains unknown. It could take infrared technology to read their contents and determine their legal, genealogical and historic implications.”

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