Thursday, July 24, 2008

Today In History: Glub!

It's really among the unlikeliest places for a tragedy.

I mean, there you are, on a large modern ship, tied up to a wharf on a river in the middle of a huge city, on a nice July day on your way to a pleasant lake cruise and a company picnic... Under those circumstances, who expects that they're about to become a victim of one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history, while still tied up at the dock, no less?

845 souls gone, just like that, on a summer day in the middle of a city, right out of nowhere. Gives me the creepin' willies, let me tell you.

11 comments:

buzz_knox said...

The article shows just how great Wiki is as a source of information. I didn't realize that the first American naval action in WWI occurred in 1921. ;)

Tam said...

Ah, but it says "On June 7, 1921, the Wilmette was given the task of sinking the UC-97, a German U-Boat captured during World War I. The guns of the Wilmette were manned by Gunner's Mate J.O. Sabin, who had fired the first American shell in World War I,"

It says that Sabin was the man who HAD fired the first American shell in WWI. :)

the pawnbroker said...

shit, if she's that top-heavy without a complement of cannon, one imagines the sailors assigned to her after retrofit would have been a bit paranoid...i know i'd have not slept well in the lower tombs...jtc

Chas S. Clifton said...

The Wikipedia article is interesting, but what caught my eye was Eastland's second incarnation as a training ship for the Armed Guard.

My stepmom's first husband was an ensign serving in the Armed Guard, KIA in Sept. 1942. He could trained on the former Eastland, because I know he was in Chicago before going to sea. Weird.

Nathan Brindle said...

"Although the lifeboats mandated by this act were said to have the potential to cause many Great Lakes boats to capsize, it was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson."

Trust a Democrat to cause a disaster.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Wilson was no Democrat. Proto-Fascist is a closer description.

Tam said...

Wilson's ascendency marked the official Progressive takeover of the party of Jackson.

Nathan Brindle said...

OK: Wilson was a Fascist in Democrat clothing.

Doesn't change things much.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

These maritime disasters that no one remembers are fascinating. Like The General Slocum on the East River killing 1000 in 1904, or the Sultana killing 1700 in 1865.

The Titanic only claimed 1496 souls.

staghounds said...

I thought the post was about the Slocum, at first.

Firehand said...

Seems to be a rule: when something goes bad on a boat, it happens fast. And tends to be VERY bad.