Eastland Disaster Memorial

July 24, 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the SS Eastland disaster. The Hawthorne Club made up of emloyees of the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works in Cicero Illinois chartered several excursion ships to carry approximately 7,000 employees and family members to Michigan City Indiana's Washington Park to enjoy the annual picnic. The SS Eastland was to be the first of the ships to depart Chicago for Michigan City. Tragically, the Eastland rolled over onto its port side in about 20 feet of water while still partially tied to the wharf in the Chicago River. Eight hundred forty-four of the 2,501 passengers on board perished. The victims included mostly young women and children. Twenty-two entire families were lost on that fateful day. To this day, the Eastland disaster represents the single greatest loss of life in Great Lakes maritime history.

The Michigan City Historical Society, Inc. Old Lighthouse Museum is planning an Eastland Disaster Memorial to honor those lost in this unfortunate tragedy. It will be built on Michigan City;s magnificant waterfront in early 2015 and completed in time to commemorate the 100th anniversary. An anchor chain made of 844 links will wind its way to the Trail Creek wharf where the SS Eastland was to have arrived on Saturday morning, July 24, 1915. One chain link for each lost soul symbolically represents the magnitude of the tragedy. Two cast bronze plaques will remind visitors of the historical significance of the event. Ship moorning bollards on the wharf will bear witness Michigan City's maritime heritage and indomitable hopeful spirit.

Donate to the Eastland Disaster Memorial. We ask a donation of $25.00 for each link in the chain.

The Old Lighthouse Museum
Michigan City Historical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 512
Michigan City, IN 46361
(219) 872-6133
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Updated March 24, 2018

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