"Windy City" error of the day, Part II
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Mar 7 03:31:31 UTC 2003
I guess those thirty letters to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE and NEW YORK SUN weren't enough. By the way, the candy got the name "crackerjack" in 1896, not 1893.
Historical killer's allure beckons an author too
Chicago Tribune; Chicago, Ill.; Feb 27, 2003; David Sharos Special to the Tribune;
Sub Title: [West , DN Edition]
Start Page: 4
[Erik Larson] told an audience at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville last week that while researching historical murders several years ago, Larson stumbled upon H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who masqueraded as a benevolent doctor.
(Copyright 2003 by the Chicago Tribune)
Best-selling author Erik Larson didn't set out to write about mystery, murder and intrigue surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, but that's what he ended up with.
Larson told an audience at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville last week that while researching historical murders several years ago, Larson stumbled upon H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who masqueraded as a benevolent doctor.
"I discovered Holmes, who I never intended to write about. Then I started looking into information about the World's Fair and kept finding more and more that I liked," Larson said. "Once I saw that this huge event, one that had such an effect on Chicago and the world, was taking place within a few blocks of where all of these murders were being committed I knew I'd found the engine I needed to tell a story."
The result was his fourth non-fiction work, "The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America."
Holmes, along with Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for construction of the "White City," are the primary characters. Dr. Holmes devised the World's Fair Hotel near the fairgrounds, complete with gas chamber and crematorium, and used both the World's Fair and his charming personality to lure many of what are believed to be dozens to their deaths.
Larson, a former newspaper reporter, had his breakthrough with his third book, "Isaac's Storm," which told of natures' wonders.
As he researched his current work, Larson said he uncovered several interesting tidbits about everyday items that first appeared during the World's Fair, such as Crackerjacks and Shredded Wheat, although the latter was derisively referred to as "Shredded Doormat" during that era, he said.
Larson also noted that Chicago's nickname, Windy City, was coined at this time, but had nothing to do with Midwestern winds.
"There was a lot of bantering back and forth between New York and Chicago, who were both vying for the right to hold the Fair at that time," Larson said. "An editor from New York eventually accused Chicago of being the Windy City because of the all the political bombast that was going back and forth."
Larson said he is undecided about his next project.
"I really love doing the research part of these books and prefer writing non-fiction," he said. "But one of the problems as a writer is having to come up with an idea about what you're going to do next."
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