The Chicago World’s Fair, “The White City,”
Built to Become A Magnet For People
“Devil in the White City,” written by Erik Larson, is a true story of how the fabulous Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 was designed and built to become a magnet for people, the story of the architect’s fight to build it, and spine-tingling stories of subsequent murders and deceit. This book then, “Devil in the White City,” is three stories in one; a big city, proud, outdoing itself to attract the world, an architect who fought to keep his vision alive in the face of opposition, and a monster who used the magic attraction as bait for his evil deeds.
The city was hosting the World’s Fair (officially named World’s Columbian Expedition) and the buildings and displays within it were painted white. It was also the first group of buildings totally lit by electric light, thus earning the name of “The White City.” It could be seen from far away and enticed people from all over the world to come to Chicago to see its fascinating and numerous wondrous exhibitions.
The man responsible for this stunning vision was Daniel Hudson Burnham, an architect famous for his building designs all over America. But he had to fight those jealous of his success, who wanted their vision of the World’s Fair to prevail. They were quick to put the blame for anything that went wrong, no matter how small, on Burnham’s shoulders. However, he continued the battle and finally won out. His White City was a rousing success with the sponsors and other nations who erected displays as well as the hoards of people attending from all over the world.
Worldwide Visitors Streamed Into Chicago
But there was a drawback to the vast and diverse crowds of people. One man took advantage of that fact and used it as his hunting ground. His name was Herman Mudgett (aka Dr.H.H. Holmes) and he would go into crime history books as one of the earliest, most intelligent, cold-blooded, proficient serial killers who ever lived. You see, there was a “science” to the way he did it, which author Erik Larson researched and reveals to the reader. Although there were many ways he used to attract people into his clutches, I will reveal only two of them here, which I believe were the most diabolical of all.
Maze of a Genius Murderous Mind
He designed and paid numerous construction companies to erect a building for his “pharmacy.” The building was not too far away from The White City, and was honeycombed with numerous rooms on different sides of the building. They also had puzzling and strange inlets and outlets which were designed for a specific purpose. Many construction crews worked on the building, but none of them ever had a full blueprint, or ever finished any more than just their section. Then another crew would build another section with a connecting door, but they were watched and never allowed to go into the other section they had not worked on. By the time it was finished, it was a maze of a genius, murderous mind.