Saturday, July 2, 2016


Steamer Columbia July 5, 1918

Story by TCM Ed Emmons

On what was suppose to be a day of celebration, ended with 87 people killed when the steamer Columbia sank near Creve Coeur. The Pekin South Side Social Club sponsored an Illinois River excursion heading from Kingston Mines to just north of Peoria. The steamer carrying over 500 men, women, and children hit a tree stump around 7:30 pm on July 5, 1918 and sank.

Of the 87 killed, 57 were from Pekin. July 5, 2016 marks the 98th Anniversary of that tragic event. The last known survivor from Pekin Lucille AdCock passed away at the age of 106 in 2006. Her two daughters, Pat Lowman, Bev Bowman along with grand daughter Lori Preston as well as other family members came to Pekin today to help mark the event. 

Members of the family of Survivor Lucille AdCock pose near the Spirit of Columbia near the River Front Park Saturday.

Bodies from the disaster arrived at the Pekin river front by wagon, and boats to where the Memorial sits today for identification. Survivors were brought back by train.

Daughters of Lucille AdCock (right) along with Pekin womens Club members lay flowers at the marker near the Pekin river front Saturday. 

Left to right: Museum President and Director Christal Dagit as well as a past Women's Club President, Marcille Frevert, also a past Pekin Women's Club President, Bev Bowman, and Pat Lowman, both of whom are Lucille AdCock's daughters lay flowers at the Columbia Memorial Saturday.

Also on the Museum's agenda today was the drawing for 3 flags that were raffled off as part of a fund raiser for the Museum. The 13 Star flags (replica's) were won by Joel Fitzanko, John Kriegsman, Jan Brown, and Sue Milaccio. Sue will donate her flag the South Pekin Grade School. The original 13 Star Flag was sewn by Betsy Ross who was hired By George Washington.

A winner for one of 3 13 Star flags is drawn by Joyce McCloud