In commemoration of the 99th anniversary of the SS Eastland disaster, Chicago author, historian, and parapsychology enthusiast, Ursula Bielski will co-host Tour 99 with young adult author, Marian Cheatham, (Eastland, a novel) on Saturday, July 19, 2014.
The five-hour tour will visit many of the sites related to tragedy which took place on Saturday, July 24, 1915. That morning, 2500 employees, family, and friends of the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Cicero, IL, boarded the SS Eastland bound for the picnic grounds in Michigan City, IN. But the steamship never departed. While still tethered to the dock, the Eastland capsized into the Chicago River, killing 844 people. To this day, the Eastland remains the greatest loss-of-life disaster in Chicago’s history as well as the deadliest shipwreck in the history of the Great Lakes.
Hawthorne Plaza, Cicero – the former site of the Western Electric Hawthorne Works.
Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago – where the greatest concentration of Eastland dead are buried together in Section 16.
St. Adalbert’s Cemetery, Niles – burial site of George Halas, owner of the Chicago Bears. College student, George Halas, worked summers at Western Electric and had a ticket to the 1915 event, however he was delayed at home and missed boarding the boat with his friends. He arrived in time to see the capsized ship.
Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, Chicago – the former site of the 2nd Regiment Armory, used as a makeshift morgue for the bodies of more than 700 Eastland victims.
The Eastland memorial plague at the site of the tragedy on the Chicago River – upper lever riverwalk near the LaSalle Street Bridge.
About the tour hosts:
Native Chicagoan, Ursula Bielski, is the owner of the premier and award-winning Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tours. A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University with a MA in Cultural and Intellectual U.S. History, she is the author of seven books, including the Chicago Hauntings series, Creepy Chicago, There’s Something Under the Bed!, and her latest book, Graveyards of Chicago. She regularly lectures about the paranormal around Chicago and at Darkness Events. She has been featured on numerous TV documentaries, including productions on A&E Network, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, SyFy, The Travel Channel, and PBS, as well as being a regular guest on Ghost Adventures. Lake Claremont Press.
Native Chicagoan, Marian Cheatham, is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and former special education teacher in Cicero, IL. Currently, she is a full-time writer of young adult novels, including Eastland, and her new series, Stratford High, contemporary retellings of Shakespeare’s plays. She writes a weekly post, Everyday Eastland, on Facebook. She lectures about the Eastland and her research at libraries, schools, and book clubs, and has been interviewed on WGN News, WLS Talk Radio, and local cable TV.