World Fair History

Table of Content

Winter Assignment Part I Thesis: The initial intent of the World Fair was to simply celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus’s discovery of the New World by hosting a world’s fair. America’s pride in its growing power and international stature had fanned patriotism to a new intensity. The nation needed an opportunity to top the French, in particular to “out-Eiffel Eiffel. ” Summary: As the story begins, it gives a moral climate of Chicago in the late 1800s. Deaths were highly frequent during that time. Many people were killed or injured in situations such as train accidents, fires, diseases, and murders (pg. 2). The World’s Fair was a big concern for several Chicago citizens. They were worried about the location of the fair after the bids were completed. It turned out that Chicago had won the fair (pgs. 31-32). John Root, an architect, and Daniel Burnham, his partner, were major key players during this time. In August 1886, H. H. Holmes took a train to Englewood, Illinois. He finds a job in E. S. Holton Drugs store and he was hired because the owner, Mrs. Holton, was in need as a result of her husband’s medical condition. As time goes by, readers discover that H. H.

Holmes, which is a serial killer, had several signs in his childhood that lead us to know that in the future he was going to become a murderer. Mrs. Holton’s husband dies and Holmes offered to buy the business from Mrs. Holton. Soon after, Mrs. Holton disappeared and never returned. Six months after Chicago won the fair, Daniel Burnham and Frederick Olmstead, a world renowned landscape architect, agreed to find a site for the fair and to help build it. Olmstead only agreed to be a part of the creation of the fair in order to advance the reputation of landscape architecture as a valid profession.

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Unfortunately, the fair went a while without a site and the success of the fair was threatened by the global economy. H. H. Holmes traveled to Minneapolis and met a woman named Myrta Belknap. He eventually traveled there again because he could not stop thinking about her. He convinced her to marry him and move to Chicago. Although Myrta was infatuated and fond of Holmes and Chicago, she became jealous of female customers. She moves to Illinois with her parents and gives birth to a baby girl which belonged to Holmes. Holmes bought the land across the street from he drugstore. He refused to hire any architects in fear of his secret plan to build a vault, a chute from upper floors to the basement, and sub compartments below the basement being revealed. In November, Jackson Park was named the official fair site. In 1893 Burnham and Root contacted five of the most accomplished architects in America. Burnham went to New York to persuade other architects to join the team and he comes home to find that tension is extremely high with the fair’s committee and Chicago architects. They felt betrayed by the decision to use outside architects.

Although many outside architects were iffy about the project and the site, they still agreed to do it. John Root was feeling sick for a while but his condition took a turn for the worse and he ended up dying. Burnham considered quitting the fair but decided to continue on. Critique: In Part I Erik Larson was successful in revealing the main characters and describing the actions in which were going to be happening. He described Chicago, the type of person each character was and gave background information about them including information from their earlier years.

The last chapter before Part II foreshadows many challenges Daniel Burnham is going to have to face in upcoming chapters which could affect the success of the World Fair. Destiny Cobb Period 3 Winter Assignment Part II Thesis: On Tuesday, February 24, 1891, Burnham, Olmsted, Hunt, and the other architects gathered in the library on the top floor of the Rookery to present drawings of the fair’s main structures to the Grounds and Buildings Committee. The source of Burnham’s greatest dismay was the failure of he architects to finish their drawings on schedule.

As construction at last got under way, anticipation outside the park began to increase. Summary: Chapter 11 starts on February 24, 1891 when all the architects meet in Chicago to present their drawings for the separate buildings they’ve built for the fair. The men are amazed at all the beautiful designs each of the architects have presented. Olmsted felt concerned that the architects were losing sight of the original vision for the fair (pg. 116). Soon after the Rookery meeting, Olmsted created a memo outlining his plans for the Jackson Park and the fair.

The first real work for the fair began on February 11, a few weeks before the actual meeting. Fifty Italian immigrants were hired and it upset union workers and caused a protest. Burnham feels the need to hire Charles Atwood as a replacement for Root. Unions threaten to oppose the fair. Crime at this time seems to increase and people think the fair will bring criminals. By the spring of 1891 work for the fair was still moving slowly. Architects weren’t presenting their drawings on time which aggravated Burnham.

It was the middle of summer in 1891 by the time the last architect’s drawings were completed. Work for the fair didn’t start until July 3, but when it did finally begin Burnham wanted to protect the fair from all possible threats. He hired a large police force, ordered installment of fire hydrants, formed an exposition fire department, and banned all smoking on grounds to prevent fires. In 1892 the progress of the Chicago World’s Fair takes a positive turn, as construction seems to be moving along. Despite several setbacks, there are many successes.

As winter time comes, once again there is concern about finishing the fair before the deadline. As stated earlier in the story, fire was the biggest concern for Burnham and because of the cold winter, it brings a larger chance for a fire. During Part II of this story, H. H. Holmes killed 3 people that the reader’s officially know about. The first two were Julia and Pearl Conner, the ex-wife and daughter of Ned Conner. When Julia tells Holmes that she is pregnant and wants him to marry her, he agrees if she would let him abort the baby himself on Christmas.

Foolish, she does and Holmes ends up killing her and Pearl and has Julia’s body stripped of flesh and sells the skeleton to a school in Chicago. He repeats this process with a woman named Emeline Cigrand. The parents of both women have hired investigators in hopes of finding their daughters. Holmes soon becomes concerned about being discovered and considers leaving Chicago. He gets married yet again to a previous mate. As the workers prepare for Opening Day on May, 1 1893, Burnham and Olmsted run into many more obstacles.

They argue with each other about final preparations for Opening Day while Olmsted is fighting depression. Critique: Part II of this story clearly depicts all the hard work that was done, blood and tears that were shed, and mixed emotions that were felt in an attempt to finish the Chicago World’s Fair by Opening Day. Erik Larson was successful in setting the mood and tone for each individual chapter. He foreshadowed many events which created mystery, suspense, and tension. Destiny Cobb Period 3 Winter Assignment Part III

Thesis: At the center of the Midway, the procession veered around the woefully incomplete Ferris wheel. Chicago’s fair would become the most heavily attended entertainment in the history of the world. The fair was so perfect, its grace and beauty Summary: Chicago’s World Fair was finally opened on May 1, 1893. Although the fair had unfinished landscaping, the Ferris Wheel was not yet completed, and the grounds were covered with litter and debris, an estimate of 500,000 and 620,000 people had showed up. The evening before Opening Day, a reporter visited the fair and wrote of “gross incompleteness. (pg. 230) On May 2, attendance rates dropped stupendously, with only 10,000 people present. If a rate like that continued, it “would guarantee the fair a place in history as one of the greatest failures of all time. ” (pg. 239) Burnham became very determined to finally get the fair fully completed. He gave Millett the ability to do what he had to in order to attract more visitors. While attempting to boost fair attendance, the world suffered economically. Several banks were closed; the number of people working decreased, and strikes grew more violent.

By the end of May, regardless to Millet’s effort to get the word out about the fair, only a daily average of about 13,000 people came to the fair and on top of that, it was ordered to be closed on Sundays. The completion of the Ferris wheel was a concern for many people. It took its first complete rotation on July 8 in which took about 20 minutes. During all of this, Holmes’s World’s Fair Hotel was ready to be occupied by residents, though he only provided places for young females to stay in an effort to murder them. The Ferris wheel was finally opened on June 21, 1893 to the general public.

There are many fears and rumors about the safety of the wheel itself. Although the fair attendance on July 4th was at the highest it’s been in a while, with about 250,000 to 300,000 people, attendance once again falls short. The financial success of the World Fair is a major concern for everyone. Towards the end of July, being that the fair is set to close in October, Millet planned a ball. After the ball, the fair attendance reaches a daily average of over 100,000 people. In another effort to get more visitors, Millet designates October 9 as Chicago Day.

Businesses are to be shut down to celebrate this day. The fair reached the highest amount of visitors at about 750,000 people on Chicago Day. The closing of the fair is right around the corner so planning has begun. A closing ceremony was to be held but instead the fair’s last days serve as a memorial service for Mayor Harrison, who was assassinated by Patrick Prendergast simply because he “didn’t live up to his word. ” President Cleveland sent troops to Chicago in 1894; approximately a year after the fair’s closing, and much of the remains of the fair is set on fire.

Towards the end of the last chapter of Part III, more people are losing jobs while unions continue to strike. In a sense, The World’s Fair changed Chicago and those involved with the creation of the fair. Critique: Part III of this story proved to be the climax of the book, with the final completion of the World’s Fair, Ferris wheel, and the destruction of the fair. Throughout the story thus far, Erik Larson made several references to fire including Holmes’s kiln, Daniel Burnham’s greatest worry for the fair, the fire in the Cold Storage Building, and the fire on the top floor of the World’s Fair Hotel.

I’ve come to the conclusion that fire in this book may symbolize destruction and plays as an evil character. Destiny Cobb Period 3 Winter Assignment Part IV Thesis: Detective Frank Geyer’s current assignment was to find the children. Three of Benjamin Pitezel’s five children, Alice, Nellie, and Howard, were missing. Holmes was a prodigy of wickedness, a human demon, a being so unthinkable that no novelist would dare to invent such a character. Summary: As Part IV of The Devil in the White City begins, a new character is introduced.

Detective Frank Geyer was one of Philadelphia’s top detectives and had been a member of the force for twenty years. It’s June 1895 and H. H. Holmes, or Mudgett, was incarcerated in Philadelphia’s Moyamensing Prison for insurance fraud. Detective Geyer’s mission was to find Benjamin Pitezel’s three missing children, who were last seen with Holmes. While interviewing Holmes in his cell, Geyer collected information about Holmes’s last interactions with the Pitezel children. He claimed they were with Minnie Williams traveling to see their father who was in hiding.

A box belonging to Holmes titled “Property of H. H. Holmes” was confiscated. In it were several letters from the children which were given to Holmes to send to Carrie Pitezel. Geyer used those letters initially to retrace Holmes and the children’s route. He collects new information as he travels from Cincinnati to Indianapolis, Chicago, and Detroit. It was apparent to the reader that Holmes was moving three sets of people separately, each unaware of one another. As the search continued, Holmes was finding a way to make prison life comfortable.

He manipulated his keepers to get to wear his own clothes and have food, newspapers, and magazines delivered to him from the outside. He read of Detective Geyers search for the children and was pleased with the little information that was discovered. He also felt “smug satisfaction that so far no one had been able to produce any concrete evidence that he had killed Ben Pitezel or the missing children. ” (pg. 351) He begins a memoir of his life, a diary, and writes a long letter to Carrie Pitezel. The story goes back to Detective Geyer and he ends up traveling to Toronto on July 7, 1895.

He discovers the nude bodies of Alice and Nellie Pitezel in a coffin buried in a cellar of a rental home. It seemed as if Holmes murdered these two children by locking them in the large trunk he brought to the home and then filled it with gas. Geyer felt that finding these girls was “one of the most satisfying events of my life. ”(pg. 358) There was still one mystery to be solved. Where was Howard Pitezel? Back in Philadelphia the news about the discovery of the children had reached Holmes. He then urged the publication of his memoir to reinforce his innocence.

He made up lies about Minnie Williams and an associate named “Hatch” having something to do with the murders. Holmes also told Assistant District Attorney Thomas W. Barlow that “Miss Williams and Hatch apparently had killed Howard as well. ” (pg. 361) On August 27, 1895, Geyer and Gary traveled to a small town outside of Indianapolis where they discovered the last of the three missing children. Howard Pitezel’s remains were found stuffed in a chimney flue. On September 12, 1895, a Philadelphia grand jury voted to indict Holmes for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel.

Holmes also had indictments in Indianapolis and Toronto. If he was convicted in Philadelphia, he would have to face a death sentence. Critique: In this last part of the book, Erik Larson provides the readers with closure to H. H. Holmes and his wrong doing. He’s finally taken into custody and his cruelty is literally revealed. Destiny Cobb Period 3 Winter Assignment Prologue and Epilogue Thesis: The fair had a powerful and lasting impact on the nation’s psyche, in ways both large and small. H. H. Holmes was called “the most dangerous man in the world” by George Graham.

Summary: As the book begins, it’s April 14, 1912. Daniel Burnham is sixty-five years old and had booked passage for the R. M. S Olympic. At the time, the Olympic was the “largest vessel in regular service. ” The ship’s “sister ship” was carrying a close friend and key player to the creation of the 1893 Chicago World Fair, Francis Millett. Francis Millett was a famous painter who Daniel Burnham hired during while the World Fair was under construction. Burnham is fully aware of his friend traveling aboard the ship so he decides to wire a message to Millett.

Daniel is informed that there has been an accident on Millett’s ship. Meanwhile, Burnham is having flashbacks to the Chicago World Fair and all the hard work and hardships it took to finally get it completed. The fair had a “powerful and lasting impact on the nation’s psyche…” It’s greatest impact was changing the way Americans perceived their cities and their architects. The fair taught Americans that cities weren’t always dark and unsafe. They could be beautiful as well. Things didn’t always go good for the creators of the fair after it was long gone.

One of the Chicago architects, Louis Sullivan, become an alcoholic and took many drugs called bromides. For others, like Daniel Burnham, he became the greatest Architect in America. Although dead before building of the World’s Fair actually took place, John Root deserved most of the credit for the beauty of the fair. He played a major role in creating what he wanted it to look like. Burnham’s health took a turn for the worst in the early twentieth century when we developed colitis and diabetes. Olmsted died if dementia on August 28, 1903 at two in the morning.

Ferris and his wife separated in 1896. Ferris died at the age of thirty-seven on November 22, 1896 of typhoid fever. Sol Bloom invested in a company that bought perishable foods and shipped them in the latest refrigerated cars. He lost everything when the perishable foods rotted in their train cars. He then took an interest in politics and becomes a congressman. Buffalo Bill died in Denver on January 10, 1917. Patrick Prendergast stood trial in December 1893 and his lawyers tried to prove he was insane. On December 29 he was found guilty and sentenced to death in prison. H. H.

Holmes went to trial in Philadelphia and was sentenced to death by hanging. He left specific instructions for the remaining of his body after he was killed because he was afraid someone would steal it. Holmes arranged to be buried in cement. He was hanged by Richardson at 10:13 on May 7, 1896. After his death strange things began to occur. Detective Geyer became very ill, the warden of Moyamensing prison committed suicide, the jury foreman was electrocuted in an accident, and a fire destroyed the office of District attorney George Graham, leaving only a photograph of Holmes undamaged.

In the epilogue, readers find out that Millett was aboard a ship called the Titanic and that day Burnham wanted to wire him a message, it sank. Burnham died on June 1, 1912 and his wife on December 23, 1945. Critique: The main characters of the story, not including H. H. Holmes, are introduced in the prologue. The flashback Daniel Burnham had to the 1893 Chicago World Fair one of the main settings of the story. The epilogue brings closure to the whole book. The author, Erik Larson, provides information about the key players long after the Chicago World’s fair ended.

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