The East Coast architects, accompanied by Olmstead, make a trip to Chicago in January 1891. The day after their arrival in Chicago, Burnham takes the group of men to explore Jackson Park, the site for the Chicago fair. The men are unimpressed with the site and have many concerns, including the time frame for producing the fair. Despite feeling tired and ill, Root joins the architects in their activities and discussions upon return from a trip to Atlanta that day. The Chicago men, including the president of the exposition, wine and dine the Easterners that evening, leaving the Chicagoans feeling more positive about the prospects for the exposition. However, the next day at a meeting at Root's house, the East Coast architects continue to express concerns and lack enthusiasm for being part of the production.
The brevity of this chapter signifies that its purpose is to move the plot along. As usual, Larson uses suspense-building techniques to present an interesting and engaging story. Larson again raises a few questions in the reader's mind: Will Burnham and company have enough time to create the fair they envision? Is Jackson Park really a sufficient location for the fair? The end of the chapter foreshadows Root's fate as he's again feeling poorly, and the men are concerned about his going into the cold without a coat.