Saturday, September 27, 2008
Having a wife around is such a pain in the neck for a serial killer.
Henry Holmes, born Herman Mudgett, was the most famous Chicago criminal of the 19th century. During the World's Fair of 1893, he hosted hundreds of travelers at the "hotel" he built on the South side at 63rd and Wallace. An unknown number of those travelers never checked out, tortured and killed by Holmes in any number of fiendish ways at that location.
Like many serial killers, Holmes was quite the ladies' man, and he met, romanced, and married a series of beautiful women, usually without divorcing the previous one. In 1893, Holmes, going by the name Harry Gordon, was married to Minnie Williams, a woman he had met years earlier in Boston, and who he had successfully seduced upon her arrival in Chicago. Later, he killed her and her sister Anna as well, presumably to take advantage of the sisters' real estate holdings in Fort Worth, Texas, but probably also just for the fun of it.
However, Holmes' murderous schemes in 1893 mainly involved out-of-town visitors to the Fair, and having Minnie around was likely to interrupt the fun. So he rented an apartment at 1220 Wrightwood (now 1140 W. Wrightwood), about as far from 63rd and Wallace as possible, and left Minnie to keep house there while he tended to the hotel and murdering business on the South side.
The building has been demolished and replaced with a new one, but you can still rent an apartment at this location (prices have risen a little).