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.