This steering wheel was part of the S.S. Eastland, a passenger steamer that capsized in the Chicago River on July 24, 1915.
This steering wheel was part of the S. S. Eastland, an excursion boat that was the site of one of Chicago's most fatal accidents. On July 24, 1915 while loading Western Electric employees and their families for the annual employee picnic, the Eastland capsized at its dock in the Chicago river killing at least 800 passengers. Most of the dead were German and Czech factory workers. The Eastland had had a history of instability, and the addition of lifeboats and increased capacity made it dangerously top-heavy. After being refit as the U.S.S. Wilmette, the boat served as a training vessel for Great Lakes area soldiers during the World Wars.