Real Estate Rose from the Ashes

Guest blogger: Alicia Eisenbise, Social Media Specialist

A few months ago I was at an event at 1871, a space in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart where digital startups work in a techy, open space. The space is named after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but not because of the destruction. It’s named 1871 because of the amazing engineering, architecture and inventions that happened afterwards.

As I was wandering around, I saw a framed article about the first business to open after the Great Chicago Fire…a real estate business. It rose from the ashes a day after the fire with a hand-painted sign reading “All gone but wife, children and energy.”

The article reminded me of two things: the resilience of Chicagoans and the resilience of real estate. The Great Chicago Fire knocked down Chicago, but it was rebuilt one brick at a time and emerged a bigger, better and stronger place. In 2007 the housing crisis was upon us and the real estate industry took a big hit. Five years later, and we’re witnessing housing recover, home prices increase and lending practice tightened to help prevent a resurgence. Throughout it all, we’ve seen real estate agents use innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit to rise like a phoenix from the ashes. This month marks 142 years since Great Chicago Fire, so let’s take a moment to celebrate that resilient spirit.

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