Eastland Disaster

100th Anniversary Commemoration

Weekend of July 24-26, 2015
Schedule Details

Please join us this summer as EDHS hosts the 100th anniversary commemoration of Chicago’s greatest loss-of-life tragedy. Individuals and families from around the world who are personally connected to the tragedy will be gathering to learn, remember, and build new relationships.

Friday, July 24: Media Day

Public Ceremony
1-2 p.m. | Chicago Riverwalk (between LaSalle and Clark)

Attendees are invited to the new Chicago Riverwalk (the site where the Eastland capsized) to commemorate the thousands of people whose lives were affected by the Eastland Disaster. The ceremony is open to the public.

Saturday, July 25: Family Day

Families Chicago River Cruise (breakfast not provided)
8:30-10:45 a.m. | Chicago Riverwalk (between LaSalle and Clark)

Attendees will enjoy a 30-minute private cruise along the Chicago River courtesy of Wendella Boats, our tour partner since 2003. Boarding will take place at the exact location where passengers boarded the Eastland 100 years ago. The boat will head east down the Chicago River, following the route that the Eastland was scheduled to have taken on that fateful Saturday morning of July 24, 1915. The boat will reverse direction near the Chicago Harbor Lock, before traveling west along the entire main branch of the Chicago River. Reversing direction once again, this time at the confluence at Wolf Point, the cruise will head east and end where it started, at the Chicago Riverwalk between LaSalle and Clark Streets.

NOTE: Your safety and security is of paramount importance to EDHS and Wendella. Wendella is dedicated to setting the industry standard in safety and security training: They operate under and are in compliance with all applicable federal, state and local laws, operating rules, and regulations.

Public Ceremony
11 a.m.-Noon | Chicago Riverwalk (between LaSalle and Clark)

The “formal” 100th commemoration ceremony will feature two very moving musical performances about the Eastland Disaster: a vintage song from 1915, and a contemporary work written within the past few years. Several keynote speakers (including dignitaries and families with a connection to the tragedy) will discuss the significance, relevance, and importance of the tragedy. A flower-laying memorial will conclude the respectful commemoration, with each person directly connected to the tragedy laying a white carnation into the Chicago River.

The ceremony is open to the public. Reserved seating for EDHS members and those with tickets to the weekend.

Families Luncheon - see menu
12:30-1:30 p.m. | River Roast Social House: 315 N. LaSalle St. - map

Enjoy a delicious meal while gathering and socializing with hundreds of individuals and families who have a direct connection to the tragedy. River Roast is the perfect setting for this weekend because it is located in the Reid Murdoch Center. This building is historically significant to the Eastland Disaster as it was used during the rescue and recovery efforts: The first floor was used as a temporary hospital while the basement was used as a temporary morgue.

Connecting Families Program - see the panel of authors
2-5:30 p.m. | Westin Chicago River North Grand Ballroom: 320 N. Dearborn St. - map

A full slate for the afternoon that will include: an authors discussion; a new song about the Eastland Disaster being performed live for the first time; EDHS revealing answers to questions that have gone unanswered for 100 years; and several personal accounts/stories being shared. EDHS will also introduce its plans to preserve the history of the tragedy -- and the legacies of the thousands of people affected by it -- beyond the 100th. Water and popcorn will be provided.

There will be ample opportunity to network, mingle, and share stories with others. Authors will be available for one-on-one conversations, photo opportunities, and book and soundtrack signings.

Break (dinner not provided) - see sponsoring dining options
5:30 p.m.

Enjoy the beautiful city of Chicago with your family and friends for dinner at a restaurant of your choice. The restaurants that have sponsored the 100th Anniversary Commemoration Weekend all come highly recommended.

Sunset Ceremony and Concert
8:30 p.m. | Chicago Riverwalk (between LaSalle and Clark)

Join us at sunset at the new Chicago Riverwalk for a very powerful ceremony. At 8:44 p.m., families with a connection to the tragedy will light 844 candles in memory of "The 844" as well as all others whose lives intersected 100 years ago at the scene of the Disaster. Following the candlelight memorial, three songs will be performed from the Lookingglass Theatre Company's production of Eastland: A New Musical.

The ceremony and concert are open to the public. Reserved seating for EDHS members and those with tickets to the weekend.

Sunday, July 26: Family Morning

Connecting Families Open House & Museum Tour
(breakfast and lunch not provided) - see info
9 a.m.-1 p.m. | Museum of Broadcast Communications: 360 N. State St.  - map

The Commemoration Weekend comes to a close by bringing together families with personal connections to the tragedy. Family members can share their family story and history, engage with other families, and speak with EDHS staff and board members. As a bonus, attendees will enjoy walking through the unique TV and radio galleries of the Museum of Broadcast Communications. Beverages (water and soda) will be provided.

Weekend Commemoration Concludes
1 p.m.

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