This temporary police badge was issued to special police officer F. A. Winchell on October 10, 1871 at the First Congregational Church in Chicago. It was used the week following the great Chicago Fire. He donated it to the Chicago Historical Society in 1908.
The Great Chicago Fire burned from October 8, 1871 to October 9, destroying a large section of the city. After the fire died, Chicago Mayor Roswell B. Mason (1805-1892) quickly converted the First Congregational Church into an official relief headquarters, passed an ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcohol and established a temporary Relief Committee. Additional measures included swearing in ordinary citizens for special police service. One such citizen, F. A. Winchell, wore this badge the week following the Great Fire after being sworn in as a temporary police officer on October 10, 1871.