EDHS News and Updates

News and Updates

Survivor Stories

"Survivor Story": Thomas Zahradnik (Gardner)

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.


"Survivor Story": Daniel Johan Reuther

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.


"Survivor Story": Jennie Turbov

Chicago, Illinois -- Jennie Turbov began working for the Western Electric Company on 22nd Street when she was very young, and was a forelady. She was 19 years old when she boarded the S.S. Eastland for the company picnic and excursion.


"Survivor Story": Joseph Suerth

Chicago, Illinois -- Joseph A. Suerth, 16, and his father Nicholas were on the top deck of the Eastland. Joe stayed on deck with a friend while his dad went below. Unable to swim, Joe went to the high side of the Eastland when it started to list. He climbed over the railing and onto the hull as the Eastland capsized, barely getting his pants' legs wet.


"Survivor Story": Julius Ferdinand Reschke

Chicago, Illinois -- On the morning of July 24, 1915, 60-year-old Julius "Ferdinand" Reschke boarded the Eastland for the Western Electric company picnic; his wife Bertha decided to stay at home. Ferdinand's son Ewald brought a date, Hattie Hofmeister, for that morning, but ended up not boarding the ship.


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