June 15, 2011

The Day a "Tidal Wave" Struck Montrose Harbor, Chicago

After Bill posted about the 1954 seiche that struck Chicago, I became interested in learning more about the phenomenon and found this photo on eBay of the aftermath:

And this article from the Tribune:

The Big Wave
The Fateful Day Chicagoans Learned The Meaning Of `Seiche`
August 18, 1985|By Article by William M. Gordon.

When the last body was recovered from the lake 10 days later, a coroner`s jury could finally rule that the deaths had been caused by an act of God. It was small comfort for the bereaved. What had happened to their loved ones on the city`s lakefront was still unexplained and hard to believe. Without warning, a 10-foot wave had risen suddenly from a calm Lake Michigan and swept eight shore fishermen to their deaths on a hazy Saturday morning in June of 1954.

It was an unheard-of natural disaster. By Sunday morning, however, the newspapers had taught Chicago what to call the wave and how to pronounce its quaint French name: "seiche," pronounced saysh. But when it came to explaining what had caused the wave, reporters foundered in the half-explanations of weathermen who did not yet understand it themselves... (article continues here: The Big Wave)


clarendon park said...

I was very young then and just learned to fish on the piers, I didn't go that day, but the old guy who taught me too fish with a power line did, Larry was a real fisherman, everyday he was there. I've always missed him from that day on, he was always willing to help someone learn to fish. sadly he was swept off the pier that day.

bill Matteson said...

clarendon park I still have two power line set ups. what a great way to fish look for two other upcoming story's on the "horseshoe"

rigging training said...

That is a remarkable story. To say, these kinds of events happen like once every decade.

Anonymous said...

My Uncle Teddy died that day. His son (my cousin) was saved.

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Anonymous said...

My grandparents died in that they, had 11 children, I am the grandson. !
Many of Mae and Edward Gabriel children are living! I will never forget,the hardships the children ( aunts and uncles went threw)!god bless my grandparents


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