I grew up in Cicero, Illinois and spent many days at the open houses at the Hawthorne Works location of the Western Electric Company. I remember how huge the place was but didn’t realize how big it really was. Turns out that if you lived in or around Cicero in the early part of the 20th Century you or someone you knew worked for Western Electric. Rather sad how the only thing remaining is a single tower set back near a shopping mall.
Of course many Chicagoans know that today is the 100th Anniversary of the tragedy that claimed the lives of 844 people who were mostly families of Western Electric employees headed to Michigan City for a company picnic. The ship capsized in the dock and the rest is really history.
My wife’s great uncle retired from Western Electric and among his prized possessions were a copy of the company Newsletter that was published after the disaster with the names of the victims and a postcard of the Eastland reissued by the now defunct Cicero Historical Society.
With all of the recently discovered video footage and photographs of the horrors of the Eastland, I thought it would be nice to post a photo of the ship in happier times.
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