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99 years ago, 844 died in the Eastland disaster

Passengers scramble off Eastlafter excursisteamer rolled over Chicago River July 24 1915. More than 800 people were killed.  |

Passengers scramble off the Eastland after the excursion steamer rolled over in the Chicago River on July 24, 1915. More than 800 people were killed. | Sun-Times library

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Updated: July 24, 2014 11:27PM

It was 99 years ago today, on July 24, 1915, when more than 2,500 people piled onto the Eastland on the Chicago River at the dock between LaSalle and Clark streets. They were to be the first group of an estimated 7,000 people to be taken to Western Electric’s fifth annual employee picnic, but 844 aboard the ship perished in the blink of an eye. Read more at

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