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The Devil (and you) in the White City

By Andrew Peerless in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 28, 2005 2:39PM

2005_6_white city.jpgRemember 2004, when every single person on the bus and the "L" seemed to be simultaneously reading The Devil in the White City? Chicagoist was one of those entranced readers, and though we secretly dug the chapters about H. H. Holmes infinitely more than the detailed descriptions of pre-Columbian Exposition politics and planning, we did lament our inability to experience the "White City" in its new electric glory.

Enter Lisa Snyder, an architectural historian and member of UCLA's Urban Simulation Team, who has created a virtual-reality model of the Columbian Exposition's main exhibition halls and waterways. The model, built using a program that allows planners and architects to virtually amble and alter the landscapes of urban areas, reproduces the exposition's main features with almost photographic accuracy, and will be on display today at the Museum of Science and Industry (which was originally the fair's Fine Arts building and is the only major fair building to survive) at 11 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Snyder has completed only about 25 percent of the project to date, but will eventually recreate the rest of the fair's Midway, grounds and pavilions using blueprints left over from the original event. Chicagoist can't wait until this whole shebang is completed, and thinks it will be an invaluable treasure to the city... but is it wrong that we also kind of want her to virtually recreate Holmes' murder house?

Image courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society