June 25th: The Murder of Stanford White

June 23, 2023

On the evening of June 25, 1906, at the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden, a shocking event unfolded that would grip the nation. Millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw shot and killed renowned architect Stanford White.

Stanford White was a celebrated architect, responsible for designing some of New York’s most iconic buildings, including the original Madison Square Garden. Harry Thaw, heir to a Pittsburgh coal and railroad fortune, was known for his unpredictable behavior and extravagant lifestyle.

The root of their conflict was a woman named Evelyn Nesbit, a prominent actress and model. White had a romantic relationship with Nesbit when she was a teenager. Thaw, obsessed with Nesbit, learned of this past relationship, leading to a deep-seated grudge against White.

At the rooftop theater of Madison Square Garden, a place ironically designed by White himself, Thaw approached White and shot him at point-blank range in front of hundreds of witnesses. White died instantly, and Thaw was arrested.

The subsequent trial was a media circus, fueled by the high-profile nature of the individuals involved and the scandalous details of the case. Thaw was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The murder of Stanford White was more than a sensational crime. It served as a dramatic symbol of the excesses, extravagances, and dark undercurrents of the Gilded Age, capturing the attention of the public and marking a pivotal moment in the history of American crime and justice.

References:

https://guides.loc.gov/chronicling-america-stanford-white-murder#:~:text=On%20June%2025%2C%201906%2C%20millionaire,for%20more%20than%20a%20year.

https://www.thecenterforruleoflaw.org/rule-of-law-blog/june-25-1906-pittsburgh-pennsylvania-millionaire-harry-thaw-shoots-and-kills-prominent-architect-stanford-white

https://famous-trials.com/Thaw

https://avenuemagazine.com/stanford-white-murder-notorious-new-yorker/

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