On Saturday, July 24, 1915, the passenger ship Eastland was docked in downtown Chicago
on the Chicago River preparing to depart for a Lake Michigan cruise to Michigan City, Indiana
for a Western Electric employee picnic. Soon after 2,500 passengers boarded the ship it began
to list. First to starboard, then to port while still moored to the wharf. The Eastland rolled
onto its side, spilling passengers into the river and trapping others underwater in the interior
cabins, mostly women and children. The disaster claimed 844+ lives. This tragedy remains
relatively obscure in American history, even though it resulted in the largest death toll of
any single disaster occurring in the continental United States in the twentieth century.
One of the goals of the Eastland Memorial Society is to accurately portray the story of the Eastland.
In the days and years following the disaster, erroneous accounts of the disaster have developed that
are either complete fabrications or gross misinterpretations of the actual events.
The story presented here is the most accurate and complete account of the Eastland Disaster. Every day reveals new stories and facts surrounding the disaster,
and it is our intention to continue to update this living account.
We dedicate this story of the Eastland to the passengers and their families, whose lives were changed
forever that day, and the rescuers who bravely acted to rescue those in peril.
The Eastland Memorial Society is proud to present the story of the Eastland; from her construction and
early career to the disaster and the investigations and legal proceedings that followed...