Wednesday, August 17, 2022


Marker Details

Historical Marker:

Steamboat Columbia Disaster, The

The marker is located is located in Pekin, under the IL 29 bridge crossing the Illinois River, on the west side of Gene Miller Park, facing the river.
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Tazewell County Historical Places Society and the Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:
On July 5, 1918, the steamboat Columbia sank upstream from this spot near what was then Wesley City. What began as one of the season's premier social events ended in tragedy.

The Pekin South Side Social Club sponsored the ornate sternwheeler's ill-fated voyage. Beginning in Kingston Mines, some 500 passengers boarded it for a trip to Al Fresco Amusement Park in Peoria. On the return trip, as festivities were in full swing, a hole was torn in the Columbia's hull and it sank. The deceased were brought to this riverfront for identification. Of the 87 who died, 57 were from Pekin.

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