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.
On the morning of July 24th, 1915, the Eastland was docked at the Clark Street Bridge, but 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.
Two of those that lost their lives, 107 years ago tomorrow, were Niels Petersen and his little son Royal.
In 2008, one of the strangest experiences of my life took place (with witnesses) in one of the edit studios at Oprah Radio, in a building that was across the street from Harpo Studios, that was the Second Regiment Armory at the time, and used as a morgue for the victims of the Eastland.
Some of the security guys I knew reported strange "phenomena" in the main building, but that was across the street...right?
Remembering that morning, and those who perished, and the beyond incredible intervention from the other side, in this episode of the Life 2.0 podcast.