January 4, 2009
Murderer Seen from Ferris Wheel

The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago has gained some popularity recently because of the great non-fiction narrative Devil in the White City. With that in mind...

World's Columbian Exposition: Ferris Wheel, Chicago, United States, 1893.

I was going through the Brooklyn Museum's glass slides from the fair, seeing which I could provide a worthwhile comment.

This one is looking west from George Ferris' wheel, towards Washington Park. Initially I took a map of the fairgrounds and cataloged the visible buildings in the photo.

Then I broke out my copy of Devil and found the address for serial killer Herman Mudgett's horrorible World's Fair hotel, 63rd & Wallace. Pinned on a map, it seems out of sight range in this photo. But it appears to be not too far back from that smoke stack towards the left.

As far as the buildings and exhibits, the map from the Encyclopedia of Chicago History made it fairly easy. But there are obvious inconsistencies, and I suspect that the fairgrounds changed over time. Perhaps the date of the photo could be narrowed down this way?

On the left in the foreground is a fire station and then the Austrian Village. After that is the West African Dahomey Village, the International Dress and Costume Company, the Scandinavian Lapland Village, and the Hungarian Concert Garden.

On the right is the entrance to the panoramic building for the Volcano Kilauea, the Moroccan exhibits, the Chinese village and theater, the tether zone for the captive balloon, an Ostrich farm and the Brazilian concert hall, an American Indian village and an East Indian village.

At the end of the midway are parade grounds for the military. Beyond the entrances to the midway is Washington Park.

(This is an amalgamation of comments to the photo on Flickr, and a post in The Commons discussion group)

Written by Rob Ketcherside at January 4, 2009 10:25 PM
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