150th Anniversary of Great Fire commemorated in October

Next month, you will have the opportunity to partake in the remembrance of the Great Fire of 1871 that impacted much of the Belgian community in the area.  The Belgian Heritage Center will host three days of programming on October 8, 9, and 10.  It is the 150th anniversary of the large forest fire that started on October 8, 1871, in Peshtigo and spread across Green Bay into much of the southern half of the Door Peninsula.  Belgian Heritage Center volunteer Ann Jinkins says the featured programs are an excellent way to learn about the history of the devastating fire.



The Belgian Heritage Center’s schedule of events also includes a remembrance vigil on Friday, October 8, with a reenactment of the experiences of a fire survivor, Emmerence Englebert, who will be portrayed by her great-granddaughter Barb (Englebert) Chisholm on Saturday and Sunday.  The premier of the Great Fire video will be shown both days on request until 3 pm.  You can find the complete schedule of events below.


Friday, October 8 (the anniversary of the fire)

6:00 pm to 6:30 pm 

Remembrance Vigil including:

Prayer of Remembrance with Father Edward Looney

Reading by Door County’s Poet Laureate, Mike Orlock

Candle lighting accompanied by prayers in the Walloon language

Tolling of the church bells in the BHC


Saturday, October 9

9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Brussels-Union-Gardner (BUG) Fire Department fire trucks on site

10:00 am

Reenactment of the experiences of a fire survivor

11:00 am

Premier of the Great Fire video; also shown until 3:00 pm on request


Presentation by David Siegel, Captain, Green Bay Metro Fire Department 

Author Virginia Feld Johnson


Sunday, October 10

10:00 am

Reenactment of the experiences of a fire survivor


Showing of the Great Fire video; also shown on request until 3:00 pm


The Belgian Heritage Center is located at 1255 County Road DK, Brussels (on the curve in Namur near the historical markers).  For more information on the Belgian Heritage Center, you may visit



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