This folding chair was salvaged from the S.S. Eastland, a passenger steamship that capsized on July 24, 1815 in the Chicago River by the Clark Street Bridge with 812 fatalities. It was given the the Historical Society in memory of Mrs. Ruby Bergeon, wife of the donor.
This folding chair helps to document one of Chicago's deadliest disasters. It was used aboard the S. S. Eastland, an excursion boat which on July 24, 1915 capsized during launch in the Chicago River killing 844 of the 2,570 passengers on board. The Eastland had a history of instability and the disaster was most likely the result of the ship's faulty design. Additionally, new owners had increased the number of lifeboats further destabilizing the ship. The passenger steamer had been one of three carrying Western Electric employees and their families to Indiana for a picnic. Substantial relief efforts were made during and after the disaster by other boats, businesses, and Chicagoans by the scene.