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The Devil in the White City

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Summary

Part II: An Awful Fight (Chapters 16-21)

Summary Part II: An Awful Fight (Chapters 16-21)

Summary: Chapter 16: The Angel from Dwight

Holmes sends his assistant, Benjamin Pitezel, to participate in an alcoholism program in Dwight, Illinois. Pitezel receives Dr. Leslie Keeley’s “gold cure” liquid and reports the recipe to Holmes. Holmes copies the recipe and establishes his own spa, the Silver Ash Institute. Pitezel also tells Holmes about a beautiful woman he met in Dwight named Emeline Cigrand.

Holmes hires Emeline as his secretary and begins courting her. One day, Ned visits and warns Emeline to stay away from Holmes, but she ignores him. Emeline’s cousins, Dr. and Mrs. Cigrand, visit. Something about Holmes’ hotel does not seem right to Dr. Cigrand. He finds the poorly designed construction “gloomy and imposing,” but he doesn’t want to interfere with Emeline’s love for Holmes. 

Summary: Chapter 17: Dedication Day

Dedication Day changes from October 12th to October 21st, 1892, and Opening Day is set for May 1, 1893. Olmsted is frustrated by the construction’s slow progress, which often tramples his own work. He continues to fight for electric boats. He believes the Wooded Island, located in the lake, should be kept clear of any structures. However, Burnham persuades Olmsted to let the Japanese build an outdoor temple exhibit.

By the end of March, Olmsted, nearing physical and emotional collapse, lapses into a depression. He leaves Harry Codman in charge and convalesces in Europe with his family. He visits the site of the Paris Exposition to reflect on his own designs, and comes away convinced that Chicago’s landscape should be simple and reserved without many flowerbeds. However, he wonders whether Chicago’s Fair is too grand and ornamented. Despite receiving care in a doctor’s home in London and having nothing physically wrong, Olmsted does not improve. His daily carriage rides through the charming English countryside inspire him to include “vines and creepers” in his landscapes.

Sol Bloom learns that the Algerians, whose village he wanted for the Fair, accidentally set sail for America one year too soon. Workers house the Algerians in temporary buildings at the Midway.

Burnham turns down an “outlandish” Eiffel-challenger idea from a Pittsburgh engineer after he calls for designs.