I have always wondered when people in Chicago started to count on the Red Cross for help and guidance. I found out that it was on July 24, 1915 when the Eastland Disaster happened on the Chicago River. A boat outing with more than 2,500 Western Electric employees on board, was supposed to be a fun and exciting event for all. But then the adventure took a turn for the worse and the steamer tipped over and immediately sank. Sadly, 844 people lost their lives that day.
The Chicago chapter was founded only six weeks before, the incident, so the steamer’s sinking was a big undertaking for the relatively new organization. But the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago was ready on the scene within one hour of the tragedy! They were there to provide disaster relief, medical aid, and counseling for those whose lives had been forever changed because of that day’s catastrophe out on the river.
From that day on, the Red Cross has become a symbol of prestigious and professional on-scene relief and a stronghold in Chicago.