Concordia Cemetery, Forest Park
About Concordia Cemetery, Forest Park
Since its founding in 1872 Concordia Cemetery has seen many changes and been a part of many important historical events in Chicago history. The goal of this section of the website is to present the rich history of Concordia and explain how we have been intimately involved in many important historical Chicagoland events
Concordia Cemetery is the resting place for many of the victims of the Eastland Disaster of 1915, known as Chicago’s worst tragedy in terms of loss of life, a worse toll than the Iroquois Theatre fire of 1903 and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Early in the morning of July 24, 1915, employees of the Western Electric Company, along with many of their family members and friends, boarded the Eastland moored at its dock on the south bank of the Chicago River between LaSalle and Clark Streets. The passengers were to travel by steamer to Michigan City, Indiana to attend the company’s annual picnic. The vessel was top-heavy and with a large crowd amassed on the port side railing of the top deck to bid farewell, the Eastland capsized, throwing many of it’s 2,500 passengers into the river while trapping numerous others underwater below deck. All told, 844 lost their lives, predominantly women and children encumbered by heavy clothing. Most of the employees were from Western Electric’s Hawthorn works in Cicero, IL. The plant’s workforce was heavily concentrated in Germans, Poles, Bohemians, and Lithuanians. Research sources do not all agree on the details of the Eastland disaster.