Chicago Marks 100 Years Since Eastland Disaster [PHOTOS]
Two geese are seen on a piling, bottom right, at the Clark Street double-leaf trunnion bascule bridge, built in 1929, over the Chicago River March 31, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1915 an excursion boat named the Eastland, docked at this location, capsized killing 812 passengers, more passenger deaths than the Titanic three years earlier.
One hundred years ago today, on July 24, 1915, the Eastland passenger ship listed to its side in the Chicago River between LaSalle Drive and Clark Street. More than 840 people died in the disaster. That's a higher number than the fatalities in the Titanic sinking.
Last week, in advance of the anniversary, the Chicago Tribune happened to find nearly 100 black-and-white images inside two cardboard boxes in the newspaper's basement archives:
The photographs capture the aftermath of one of Chicago's worst disasters: rows of sheet-covered bodies inside a temporary morgue, two women crying while clutching a baby in a blanket, a Coast Guard crew hauling a woman out of the river, the Eastland flopped over in the water like a plastic toy in a bathtub, dozens of people atop its side, awaiting rescue.
But the most noteworthy images in a trove of glass-plate negatives recently discovered in the Tribune's basement archives are the views from inside the doomed excursion steamer, a vantage point rarely before seen, photo historians say.