Friday, November 16, 2007

I am almost finished reading this truly amazing book, "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. It's about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair or "World's Columbian Exposition of 1893". It tells two stories. One revolves around Daniel Burnham, the cheif architect of the fair and the other, H.H. Holmes a serial killer living in the outskirts of the city. The murder aspect of the book is of course interesting but what I found most facinating were the details about the fair itself. I had no idea that most of this took place. So many inventions were debuted at the fair, the Ferris wheel (designed by George Ferris for the fair to one up the Eiffel Tower in Paris) was a major one, but also commonplace items were showcased, like shredded wheat and Cracker Jack. I am bewildered by all the work that went into builing this fair that only lasted for a five month period. 27.5 million visits were recorded when the country's total population was 65 million. Most of the buildings were destroyed afterwards, but I think that some of them are still standing. I highly reccommend reading this book and/or doing some research on the fair yourself. It's very intriguing...

World Fair, Chicago 1893: View from the Observation Platform of the Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building. From left to right, Agriculture Building, Palace of Mechanic Arts, Columbia Fountain. Photograph from the Collection of the Avery Library, Columbia University

World Fair, Chicago 1893: A view toward the southern colonnade across the Grand Plaza. At left, the Agriculture Building; at right, the Palace of Mechanic Arts. Photograph from the Collection of the Avery Library, Columbia University

Caption Reads: FERRIS WHEEL 254 feet high. Carries 36 cars, capacity 60 passengers each. 20 minutes required for round trip. Cost $300,000.

1 comment:

Maxine said...

I loved this book too. It is hard to believe it is non-fiction!