Devil in the White City Essay

Words: 2675
Pages: 11

Devil in the White City written by Erik Larson is a true story based on the building of the most important fair in the United States of America, the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair in Chicago. Erik Larson also told the story of the psychopathic murderer; H.H. Holmes used his World’s Fair Hotel as an evil castle to lure in young women who came to see the fair. The story starts off with Larson describing that Chicago won the Congressional vote to host the World’s Fair and beat out its competition New York City. In only two short years, the White City was built. The fair brought in an estimated 40 million visitors in the only six months it was open. Daniel Burnham was the chief architect of the World’s Fair. Burnham had the staggering …show more content…
John Root’s death was a huge surprise to the entire world. “Outsiders wondered if Root’s death might mean the death of the exposition. The newspapers were full of interviews in which the city’s leading men described Root as the guiding force behind the fair, that without him the city could not hope to realize its dreams,” (Larson 2003, 108). There were many union strikes against the immigrant workers, long workdays, and wages. “Two nights later the city’s union met with officers of the fair to demand that they limit the workday to eight hours, pay union-scale wages, and hire union workers before all others” (Larson 2003, 119). Weather was a natural obstacle that was constant throughout the building of the World’s Fair. Because of the excessive amount of rain, the soil the World’s Fair was built on became very unstable and felt like gumbo. Based on the short amount of time given to build the fair, the workers would not have enough time to build the structures out of stone, steel or bricks. Instead, “They [Burnham and the architects] voted to clad their buildings in ‘staff’ a resilient mixture of plaster and jute that could be molded into columns and statuary and spread over wood frames to provide the illusion of stone” (Larson 2003, 120).
H. H. Holmes was diagnosed as a psychopath. Many people did not fully understand exactly what a psychopath was. He killed for his own pleasure. Holmes had stated, “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help