Great Lakes Ships
100 years since the Eastland -- Chicago Tribune | A man sits at the base of a stairway in the interior of the SS Eastland after it was drained and righted in August 1915. The Tribune reported that "... the frenzied victims were trapped by the staircases. The rush broke the newel posts and four spindles of the stair railing. The stair leads from the cabin to the promenade decks." Most of the bodies were found in this location.
Early on the morning of Saturday, July 24, 1915, a light rain fell. The air was filled with anticipation and excitement. Thousands gathered along the Chicago River for Western Electric's fifth annual employee picnic. More than 7,000 tickets had been purchased for the day-long festivities. But the day quickly turned tragic ...
Charles Gunderson was the proprietor of Chas. Gunderson and Son Submarine Divers, and his biggest job was diving for bodies amongst the Eastland Disaster. Charles dived almost continuously for four days. He would stay underwater for two to five hours at a time, groping his way into the ship's grand ballroom where many were trapped. Charles also came closer than any of the Disaster divers to losing his life. The story brought back to the surface with him was the most thrilling of all.
100 years since the Eastland -- Chicago Tribune. The SS Eastland rests on its side in 20 feet of water after slowly rolling over July 24, 1915. The Tribune wrote, "Close to the Eastland's berth the river is only a little more than twenty feet in depth. The big excursion boat, with a beam of more than twice twenty feet, went no further when its port side found the bottom. It lay like a toy boat of tin wrecked in a gutter, its starboard half rising clear of the water."
Launched in 1965, the ore carrier Lawrencecliffe Hall was struck amidships by the British freighter Sunek and sank in 50 feet of water on Nov. 16, 1965, while westbound on the St. Lawrence Seaway near Orleans Island (Île d'Orléans) just east of Quebec City. Refloated and repaired, she was back in service in less than a year and still plies the Great Lakes waterways today under the name, Canadian Venture.