Several ladies in New Bedford and Fall River, anticipating Lizzie’s acquittal in June of 1893, decided to raise a “purse” to send the long-suffering Miss Borden on a treat to Chicago to see the Columbian Exposition, an event celebrating 400 years since Christopher Columbus made his famous landing. The White City was the place to see when it opened in 1893.
Instead of a cash purse, vacation coupons were assiduously clipped and mailed in to the newspaper with Lizzie Borden’s name on them for a contest where the first prize was the coveted trip to Chicago. According to the Fall River Weekly News, she received 94,097 coupons and came in second. She declined to accept the generous second prize of a trip to Narragansett Pier on the advice of Mr. Andrew Jennings, her attorney, and funded her own trip, which she could now easily afford.
Leaving sister Emma to unpack at Maplecroft, Lizzie set off in early October with Miss Alice Buck, Rev. Buck’s daughter, and Miss Caroline Borden for a Girls -On- A- Spree- Adventure! Fun to imagine Lizzie up in a hot air balloon or riding the new-fangled Ferris Wheel.
While Lizzie was visiting, America’s first serial killer, H.H. Holmes was plying a grisly trade at his Murder Castle in Chicago near the fairgrounds, specializing in renting rooms to unmarried ladies without family who were traveling to Chicago to see the fair. Just suppose Lizzie and the ladies had opted to stay there!
For more on the Expo visit this excellent site to view the many delights Lizzie witnessed http://columbus.gl.iit.edu/
For more about H.H. Holmes, visit http://www.hhholmesthefilm.com/ A must -read is Devil in the White City by Erik Larson http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/devilinthewhitecity/home.html
(reference source, Lizzie Borden, Past and Present, Leonard Rebello, Alzach Press, 1999, p.187.)