The Devil in the White City

  • Study Guide

Epilogue: The Last Crossing

Summary Epilogue: The Last Crossing

George Ferris left the wheel up another year, then dismantled and reassembled it on Chicago’s North Side. The cost of this reassembling and the depression eventually led Ferris to sell most of his ownership of the wheel. Ferris and his wife separated in 1896, and by the end of that November, Ferris died of typhoid fever. His wife refused his ashes. The Chicago Wrecking Company bought the wheel at an auction in 1903 and reassembled it at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904, again reaping a large profit. In 1906, they blew it up for scrap metal.

Sol Bloom of the Midway emerged a rich man. His next investment—perishable foods shipped in refrigerated freight cars—ended in ruin when the Pullman train strike caused the food to perish. His attitude remained positive. Eventually, Bloom became a congressman and helped craft the charter that founded the United Nations.

Buffalo Bill made millions. He founded Cody, Wyoming, built a fairground and cemetery for a town in Nebraska, paid church debts, and sponsored actress Katherine Clemmons. The Panic of 1907 ruined him, and he died completely broke in 1917.

Dora Root regretted her lost life with John, but kept her head up. She wrote to Burnham that she much appreciated his encouragement.

Prendergast went on trial in December 1893 under prosecutor Alfred S. Trude, to whom he had written postcards. His lawyers tried to argue insanity, but the jury believed otherwise because he had intentionally kept a chamber empty in the gun to prevent a misfire. Despite a sanity inquest achieved by Clarence Darrow, Prendergast was ultimately executed.

Summary: Holmes

In 1895, Holmes went on trial in Philadelphia for Pitezel’s murder. When Carrie testified and saw the letters from Alice and Nellie for the first time, the courtroom was heartbroken. His sentence was hanging. He wrote a confession awaiting execution. He described killing Alice and Nellie, and admitted that he planned to kill Benjamin from the beginning.