This sign was made by real estate agent William Kerfoot on October 10, 1871. It was posted on the first building erected in the burnt district after the Chicago Fire of 1871, known as "Kerfoot's Block" which was located at 89 Washington Street near LaSalle Street.
The sign's message: Wm. D. KERFOOT is at 59 Union Park Place All gone but WIFE CHILDREN AND ENERGY. It advertised Kerfoot's new location and demonstrated his determination and humor following destruction of the fire.
This sign illustrated Chicagoans' spirit and determination to rebuild following the destruction of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 which destroyed three and a half square miles of the city and killed at least 300 people. Within a year, Chicagoans rebuilt and grew beyond the destroyed area. Immediately after the fire, William Kerfoot's building, known as Kerfoots Block, housed another real estate agent, two lawyers, a surveyor and a plumber, and served as a meeting place for the neighborhood. Kerfoot played an important role in rebuilding and went on to become one of Chicago's most successful businessmen in the years after the fire.