Chicago, Illinois -- Charles A. Vileta was 23 years old when he and three friends boarded the Eastland on July 24, 1915. Charles, a relay assembler at Western Electric Company, told his friends, who he met at work, “Let’s take the second boat -- it’s safer.” Sadly, only Charles returned home that day.
Chicago, Illinois -- Aida Woods was 3 years old when she, her mother (about 35 years old), her brother (5 years old), and two family friends boarded the cranky ship.
Chicago, Illinois -- Thomas Zahradnik worked as a magnet hardener specialist at Western Electric. He sometimes went by the last name of Gardner because Zahradnik means “gardener” in Czech and Gardner was easier to pronounce for some of the Western Electric employees of many different ethnicities.
Chicago, Illinois -- Daniel Johan Reuther left his west side home and boarded the Douglas Park El at the Pulaski station to join his Western Electric co-workers for a fun cruise to Michigan City, Indiana. His wife Charlotte Elizabeth (Friers) Reuther, and their two young children, Marion Elizabeth (5) and Daniel George (7) were left at home. Charlotte was adamant that she and the children would not go on the cruise.
Why should you make an end of the year gift investment in the Eastland Disaster Historical Society? Because we believe that even ordinary people need to win a place in history, and that is what we are fighting hard to do.