Eastland (1903)
USS Wilmette IX-29
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Jan. 20, 2015

I'm looking for any archived drawings, diagrams and blueprints of the SS Eastland. I hope to locate various points within the ship where passengers were when the ship rolled.

Rick Tuma
Chicago Tribune
Graphics Producer

June 7, 2013

Came across the MaritimeQuest when looking up info on the Wilmette, I was a baby World War IIer who enlisted in the navy at age 17 and was part of the security watch stationed aboard the Wilmette in 1945-6. I was only involved in the last month's of Wilmette's days docked in Chicago--strictly security watch--as I said. I enlisted at 17 on St. Pat's day in 1945, and fortunately World War II ended some six months later. What got my attention was I saw online where someone stole the plaque dedicated to those lost in the tragic event when the ship was the Eastland (it's unbelievable what some people will do or destroy nowadays) the mayor of Chicago wanted to replace/rededicate with a new project.

Arthur Dioli

Oct. 24, 2007

My grandmother and grandfather (who worked for Western Electric in Chicago) were scheduled to join others aboard the Eastland on its way to the G.E. picnic...however, they stopped to pick up a little wounded bird and returned home with it...thus, missing the boarding of the ship. My mother told me this about 55 years ago, but I had forgotten all about it until a month ago when my husband and I stopped to pick up a little wounded bird and took it to a nature sanctuary. Upon hearing this, a friend said that for all we knew, stopping to help that little bird might have saved our lives, but that we would never know.

This brought back the story that my mother had told me long ago. I believe there was a list of the passengers who died from drowning, but do you know if there was ever a passenger list of those planning to board the ship? I would certainly appreciate any such information...I have bought a book entitled "The Sinking of the Eastland" by Jay Bonansinga. Do you know of any other books written about this disaster? I would love to share the story of this tragedy with remaining, younger members of our family. I feel if it hadn't been for that little bird, none of our family would be here today! Thank you so very much...

Nancy Bair
Austin, Texas

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Page published Sept. 15, 2007