On This Day in History October 8, 2020

1871 – The Great Chicago Fire begins in a barn. After burning two days it kills 200-300 people, destroys over 17,000 buildings, leaves 100,000 homeless and causes an estimated $200 million (roughly $4 billion in 2020 dollars) in damage.

1918 – In WWI, U.S. Corporal Alvin C. York reportedly kills over 20 German soldiers and captures an additional 132 at the head of a small detachment in the Argonne Forest near the Meuse River in France. The exploits later earned York the Medal of Honor.

1957 – Jerry Lee Lewis, an early rock-and-roller, records “Great Balls of Fire” in Memphis, Tennessee.

1970 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wins the Nobel Prize in literature. He was a leading writer and critic of Soviet internal oppression.