One of the worst wildfires, shipwrecks and snow top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on October 8.
1869 - The wood schooner, 2-mast D O Dickinson, while carrying lumber in a gale, was bound Oconto for Chicago, when she drove on Strawberry Shoal, near Chambers Island in the bay of Green Bay and was wrecked over the following ten days. Her skipper watched from a distant hill as she finally went to pieces in a gale.
1871 - The worst wildfires in the history of the Great Lakes region occur as strong south winds combine with tinder dry conditions. The fires leveled several areas of Michigan and Wisconsin, including the cities of Peshtigo, WI, Holland, Manistee, and Port Huron. At least 1200 people died, about half of them in the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire. That same night, the Great Chicago Fire erupted, destroying much of the city. The Peshtigo, WI fire started in the evening and swept northeast into the U.P. Amazingly, this fire avoided most of Marinette and Menominee and hit Birch Creek which was north of Menominee. It killed about a quarter of the town's residents. This fire created its own circulation and blew shingles out into the bay of Green Bay which caused some ships to catch fire. Burning lumber was transported over the Menominee River where fires sprang up on the Michigan side of the river. An estimated 25 people died in Birch Creek from the rapidly moving fire. 250 people died in the Chicago fire. The Peshtigo fire was the deadliest forest fire to ever occur in North America. Read more at the following links:
Library of Congress – The Burning of Holland
The Great Michigan fire of 1871
The Chicago Fire
Retrospect: October 8, 1871: The Great Chicago Fire
1887 - The wood tug Charles E. Pendell, while gathering logs, was caught in a deadly nor'wester and driven ashore 2 miles west of Whitefish Point in Lake Superior. She was broken in two and almost completely pounded to pieces by October 20th.
1892 - The wood side-wheel tug City of Sturgeon Bay was blown off her anchorage in the northern bay of Green Bay during a gale and wrecked ashore. She may have been in use as a lightship at Escanaba at the time.
1905 - The wood schooner-barge Noquebay, while carrying lumber, was in tow of steamer Lizzie Madden, she was bound for Bay City. She caught fire near her donkey boiler on the deck forward in a gale, then beached at Presque Isle Bay at Stockton Island in the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior and was destroyed by a combination of the gale and fire.
1906 - The wood barge, bulk freight Pasadena, while carrying coal, was bound for Superior, WI, and she was in tow of the steamer Gladstone when she went out of control in a gale. Her skipper had her towline cut, but she was thrown against a pier and wrecked, pounding to pieces in a few hours near Upper Entry to Keweenaw Waterway in Lake Superior. Eight crew made it to shore on wreckage and 2 perished.
2000 - An unusual early October cold blast brought one of the earliest snowfalls on record to southeast Michigan. Wet snowflakes fell in Flint on both the 7th and 8th, while snow was observed at Detroit Metro Airport on the 8th only. For Detroit, this was the third earliest snowfall on record. While the snow only fell in trace amounts in the major metropolitan areas, more substantial snow was observed in the Thumb area. One to two inches of slushy snow contributed to auto accidents in Huron County.
2001 - Flint hit a record low of 25° and Alpena dipped to a record setting 21°.
2007 - The fourth day of early October heat brought record highs to Southeast Michigan. Detroit reached and Saginaw reached 90°, and Flint was 88°, all of which were records. It was the latest recorded 90° day in the history of both Detroit and Saginaw as well. Other daily records include Grand Rapids with 88°, Muskegon with 82°, Lansing with 86°, Alpena with 90°, Houghton Lake with 84°, and Marquette with 83°.