The History

Volunteer Response

“THERE WERE A MILLION HEROES THAT DAY. I don’t suppose anybody ever knew their names.” -- Anna Meinert

The ordinary and untrained volunteers who aided in the rescue and recovery in the wake of the Eastland Disaster had no idea they would play such a critical role in this historic moment.

Volunteers of all ages and social classes put their lives and more at risk to help those trapped in the Eastland or floundering in the Chicago River. Bystanders, businesses, nearby boats, divers, welders and more rushed to the scene, each selfless volunteer proving heroic and brave during the tragedy. Click the links below to go directly to those pages.