Chicago’s warm Easter Sunday of 1977 and the Berwyn Lumber Yard Fire

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Dear Tom,
A recent column addressed an Easter ice storm in 1978. As I recall, the previous Easter was very warm and, to add to the heat, a Berwyn lumber yard was destroyed by fire.
— Diane Callahan Mastny
Dear Diane,
Your memories are correct. Easter Sunday, April 10, 1977, remains the city’s warmest Easter on record as the mercury soared to an unseasonable 85 degrees on a day with cloudless skies and strong gusty southwest winds. (The 1970s featured two other unusually warm Easters — 83 degrees in 1971 and 82 in 1976.) The day was marked by the major fire that destroyed the Berwyn Lumber Yard, causing more than a million dollars in damage to the facility. The heat from the fire was so intense that spectators more than a mile away described it as unbearable. The day’s strong winds and low humidity were undoubtedly major factors in spreading the fire.


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