The S.S. Eastland, known as the "Speed Queen of the Great Lakes," was part of a fleet of five excursion boats assigned to take Western Electric employees, families and friends across Lake Michigan to Michigan City, Indiana, for a day of fun and fellowship. But the festivities were short-lived and quickly turned tragic.
The Eastland, docked at the Clark Street Bridge, never left the Chicago River. Tragedy struck as the ship rolled over into the river at the wharf's edge. More than 2,500 passengers and crew members were on board that day – and 844 people lost their lives, including 22 entire families.