The “Big Burn” of 1910 was a massive forest fire that devastated large portions of northern Idaho and western Montana. Not only did the fire create a great loss of marketable timber that was the economic basis of the region, it burned towns, took many lives, and left hundreds of families burned out of their homes and farms. Local communities that were especially affected by the fires and where dozens of families were left without a home or livelihood were Cabinet, Sagle, and Priest River.
Thomas Krainz, PhD - Associate Professor of History, DePaul University
On Thursday, December 8, Thomas Krainz will speak about how communities in this region cared for refugees from the fires. While Krainz will focus especially on how Missoula and Spokane responded to the crisis, he is also researching the scope of the refugee situation in Bonner County and the way in which local communities helped those displaced by the fires.
Krainz is an associate professor of history at DePaul University in Chicago and the author of Delivering Aid: Implementing Progressive Era Welfare in the American West. He is currently conducting research for a book on how local communities, including state and federal agencies, responded to refugees in the American West in the early twentieth century. The massive 1910 forest fire known as the “Big Burn” is one of the case studies he is using to understand how receiving communities cared for refugees.
On December 8, Krainz will speak at 1:00 pm at the Sandpoint Community Hall. That evening, he will speak at 6:00 pm at the Sagle Senior Center at 650 Monarch Road in Sagle. Both presentations are free and open to the public.
The presentations are sponsored by the Bonner County Historical Society & Museum. Co-sponsors of the event are the Idaho Humanities Council, DePaul University, City of Sandpoint, Sagle Senior Center, and the Co-Op Country Store.
For additional information, call the Museum at 263-2344.