Todd Gordon, a lifelong history enthusiast, in particular Great Lakes history, has done extensive research on the SS Eastland, a passenger steamer that capsized in the Chicago River in 1915. He will present an interesting program about the SS Eastland disaster, which was the largest loss of life from a single shipwreck in Great Lakes’ history. His collection of memorabilia and photos will be shared at his presentation.
During his presentation, hear the history, legend, and lore associated with this disaster that claimed more lives than the sinking of the Titanic. On July 24, 1915, thousands of employees from Western Electric and their family members boarded the SS Eastland for transportation to Michigan City, Indiana for the company picnic. What was supposed to be a day of fun turned into a nightmare when the ship carrying 2,572 passengers rolled onto its side while tied to the dock in the river. 844 lives were lost, including 22 entire famlies. Gordon’s presentation will recount the events from this tragedy as well as her links to mashed potatos, George Halaas, Jack Woodford, Carl Sandburg, Clarence Darrow, Oprah Winfrey and much more.
Todd is married to Kathie Gordon, Assistant Director of the 1860 Light Station. He is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee and works for WE Energies at the Valley Power Plant. In the past he dove on Great Lakes shipwrecks, mostly in the waters around Door County.