Eastland disaster, 100 years later | WBEZ
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Eastland disaster, 100 years later

It was going to be a fun filled day off in Michigan City, Indiana for thousands of workers of the former Western Electric Hawthorne Works Plant in Cicero. An annual summer employee picnic had been gaining in popularity since 1900 and in 1915 the number of people who wanted to attend swelled to 7,000, so more ships were needed to ferry passengers to the site. One of the steamers was the SS Eastland, also known as the Speed Queen of the Great Lakes. More than 2,500 passengers boarded her in the early morning of July 24...but tragically the ship never made it to its destination. In fact...it barely left the harbor before capsizing. More than 800 people died. We remember the disaster with Russell Lewis, Executive Vice President and chief historian of The Chicago History Museum. (Flickr/vxla)

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