Peshtigo, Marinette County, Wisconsin
The artwork on this post is located at the Peshtigo Fire Museum at 400 Oconto Avenue, Peshtigo, Wisconsin 54157.
In 1967, Luanne Harff-Burchinal, an area artist and illustrator, painted the huge mural that hangs prominently on the wall of the Peshtigo Fire Museum.
Artist Mel Kishner
Artist Mel Kishner's conception of the events of October 8, 1871. Mel Kishner was born in Milwaukee in 1915; he died in Tuscon, Arizona in 1991. He is best known for his watercolors, especially of Wisconsin landscapes.Museum of Wisconsin Art: Mel Kishner (1915-1991)
Horrors of the Peshtigo Fire - shown as sketched by an artist of Harper's Weekly magazine. This old woodcut shows the fugitives from flame in their flight to the Peshtigo River.
Marshall Philyaw's drawing of the Peshtigo Fire -- based in part on the picture entitled "The Burning of Peshtigo" that originally appeared in the November 25, 1871, issue of Harper's Weekly. In his eyewitness account of the disaster published in 1874, Peter Pernin wrote of "large wooden houses torn from their foundations and caught up like straws by two opposing currents of air which raised them till they came in contact with the stream of fire." Philyaw depicts the drama and imagery of these words in his drawing on the Congregational church being destroyed by fire and wind.
Terrorized population - Artist Mel Kishner's conception of the terrorized population fleeing down Oconto Avenue toward the protection of the river.
An Old Woodcut This sketch done by an artist originally appeared in Harper's Weekly (November 25, 1871) magazine. This old woodcut shows people fleeting from the fire to the somewhat safer river.
Seeking Refuge - In the areas of hardwood forest to the west and south of Peshtigo, known as the Sugar Bushes, more than 200 people perished. This illustration shows how some families attempted to escape the flames by taking refuge under wet blankets in open fields, away from the burning timberland. For farmers with larger, plowed fields this strategy was sometimes successful. Others were not so lucky. Many who were not burned by the flames suffocated instead -- the huge, intense fire consumed all available oxygen.
The artwork is inside the Peshtigo Fire Museum (above and below).
Follow the signs to the Peshtigo Fire Museum in Peshtigo, Wisconsin.