Eastland Disaster

101st Anniversary Commemoration

Sunday-Monday July 24-25, 2016
Schedule Details

Please join us this summer as EDHS hosts the 101st anniversary commemoration of Chicago’s greatest loss-of-life tragedy. Individuals and families who are personally connected to the tragedy will be gathering to learn, remember, and build new relationships.


Sunday, July 24

Families River & Lake Cruise (breakfast not provided)
8:30-10:30 a.m. | Chicago Riverwalk (just west of Clark Street bridge)

Attendees will enjoy a 90-minute private cruise along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan courtesy of Wendella Boats, our tour partner since 2003. Boarding will take place at the exact location where passengers boarded the Eastland 101 years ago. The boat will head east down the Chicago River, pass through the Chicago Harbor Lock, and travel south along the Lake Michigan shoreline, in essence following the route that the Eastland was scheduled to have taken on that fateful Saturday morning of July 24, 1915. The boat will then travel back up the shoreline, enter the river through the lock before proceeding west along the entire main branch of the Chicago River. Upon reversing direction 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
11-11:30 a.m. | Chicago Riverwalk (between LaSalle and Clark)

The 101st commemoration ceremony will include speakers discussing the significance, relevance, and importance of the tragedy. The ceremony will conclude with a moving musical tribute about the Eastland Disaster, Only The River Remains (written by Andrew White, composed by Ben Sussman and Andre Pleuss).

The ceremony is open to the public.

Families Luncheon - see menu
11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. | River Roast Social House: 315 N. LaSalle St. - map

Enjoy a delicious meal while gathering and socializing with 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.

Note: Unlike last year, each individual will order their brunch selection directly off of the menu at the time that they are seated and served for brunch. To reserve a seat at the restaurant, a voucher must be purchased for a nominal fee (and the entire amount of this fee will be credited toward your lunch).

Monday, July 25

Businesspersons Lunch Program
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Mesirow Financial (353 N. Clark St.) - map

Attendees are invited to the offices of Mesirow Financial for an informative luncheon presentation about the Eastland Disaster, the largest loss of life event in Chicago's history.

The 45‐minute program features:

  • the three recently discovered original motion picture film clips taken in 1915
  • dozens of photographs
  • compelling firsthand narrative delivered by the two granddaughters of survivor Bobbie Aanstad
  • a brief video with ABC’s Ron Magers interviewing several survivors
  • animation depicting the listing of the Eastland while passengers were boarding, and the moment the ship capsized
  • a brief video revealing how George “Papa Bear” Halas arrived too late to board the Eastland (a fortunate bit of fate that guaranteed the future of the Chicago Bears and the National Football League)

There are a very limited number of seats available for this historic, unique, and educational program.

Get Involved