This cache has been placed in memory of those of the Williamsonville who lost their lives during the fire of Oct 8th 1871. It is hoped that those families that visit this cache will take the time with their children to teach and practice fire safety at all times. As Smoky the Bear would say, "Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires."
Tornado Memorial Park, in Door County Wiscoinsin, commemorates a little-known incident in one of the most horrifying disasters in American history. At this location was the village of Williamsonville, a population of 77 persons on October 8, 1871. The village was blotted out by a tornado of fire. 60 persons sought refuge in an open field surrounding this spot and were burned to death. During the fire a well at this site was used by seven persons as a place of refuge. The last man to the well found the wood curb on fire. After tearing off the curb he entered the well and pulled a wet blanket over the opening. Five of the seven survived.
Actually, the term "tornado" is a misnomer. On October 8, 1871, the Midwest was hit by a series of devastating fires. Most people know of the famous Chicago Fire, but are unaware of the Peshtigo Fire which killed over 1,100 people on the same day. Although the fire is named for the town of Peshtigo, where 600 people died, it burned on both sides of Green Bay. On the east side it destroyed almost everything between Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay. The greatest loss of life occurred here at Williamsonville. The fire was intense enough and the amount of fuel great enough that it created a firestorm in some places. In a firestorm the fire creates its own atmospheric circulation, sucking air in, generating high winds and creating a vortex of fire. A deadly firestorm followed the great 1923 Tokyo earthquake, and the firestorms of World War II in Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo are infamous, but in 1871 little was known about the phenomenon, especially on the Wisconsin frontier. Survivors tell of people and buildings bursting into flame without being touched by the fire (probably either from radiant heat or by blasts of superheated gases). Many witnesses reported fireballs, which might have been vortices of flame or burning branches carried by the high winds. It was long believed (and still is by many people) that the fire jumped completely across Green Bay, but in reality the fire seems to have started in many places simultaneously when the wind fanned innumerable small brush fires that had been burning for days or even weeks.
As a boy heading up to Door County every week during the summer with my parents we knew we were close when we came to this spot since the park was just off old Highway 57 and where we would turn to head to the cabin. But we never stopped. My dad told us stories that were believable but never made sense to me. Being older and still coming to Door County on a regular bases my family stopped one day and did some research on the memorial. With this we decided to put a Geocache here so to bring others to the park to learn of the history of Door County and the settlers who called this home.
To learn of the fires that burned in late 1800 check out the follow link and if time permits maybe a tour of the Pestigo area would would be of interest.
This is MIRCO, please bring a writting instrument and place the cache back as you found it.
Enjoy the CACHE.