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[Deaths, Disturbances,Disasters, and Disorders in Chicago]

Compiled by Reference Librarians Ellen O'Brien and Lyle Benedict
Municipal Reference Collection

1919, July 21: Dirigible (Balloon) Crash

[Dirigible in Grant Park]

Two passengers, a mechanic and 10 employees of the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank died when the dirigible Winged Foot Express burned and fell through the skylight of the bank. The craft had been conveying passengers between Grant Park and the White City Amusement Park on the South Side, when it caught fire at an altitude of 1,200 feet above downtown.

The pilot and chief mechanic parachuted to safety. Another passenger parachuted, broke both legs and died later. The other occupants of the balloon descended with the craft to their deaths. The City Council immediately proposed regulations banning the flying of flammable gas balloons over the populated parts of the city.


  Chicago (Ill.). City Council. Journal of the Proceedings. April 8, 1921 p.2230.
  (available online)

  Chicago Daily News Almanac. 1920. p.950.

  Chicago Daily Tribune.  June 22, 1919.
  Illinois Trust and Savings Bank. The Columns 
  [special memorial issue July 1919 Dirigible crash]
  (available online)

  Released 1996, Last Updated: 06/2001

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