Serial Killer Stalks Victims During 1893 Chicago World's Fair January 08 2014

Burnham and Root, the great Chicago architects, brought together architects from all over the US to design the buildings of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, also known as the Columbian Exposition.  Little did they know that on the perimeter of their enterprise, Dr. Henry  Howard Holmes, the first documented American serial killer, built a hotel to lure in young women so he could torture and brutally murder them.

Some of the architects who designed buildings for the Exposition were Peabody and Stearns, McKim, Mead and White, A. Page Brown and Adler and Sullivan.  You will find many plans and photos by these architects on this website.

Dr. Holmes opened his hotel, called the "Castle" in 1893.  The ground floor of the Castle contained Holmes's own  drugstore and various shops, while the upper two floors contained his personal office and a maze of over 100 windowless rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly-angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, doors openable only from the outside, and a host of other strange and labyrinthine constructions. Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle, so only he fully understood the design of the house.

One can only imagine the dapper and successful Dr. Holmes strolling through the Fair, carefully selecting his victims and coercing them into his chamber of horrors.  While he confessed to 27 murders, of which nine were confirmed, his actual count could be as high as 200.  He took an unknown number of his victims from the 1893 Chicago World's Fair to his "World's Fair" hotel.