Sugar Built House, Kill Dozer, Rocking Chair Riots

Host Don Wildman explores a mansion in Michigan that was built on the back of the sweetest of swindles; investigates a town terrorized by a mechanical monster; and learns of a violent uprising in New York City’s Central Park.

From This Episode

Hack House
The House That Sugar Built

The House That Sugar Built

In 1883, a chemist named Henry Friend claims to have invented a process that would forever change the time-consuming and expensive sugar-refining industry, but his whole process is revealed to be a fraud.  When he falls ill and passes away, his wife Olive moves back to their hometown of Milan, IL, and builds a sprawling Victorian mansion.  960 1280

  

The House That Sugar Built

The House That Sugar Built

The home that sugar built, now known as Hack House and listed on the National Historic register, stands as a monument to the huckster’s sweet swindle in Milan, MI.  Two stories tall with a gable roof, this home provided a haven for a family whose success was built on a business deal that was so sweet it was impossible for some to resist. 960 1280

  

The Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment

Now a thriving 1,200-acre industrial campus, the Philadelphia Navy Yard once produced some of the US Navy’s greatest battleships.  Some believe this was also the site of a covert government experiment that defied the laws of physics. 960 1280

  

The Philadelphia Experiment

The Philadelphia Experiment

In 1943, the USS Eldridge is said to have disappeared and reappeared out of thin air.  In an effort to protect their clumsy, slow moving destroyers from Nazi U-boats, the US Navy set up electromagnetic fields around the Eldridge. But when the ship’s generators are flipped on, a mysterious green fog engulfs the Eldridge.  The fantastical details of "The Philadelphia Experiment" continues to be one of the most enduring conspiracy theories of the modern age. 960 1280

  

Kill Dozer

Kill Dozer

In 2004, 52-year-old Marvin Heemeyer outfits a bulldozer with reinforced steel and heavy weaponry.  He rampages through the town of Granby for several hours while police stand by helpless.  Once he’s identified as the driver, it’s revealed that Heemeyer had a long standing resentment against the city government regarding a zoning issue that affected the muffler shop he owned.  960 1280

  

Servant Girl Serial Killer

Servant Girl Serial Killer

After numerous servant girls are found murdered in Austin, TX, the people of the city desperately search for ways to make the city safer.  So in 1895, 31-colossal light towers are constructed, placed around the city and become known as the Moonlight Towers. They cast 6,400 watts of bright light that spreads out over 3,000 feet, enveloping the city in its protective radiance. 960 1280

  

Servant Girl Serial Killer

Servant Girl Serial Killer

Looming above this eclectic metropolis are 17 mysterious yet colossal structures that nearly scrape the skies above.  The Moonlight Towers stand 165 feet tall, weigh about 5,000 pounds and are each topped with 6 mercury-vapor bulbs. According to local legend, the inspiration for these towers came from the darkest era in the city’s history. 960 1280

  

Cherry Mine Disaster

Cherry Mine Disaster

In 1909, Cherry, IL, witnesses one of the worst mining disasters in US history.  A fire in the town’s mine traps 259 men and boys within.  Only 22 men survive the ordeal, led by George Eddy.  After 8 days of darkness and dissipating oxygen, the men break out of the tomb, and they are miraculously met with a rescue party.  960 1280

  

Cherry Mine Disaster

Cherry Mine Disaster

In Cherry’s town cemetery, 2 tall, pyramid-shaped slabs of reddish marble, each etched with row upon row of long-forgotten names, sit on display.  Wedged between both is a gray and black industrial scene capped by the Illinois state and US flags. 960 1280

  

Rocking Chair Riots

Rocking Chair Riots

In 1901, British entrepreneur Oscar Spate presents the idea of using chic wicker-cushioned rocking chairs in Central Park instead of park benches. For 5 cents, the customer would have the right to relax in the chair for as long as they’d like between the hours of 10 am and 10 pm.  But when park-goers are told that they have to pay to sit in the shady area of the park, a full-scale riot occurs.  960 1280

  

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