After years of preparing and months of planning involving numerous organizations, the new historical marker was rededicated on Thursday morning, July 24, 2003. The new marker is located several yards to the west of where the original marker was erected. It is now located at the southeast corner of LaSalle Street and Wacker Drive in an alcove that looks almost as if it was designed specifically with the marker in mind. The marker is now a much more prominent part of this section of Wacker Drive. Pedestrians and vehicle traffic alike will find it hard to miss as they walk and drive by the area.
The weather for the outdoor ceremony was perfect - it was a warm summer day with a cool breeze and virtually no humidity. As the morning progressed, the skyscrapers along Wacker Drive blocked the sun causing shadows to encompass the area where the ceremony was being held. Light sweaters and jackets were even used by many to provide a little warmth from the cool lake breezes. Our guest speakers came from near (4 blocks, the Chicago Department of Transportation office at 30 N. LaSalle) and far (200 miles, the Illinois State Historical Society offices in Springfield). After the guest speakers shared their comments, United States Coast Guard personnel saluted while they laid flowers in the river where the tragedy occurred: Several tear-filled eyes were observed among the crowd. The Chicago Fire Department concluded the ceremony with a spectacular yet respectful water display.
Immediately following the ceremony, a luncheon/program was convened at the Bob Chinn's of Chicago restaurant. Bob Chinn's is located directly across the river from the site where the Eastland rolled over, in the historic Reid Murdoch Center. (During the aftermath of the tragedy, the Reid Murdoch building was used both as a temporary hospital and a temporary morgue.) Lunch was followed by a program that included a variety of speakers. Performances were given by Barbara Decker Wachholz singing, "The Boat That Never Left Town,", and Jay Bonansinga reading several paragraphs from his book on the Eastland Disaster (to be published in 2004).
|The background and planning for the two events.|
|List of guest speakers for the ceremony and the luncheon.|
|Brochure for the ceremony and the luncheon. [NOTE: Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.]|
|Photos from the ceremony and the luncheon.|
Please direct questions and comments to the Eastland Disaster Historical Society at email@example.com.
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