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Clark R. Greene

Clark R. Greene

...someone with a megaphone announced 'Western Electric picnic called off'...

"The Western Electric Company picnic was to be a huge affair at Michigan City, Indiana, with parades, athletic events, etc.  About 6,000 tickets had been sold to employees and friends for the trip across Lake Michigan from Chicago.  THere were four or five boats for the trip across Lake Michigan with the Eastland scheduled to leave first at 7:30 a.m. and the others to follow at short intervals.  We 'students' (taking company educational courses) were to parade wearing white trousers and were to carry a big banner in the parade.  We had been told to try our best to catch the first boat.  About five of us students living together planned to do just that, and were ready to start for the elevated when one fellow went back to his room and we waited twenty minutes for him to return.  Although I do not know the exact time of arrival downtown I think that we arrived about five to ten minutes after the disaster.  We could not get near the docks but stood in the street while people passed us who had been rescued and could walk.  Most were in tears, some hysterical and one girl that I saw was actually crazed, she was soaking wet, hair hanging down, actually tearing her hair, and screaming at the top of her voice something about her sister.  Others were being carried up town by ambulances, cars, patrols, etc.  To add to the dismalness it started to drizzle.  All the time people were arriving for the other boats and when someone with a megaphone announced 'Western Electric picnic called off' there was an audible murmur of disappointment since the awfulness of the disaster was not yet realized.  Of course the narrowness of my escape was not very narrow but as narrow as I care to have it."

From a letter Clark R. Greene wrote to his parents letting them know that he was safe.  Clark had been employed at the Western for just one week, having recently graduated from the University of Michigan in the Spring.

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