57th Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60636
In Devil in the White City:
“The park runs south in a narrow green boarder along the lakeshore all the way to Jackson Park, where the fair’s Palace of Fine Arts, transformed into a permanent structure, now houses the Museum of Science and Industry. It looks out over the lagoons and the Wooded Island, now a wild and tangles place that perhaps would make Olmstead smile – though no doubt he would find features to criticize.” Page 374
In Real Life:
The Palace of Fine Arts was designed to stand the test of time and survive much longer than the run of the World’s Columbian Exposition. As Erik Larson recounted in The Devil in the White City, unlike other fair buildings, it was built with brick, a necessity because it was to house valuable paintings and sculpture from around the world. These days it’s the Museum of Science and Industry. It still stands along a grassy lane – once the midway at the fair – across from the University of Chicago. And that’s how I got my tour of the museum – when my daughter graduated from U of C – at a Champagne and Dessert reception the museum hosts for each graduating class. And jammed in there on a hot June night – with scores of graduates and parents I felt a little like I was at the World’s Columbian Exposition – strolling – soaking up everything around me. And a little tidbit from Larson popped into my head as I walked from room to room in the museum – it was one of the smallest buildings in the white city.
If you can time it right – it would be great to catch The Blueprints of Our Past tour at the museum. It’s 90 minutes and it includes a virtual tour of what the white city looked like.