HotFreeBooks.com
Complete Story of the San Francisco Horror
by Richard Linthicum
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The city was put under martial law, company C of Petaluma having been called to assist the local company in preserving order. Many deputy sheriffs and special police were also sworn in, but no trouble of any kind occurred.

The relief committee was active and well managed and all in need of assistance received it promptly. The work that required the principal attention of the authorities was removal of the wreckage in order to search for the bodies of those missing and known to have perished.

Forty marines under command of Captain Holcombe arrived from Mare Island and did splendid work in assisting in the search. Forty-two bodies were buried in one day and the total dead and missing numbered upward of 100.

Santa Rosa, in proportion to its size, suffered worse than San Francisco. Mr. Griggs, who was in the employ of a large firm at Santa Rosa, tells a story which sufficiently proves the earthquake's fury, so great as to practically reduce the town to ruin. In addition to the death roll a large number of persons were missing and a still greater number were wounded.

As in the case of San Francisco, an admirable organization had the situation well in hand. Forty sailors from Mare Island, fully equipped with apparatus, were at work, while volunteer aid was unstinted.

Santa Rosa suffered the greatest disaster in her history, but the indomitable spirit of her people was shown all along the line. Even so early as Friday an announcement was made that the public schools and the college would open as usual on Monday morning, the buildings having been inspected and found to be safe.

At Agnews the cupola over the administration department went down and all the wards in that part of the building collapsed. Twelve attendants were killed and Dr. Kelly, second assistant physician, was crushed to death. There were 1,100 patients in the hospital. C. L. Seardee, secretary of the state commission in lunacy, who was in Agnews and attending to official business, declared that it was a marvel that many more were not killed. Dr. T. W. Hatch, superintendent of the state hospitals for insane, was in charge of the work of relief.

Friday morning 100 patients were transferred to the Stockton asylum. Forty or fifty patients escaped.

Dr. Clark, superintendent of the San Francisco County Hospital, was one of the first to give relief to the injured at Agnews. He went there in an automobile, taking four nurses with him, and materially assisted the remaining members of the staff to organize relief measures.

Tents were set up in the grounds of the institution, and the injured as well as the uninjured cared for. A temporary building was erected to house the patients.

The St. Rose and Grand hotels at Santa Rosa collapsed and buried all the occupants. Thirty-eight bodies were taken from the ruins. There were 10,000 homeless men, women and children huddled together about Santa Rosa. As the last great seismic tremor spent its force in the earth, the whole business portion tumbled into ruins. The main street was piled many feet deep with the fallen buildings.

The destruction included all of the county buildings. The four story courthouse, with its dome, is a pile of broken masonry. What was not destroyed by the earthquake was swept by fire. The citizens deserted their homes. Not even their household goods were taken. They made for the fields and hills to watch the destruction of one of the most beautiful cities of the west.

C. A. Duffy of Owensboro, Ky., who was in Santa Rosa, was the only one out of several score to escape from the floor in which he was quartered in the St. Rose hotel at Santa Rosa. He went to Oakland on his motor cycle after he was released and told a thrilling story of his rescue and the condition of affairs in general at Santa Rosa.

Mr. Duffy said when the shock came he rushed for the stairway, but the building was swaying and shaking so that he could make no headway, and he turned back. He threw himself in front of the dresser in his room, trusting to that object to protect him from the falling timbers. This move saved his life. The dresser held up the beams which tumbled over him, and these in turn protected him from the falling mass of debris.

"I was imprisoned five hours," said Mr. Duffy, "before being rescued. Three times I tried to call and the rescuers heard me, but could not locate my position from the sound of my voice, and I could hear them going away after getting close to me.

"Finally I got hold of a lath from the ruins around me, poked it through a hole left by the falling of a steam pipe, and by using it and yelling at the same time finally managed to show the people where I was.

"There were about 300 people killed in the destruction of the three hotels.

"The business section of the place collapsed to the ground almost inside of five minutes. Then the fire started and burned Fourth street from one end to the other, starting at each end and meeting in the middle, thus sweeping over the ruins and burning the imprisoned people.

"I saw two arms protruding from one part of the debris and waving frantically. There was so much noise, however, that the screams could not be heard. Just then, as I looked, the flames swept over them and cruelly finished the work begun by the earthquake. The sight sickened me and I turned away."

Fort Bragg, one of the principal lumbering towns of Mendocino county, was almost totally destroyed as a result of a fire following the earthquake of April 18.

The bank and other brick buildings were leveled as a result of the tremors and within a few hours fire completed the work of devastation. But one person of the 5,000 inhabitants was killed, although scores were injured.

Eureka, another large town in the same county, fifty miles from Fort Bragg, was practically undamaged, although the quake was distinctly felt there.

Relief expeditions were sent to Fort Bragg from surrounding towns and villages and the people of the ruined area were well cared for.

The town of Tomales was converted into a pile of ruins. All of the large stores were thrown flat. The Catholic church, a new stone structure, was also ruined. Many ranch houses and barns went down. Two children, Anita and Peter Couzza, were killed in a falling house about a mile from town.

The towns of Healdsburg, Geyserville, Cloverdale, Hopland, and Ukiah were almost totally destroyed. The section in which they were located is the country as far north as Mendocino and Lake counties and as far west as the Pacific ocean. These are frontier counties, and have not as large towns as farther south. In every case the loss of life and property was shocking.

At Los Banos heavy damage was done. Several brick buildings were wrecked. The loss was $75,000.

Brawley, a small town on the Southern Pacific, 120 miles south of Los Angeles, was practically wiped out by the earthquake. This was the only town in southern California known to have suffered from the shock.

Buildings were damaged at Vallejo, Sacramento, and Suisun. At the latter place a mile and a half of railroad track is sunk from three to six feet. A loaded passenger train was almost engulfed.

R. H. Tucker, in charge of the Lick observatory, near San Jose, said: "No damage was done to the instruments or the buildings of the observatory by the earthquake."

At Santa Cruz the courthouse and twelve buildings were destroyed. Contrary to reports, there must have been a tidal wave of some size, for three buildings were carried away on Santa Cruz beach.

The Moreland academy, a Catholic institution at Watsonville, was badly damaged, but no lives lost.

In a Delmonte hotel a bridal couple from Benson, Ari.—Mr. and Mrs. Rouser—were killed in bed by chimneys falling.

At 12:33 o'clock on the afternoon following the San Francisco quake Los Angeles experienced a distinct earthquake shock of short duration. Absolutely no damage was done, but thousands of people were badly frightened.

Men and women occupants of office buildings, especially the tall structures, ran out into the streets, some of them hatless. Many stores were deserted in like manner by customers and clerks. The shock, however, passed off in a few minutes, and most of those who had fled streetwards returned presently.

The San Francisco horror has strung the populace here to a high tension, and a spell of sultry weather serves to increase the general nervousness.



CHAPTER XV.

DESTRUCTION OF GREAT STANFORD UNIVERSITY.

California's Magnificent Educational Institution, the Pride of the State, Wrecked by Quake—Founded by the Late Senator Leland Stanford as a Memorial to His Son and Namesake—Loss $3,000,000.

One of the most deplorable features of the great California calamity was the destruction of the Leland Stanford, Jr., University, situated at Palo Alto.

The magnificent buildings, including a beautiful memorial hall erected by Mrs. Stanford to the memory of her husband and son, were practically wrecked.

Leland Stanford University was one of the most richly endowed, most architecturally beautiful, and best equipped institutions of learning in the world. Mrs. Jane Stanford, widow of the school's founder, in 1901 gave it outright $30,000,000—$18,000,000 in gilt edged bonds and securities and $12,000,000 in an aggregate of 100,000 acres of land in twenty-six counties in California. This, with what the university had received from Leland Stanford himself, made its endowment the enormous sum of $34,000,000 besides its original capital, and on the death of Mrs. Stanford this was raised to $36,000,000.

In a way the real founder of the university was a young boy, Leland Stanford, Jr. On his death bed he was asked by his parents what he would like them to do with the vast fortune which would have been his had he lived. He replied he would like them to found a great university where young men and women without means could get an education, "for," he added, "that is what I intended all along to do before I knew I was going to die."

The dying wish was carried out.

The foundation stone was laid on the nineteenth anniversary of the boy's birth, and in a few years there sprang into existence at Palo Alto, about thirty-three miles southeast of San Francisco, the "Leland Stanford University for Both Sexes," with the colleges, schools, seminaries of learning, mechanical institutes, museums, galleries of art, and all other things necessary and appropriate to a university of high degree, with the avowed object of "qualifying students for personal success and direct usefulness in life."

The architecture was a modification of the Moorish and Romanesque, with yet a strong blending of the picturesque mission type, which has come down from the early days of Spanish settlement in California. Driving up the avenue of palms from the university entrance to the quadrangle, one was faced by the massive, majestic memorial arch. Augustus St. Gaudens, the great sculptor, embodied his noblest conceptions in the magnificent frieze which adorned the arch.

However beautiful the other buildings, they were easily surpassed by the marvelous Memorial Church, which was built at a cost of $1,000,000.

The organ in this magnificent new edifice was the largest and most expensive in the world. It had nearly 3,000 pipes and forty-six stops. The church was 190 feet in length and 156 feet in width. It cost $840,000.

The substantial magnificence of Memorial Church was followed in every line of the university's program. The assembly hall and the library were adjoining buildings of the outer quadrangle. The former had a seating capacity of 1,700, and with its stage and dressing rooms possessed all the conveniences of a modern theater.

When Stanford University opened its doors almost fifteen years ago people thought the Pacific coast was too wild and woolly to support Stanford in addition to the big state university at Berkeley, Cal., and, as President David Starr Jordan remarked: "It was the opinion in the east that there was as much room for a new university in California as for an asylum of broken down sea captains in Switzerland."

But Stanford grew steadily and rapidly, until last year its attendance was more than 1,600. Its president is David Starr Jordan.

The gateway to the university is opposite the town of Palo Alto, which has a population of 4,000. It is surrounded by part of its endowment, the magnificent Palo Alto estate of seventy-three hundred acres. The value of the total endowment is estimated at $35,000,000. The university buildings are the most beautiful group of public buildings in America. They are but parts of one plan, and are constructed of Santa Clara Valley brown sandstone throughout—beautiful and restful in color and in pleasing contrast to the walls of green of the surrounding hills and the great campus in front. The buildings of the university are not piled sky high, but with long corridors rise two stories, for the most part completely enclosing a beautiful quadrangle, in itself about a ninth of a mile long by eighty yards broad. The massive memorial arch in front, and the beautiful Memorial Church, with its cathedral-like interior, great arches and allegorical windows, are the most imposing features of the group. Flanking the main buildings to the right is Encina Hall for the boys and Roble Hall for the girls, while across the campus are the new chemistry building and the museum. The large grounds are most carefully tended, and all the flowers and trees and shrubs that help beautify California find a home here. The walks and drives are delightful. There is no other alliance of buildings and surrounding grounds quite so pleasing as those of Stanford University. Tuition at the University is free, and the equipment is that naturally to be expected in the richest endowed university in the world. The students of the present semester number fifteen hundred. Financial figures mean but little in connection with a university—and yet since the new church is not describable, it may be mentioned that it cost $500,000. The buildings represent an expenditure of several million dollars.

To reach Palo Alto and Stanford University one has to travel from San Francisco thirty-three miles southward over the coast line of the Southern Pacific road. The town of Palo Alto is situated in the Santa Clara Valley—a riverless area of bottomland lying between San Francisco bay and the Santa Cruz range. The Santa Clara Valley is one of the various vales found here and there about the continent which proudly lay claim to the title "garden spot of the world."

The Memorial Church was Mrs. Stanford's gift to the university from her private fortune, was dedicated "to the glory of God and in loving memory of my husband, Leland Stanford." Its erection and administration were matters entirely apart from the regular university control. In terms of money, it probably cost over $1,000,000. Clinton Day of San Francisco drew the plans, which were complemented in a hundred ways, from the ideas of Mrs. Stanford herself and suggestions obtained by her from a scrutiny of old world cathedrals.

The building of the university was decided upon by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford in March, 1884, after their only son had died in Italy at the age of 16. Construction began, May 14, 1887, the anniversary of the boy's birth, and instruction October 1, 1891. As for the name, here is the joint declaration of the Stanfords: "Since the idea of establishing an institution of this kind came directly and largely from our son and only child, Leland, and in the belief that had he been spared to advise as to the disposition of our estate he would have desired the devotion of a large portion thereof to this purpose, we will that for all time to come the institution hereby founded shall bear his name and shall be known as the Leland Stanford Junior University." The object was declared to be "to qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life." On the title page of the first register ever printed and of every one since, appear these words of Senator Stanford's: "A generous education is the birthright of every man and woman in America." This and President Jordan's favorite quotation, "Die Luft der Freiheit weht"—"the winds of freedom are blowing," reveal somewhat the genius of the place.

The major study was the key to Stanford's elective system of instruction. The ordinary class divisions were not officially recognized. Even the students until recently made far less of the terms "freshmen," "sophomore," "junior" and "senior," than is made of them at most colleges. Each student elected at the start some major study, by which he steered his course for the four years, unless he changed "majors," which was not unusual or inadvisable during the first two years, for after they had "learned the ropes" students naturally gravitated to the department whose lines they are best fitted to follow. The Stanford departments numbered 23, as follows: Greek, Latin, German, Romantic languages, English, philosophy, psychology, education, history, economics, law, drawing, mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, physiology, zoology, entomology, geology and mining, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering.

The chosen site of the university was part of the great Palo Alto ranch of the Stanfords, devoted to the raising of grain, grapes and the famous trotting horses that were "the Senator's" hobby and California's pride. It resembled the Berkeley situation, in that the bay lies before it and the foothills of the Santa Cruz range behind, but the former is three miles away and the Palo Alto country is so level that only when one climbs the rolling slopes behind the college does he realize that the great inlet is so near. The view from the foothills, by the way, or better still from the crest of the mountain range farther back, where the Pacific ocean roars away to the westward and the valley and bay appear to divide the space between you and the mountains that cut the horizon to the east, is one of California's treasures.

The idea that made the Spanish mission the model for the Stanford buildings was translated into plans by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge. If ever there was an inspiration, says the visitor, this was one. Ever so many millions put into ever so ornate structures of the type prevalent elsewhere could not give these halls their appealing beauty. The main group of buildings formed two quadrangles. The 12 one-story members of the inner quadrangle were ready in 1891, and with the shops of the engineering departments, were for several years "the university." The 12 structures of the inner quad were increased to 13, for the church, provided for in the original scheme, but not begun until 1899, was added. Those inclosed—to quote statistics from the register—a court 586 feet long by 246 feet wide—31/4 acres—relieved from barrenness by big circular plots in which flourished palms, bamboos and a medley of other tropical translations. Penetrate 10 feet into one of these plots, which are always damp from much watering, and it takes little imagining to fancy yourself in an equatorial jungle. Surrounding this quadrangle was another—the "outer quad," of 14 buildings that were bigger and higher and considerably more impressive than the pioneers. The extreme length of the second quadrangle was 894 feet. All the way around it stretched the same colonnades, with their open-arched facades, that flanked the inner court. And in addition the outer and inner quadrangles were connected here and there with these same arched pathways, which subdivide the space between the two into little reproductions in miniature of the main plaza within. The colonnades, the tiled roofs and peculiar yellow sandstone of which all the quadrangles were constructed formed a combination which is not easily nor willingly forgotten.

Outside this central group, of which the great church and the memorial arch were badly wrecked by the quake, were enough other buildings used for the university proper to bring the number up to fifty or so. They include chemistry building, museum, library, gymnasium, engineering and two dormitories—one, Roble hall, for women; the other, Encina hall, for men.

The ruins wrought among those magnificent buildings by the frightful upheaval of the earth which wrenched some of them apart and threw down huge sections of walls aggregated in money value about $3,000,000.

The gymnasium and the library were wholly destroyed, nothing but skeletons of twisted steel remaining. The loss was half a million dollars on each. The Memorial church was left merely a frame, the mosaic work being torn down. The top of the 80-foot high memorial arch was crashed to the ground a heap of ruins. The original quadrangle was but little damaged. Many rare specimens from Egypt were lost in the museum, which was only partly destroyed. The fraternity lodge and Chi Psi Hall were a total loss. The engineering buildings were partly demolished. Encina Hall, where 200 boys stayed, was much shaken, and a large stone chimney crashed through the four floors, burying student Hanna, of Bradford, Pa. He was the only student killed. About twelve others were slightly hurt.

Roble Hall, women's dormitory, escaped without a scratch.

The damage at Palo Alto City amounts to $200,000. The damage in the neighboring towns was also heavy. San Mateo suffered more than Palo Alto. The Redwood city jail was torn down and all the prisoners escaped.

There was severe damage at Menlo Park. Burlingame suffered a loss of fully $100,000. Many houses were torn down there. The only other death in that vicinity was that of Fireman Otto Gordes, who was buried under the chimney of the power house at Palo Alto.

All the towns mentioned were left without light or power.

President David Starr Jordan of Stanford University announced that the university authorities would begin at once to repair the quadrangle, laboratories and dormitories. The Memorial church was sheltered to prevent further injury and work in all classes was resumed on April 23.



President Jordan said that it was unlikely any attempt would be made to restore the Memorial church, the memorial arch, the new library, the gymnasium or the museum of the university.

The great rival of the Leland Stanford, Jr., University is the University of California at Berkeley, a suburb of San Francisco. The effect of the earthquake there is tersely told by Professor Alpheus B. Streedain of the zoological department. There were eight severe shocks in succession.

"It all lasted about twenty-five seconds," said Professor Streedain, "and talk about being frightened, to be more expressive I thought hell was coming to earth. I rushed down to the street in my pajamas, and people were almost crazy. Chimneys were down all over. I was safe and trusted to God for any coming shocks. It was a mighty serious proposition, and one I shall never forget."

By a seeming miracle the big California University buildings that stand on the campus elevations escaped harm in the earthquake shock.

Recorder James Sutton of the University said: "I made a personal examination of the buildings on the campus and received reports from deans of the colleges and it appears that not one of the buildings was harmed in the slightest degree.

"Professor O'Neill of the chemistry department reported that the damage done to the instruments in the building did not aggregate more than $50. California Hall had not a mark on it to indicate that an earthquake occurred that morning. The other buildings were in the same condition. The Greek theater had not a scratch on its walls."

The town of Berkeley was not so fortunate as the university in the matter of damage sustained. No lives were lost, nor were there any notable disasters to buildings, but the aggregate damage in the shape of twisted structures, broken chimneys and falling walls was many thousands of dollars.

The destruction of so many magnificent buildings at the Leland Stanford, Jr., University was one of the worst calamities that has ever befallen an American educational institution.



CHAPTER XVI.

FIGHTING FIRE WITH DYNAMITE.

San Francisco Conflagration Eventually Checked by the Use of Explosives—Lesson of Baltimore Heeded in Coast City—Western Remnant of City in Residence Section Saved by Blowing Up Beautiful Homes of the Rich.

The remnant of San Francisco that escaped destruction in the four days conflagration owes its existence largely to the equally destructive force of dynamite. For four days one agent of destruction was employed against another.

The San Francisco conflagration was the second great fire in the United States at which dynamite was the chief agency of the fire fighters. Immediately following the first earthquake crash flames burst forth in numerous places, chiefly in the business section of the city. The fire department responded as promptly as possible under the circumstances for a new difficulty presented itself to the firemen. When the clang of the alarm sounded it was found that many of the engine houses had been damaged by the quake and so twisted that it was only with difficulty that the apparatus could be gotten out of the buildings. Upon arriving at the several scenes of the fire a worse calamity confronted them. The engines were attached to the hydrants and then followed the alarming cry:

"No water!"

The mains had been bursted, twisted and torn asunder by the violence of the shock, and only in rare instances could water be found wherewith to combat the rapidly spreading flames.

Then it was that the new method of checking conflagrations was brought into use, and the order was given to fight the flames with dynamite. Doubtless the officials of the department had freshly in mind the great Baltimore fire in which the city was saved only from total destruction by the use of an immense amount of explosives. Fire chief Denis Sullivan and his wife had both been injured by the earthquake, the former having been fatally hurt, so that in addition to the hopeless situation which confronted the firemen they were without the guidance of their principal leader.

There was little dynamite available in the city, but what was on hand was immediately brought into use and soon the terrific explosions added to the terror of the panic stricken people fleeing from the flames.

At 9 o'clock on the first day of the fire Mayor Schmitz sent a tug to Pinole for several cans of the explosive. He also sent a telegram to Mayor Mott of Oakland. He received this reply to his Oakland message: "Three engines and hose companies leave here immediately. Will forward dynamite as soon as obtained."

All outside nearby places were appealed to for dynamite and as fast as the explosive was received it was directed against large buildings in the path of the fire. The crash of falling walls mingled with the reverberations of the explosions, led many to believe that the earthquake shocks were being repeated. Here and there a fireman went down beneath the ruins as some huge building tumbled to the ground shattered by the destructive explosive. In the downtown districts the efforts of the dynamiters were wholly unavailing. The fire had gained such headway that it swept with a roar over every vacant space made by the explosive and continued its consuming way in every direction.

Better success was obtained in the residence district west on the second day of the fire. The widest thoroughfare in the city is Van Ness avenue in the heart of the fashionable residence section. There it was decided that an effort should be made to check the spread of the flames westward and save the many beautiful homes in the district between that avenue and the water line.

The co-operation of the artillery was secured and huge cannons were drawn to the avenue by the military horses to aid the dynamiters in blowing up the mansions of the millionaires on the west of Van Ness avenue in order to prevent the flames from leaping across the highway and starting on their unrestraining sweep across the western addition.

Every available pound of dynamite was hauled to that point and the sight was one of stupendous and appalling havoc as the cannons were trained on the palaces and the shot tore into the walls and toppled the buildings in crushing ruins. At other points the dynamite was used, and house after house, the dwellings of millionaires, was lifted into the air by the bellowing blast and dropped to the earth a mass of dust and debris.

The work was necessarily dangerous and many of the exhausted workers who kept working through a stretch of forty-eight hours without sleep and scarcely any food through force of instinctive heroism alone were killed while making their last desperate stand.

Many of the workers in placing the blasts, took chances that spelled injury or death. The fire line at 6 o'clock extended a mile along the east side of Van Ness avenue from Pacific street to Ellis. All behind this excepting the Russian Hill region and a small district lying along the north beach had been swept clean by the flames and the steel hulks of buildings and pipes and shafts and spires were dropped into a molten mass of debris like so much melted wax.

The steady booming of the artillery and the roar of the dynamite above the howl and cracking of the flames continued with monotonous regularity. Such noises had been bombarding the ears of the panic-stricken people since the earthquake of forty-eight hours before. They ceased to hear the sound and rush pell-mell, drowning their senses in a bedlam of their own creation. There seemed to be an irresistible power behind the flames that even the desperately heroic measures being taken at Van Ness avenue could not stay.

Hundreds of police, regiments of soldiers, and scores of volunteers were sent into the doomed district to inform the people that their homes were about to be blown up, and to warn them to flee. They heroically responded to the demand of law, and went bravely on their way trudging painfully over the pavements with the little they could get together.

Every available wagon that could be found was pressed into service to transport the powder from the various arsenals to the scene of the proposed destruction.

Then for hours the bursting, rending sounds of explosions filled the air. At 9 o'clock block after block of residences had been leveled to the ground, but the fire was eating closer and closer.

Then the explosives gave out. Even the powder in the government arsenals was exhausted long before noon. From that hour the flames raged practically unhindered.

Lieut. Charles C. Pulis, commanding the Twenty-fourth company of light artillery, was blown up by a charge of dynamite at Sixth and Jessie streets and fatally injured. He was taken to the military hospital at the Presidio. He suffered a fractured skull and several bones broken and internal injuries.

Lieut. Pulis placed a heavy charge of dynamite in a building on Sixth street. The fuse was imperfect and did not ignite the charge as soon as was expected. Pulis went to the building to relight it and the charge exploded while he was in the building.

The deceased officer was a graduate of the artillery school at Fortress Monroe, Va. He was 30 years of age.

The effectiveness of dynamite was proved on the fourth and last day of the conflagration, when the flames were finally checked by the use of that explosive.

Three heroes saved San Francisco—what was left of it. They were the dynamite squad that threw back the fire demon at Van Ness avenue.

When the burning city seemed doomed and the flames lit the sky further and further to the west, Admiral McCalla sent a trio of his most trusted men from Mare Island with orders to check the conflagration at any cost of life or property.

With them they brought a ton and a half of gun cotton. The terrific power of the explosion was equal to the maniac determination of the fire. Captain MacBride was in charge of the squad. Chief Gunner Adamson placed the charges, and the third gunner set them off.

The thunderous detonations to which the terrified city listened all that dreadful Friday night meant the salvation of 300,000 lives. A million dollars' worth of property, noble residences and worthless shacks alike were blown to drifting dust, but that destruction broke the fire and sent the raging flames over their own charred path.

The whole east side of Van Ness avenue, from Golden Gate to Greenwich, was dynamited a block deep, though most of the structures stood untouched by sparks or cinders. Not one charge failed. Not one building stood upon its foundations.

Every pound of gun cotton did its work, and though the ruins burned, it was but feebly. From Golden Gate avenue north the fire crossed the wide street in but one place. That was the Claus Spreckels place, on the corner of California street. There the flames were writhing up the walls before the dynamiters could reach it. The charge had to be placed so swiftly and the fuse lit in such a hurry that the explosion was not quite successful from the trained viewpoint of the gunners. But though the walls still stood, it was only an empty victory for the fire, as bare brick and smoking ruins are poor food for flames.

Captain MacBride's dynamiting squad realized that a stand was hopeless except on Van Ness avenue. They could have forced their explosive further in the burning section, but not a pound of gun cotton could be or was wasted. The ruined block that met the wide thoroughfare formed a trench through the clustered structures that the conflagration, wild as it was, could not leap.

Engines pumping brine through Fort Madison from the bay completed the little work that the gun cotton had left, but for three days the haggard-eyed firemen guarded the flickering ruins.

The desolate waste straight through the heart of the city is a mute witness to the squad's effective work. Three men did this. They were ordered to save San Francisco. They obeyed orders, and Captain MacBride and his two gunners made history on that dreadful night.



CHAPTER XVII.

MISCELLANEOUS FACTS AND INCIDENTS.

Many Babies Born in Refuge Camps—Expressions of Sympathy from Foreign Nations—San Francisco's Famous Restaurants—Plight of Newspaper and Telegraph Offices.

In the refugee camps a number of babies were born under the most distressing and pathetic circumstances, the mothers in many cases being unattended by either husbands or relatives. In Golden Gate Park alone fifteen babies were born in one night, it was reported. The excitement and agony of the situation brought the little ones prematurely into the world. And equally remarkable was the fact that when all danger was over all of the mothers and the children of the catastrophe were reported to have withstood the untoward conditions and continued to improve and grow strong as if the conditions which surrounded them had been normal. This, undoubtedly, was in great part due to the care and kindness of the physicians and surgeons in the camps whose efforts were untiring and self-sacrificing for all who had been so suddenly surrendered to their care.

In an express wagon bumping over the brick piles and broken streets was a mother who gave birth to triplets in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park a week later. All the triplets were living and apparently doing well. In this narrow park strip where the triplets were born fifteen other babies came into the world on the same fateful night, and, strange as it seems, every one of the mothers and every one of the infants had been reported as doing well.

The following night thirteen more babies were born in the park Panhandle, and these, so far as the reports show, fared as well as those born the first night. In fact, the doctors and nurses reported that there had been no fatality among the earthquake babies or their unfortunate mothers. One trained nurse who accompanied a prominent doctor on his rounds the first night after the shock attended eight cases in which both mothers and children thrived. One baby was born in a wheelbarrow as the mother was being trundled to the park by her husband.

* * * * *

Expressions of sympathy and condolence on account of the great disaster were sent to the President of the United States from all over the world. Among the messages received within about 24 hours after the catastrophe were the following:

From the President of Guatemala—I am deeply grieved by the catastrophe at San Francisco. The president of Guatemala sends to the people of the United States through your eminence his expression of the most sincere grief, with the confidence that in such a lamentable misfortune the indomitable spirit of your people will newly manifest itself—that spirit which, if great in prosperity, is equally great in time of trial.

President of Mexico—Will your excellency be so kind as to accept the expression of my profound and deep sympathy with the American people on account of the disaster at San Francisco, which has so affected the American people.

President of Brazil—I do myself the honor of sending to you the expression of the profound grief with which the government and people of the United States of Brazil have read the news of the great misfortune which has occurred at San Francisco.

Emperor of Japan—With assurances of the deepest and heartiest sympathy for the sufferers by the terrible earthquake.

King Leopold of Belgium—I must express to you the deep sympathy which I feel in the mourning which the terrible disaster at San Francisco is causing the whole American people.

President of Cuba—In the name of the government and people of Cuba, I assure you of the deep grief and sympathy with which they have heard of the great misfortune which has overtaken San Francisco.

Kirkpatrick, acting premier of New Zealand—South Australia deplores the appalling disaster which has befallen the state of California and extends heartfelt sympathy to sufferers.

Viceroy of India—My deepest sympathy with you and people of United States in terrible catastrophe at San Francisco.

Governor Talbot of Victoria, Australia—On behalf of the people of Victoria, I beg to offer our heartfelt sympathy with the United States on the terrible calamity at San Francisco.

President of Switzerland—The federal council is profoundly affected by the terrible catastrophe which has visited San Francisco and other California cities, and I beg you to receive the sincere expressions of its regret and the sympathy of the Swiss people as a whole, who join in the mourning of a sister republic.

Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria—I beg to assure you, Mr. President, of my most sincere sympathy with your land in its sorrow because of the terrible earthquake at San Francisco, and I beg to offer you personally, Mr. President, my heartfelt condolences.

Prince Henry of Prussia—Remembering American hospitality, which is still so fresh in my memory, I hereby wish to express my deepest sympathy on behalf of the terrible catastrophe which has befallen the thriving city of San Francisco and which has destroyed so many valuable lives therein. Still hope that news is greatly exaggerated.

Premier Bent of South Wales—New South Wales and Victoria sympathize with California suffering disaster.

Count Witte—The Russian members of the Portsmouth conference, profoundly moved by the sad tidings of the calamity that has befallen the American people, whose hospitality they recently enjoyed, beg your excellency to accept and to transmit to citizens of United States the expression of their profound and heartfelt sympathy.

* * * * *

The cathedral of San Francisco with the residences attached, together with the residence of the archbishop, were saved. Sacred Heart College and Mercy Hospital, together with the various schools attached, were destroyed.

The churches damaged by the earthquake are:

St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo park.

St. James' church.

St. Bridget's church.

St. Dominick's church.

Church of the Holy Cross.

St. Patrick's church at San Jose.

Those destroyed by fire were:

Churches of SS. Ignatius, Boniface, Joseph, Patrick, Brendan, Rose, Francis, Mission Dolores, French church, Slavonian church and the old Cathedral of St. Mary's.

The Custom House with its records was saved. It was in one of the little islands which the fire passed by. All the city records which were in the vaults of the city hall were saved. The city hall fell, but the ruins did not burn. By this bit of luck the city escapes great confusion in property claims and adjustments.

Millet's famous picture, "The Man with the Hoe," was saved with other paintings and tapestries in the collection of William H. Crocker.

Mr. Crocker, who was in New York, said about the rescue of the paintings (Head is Mr. Crocker's butler):

"I am much gratified at the devotion Head displayed in saving my pictures and tapestries at such a time. Besides the 'Man with the Hoe,' I have pictures by Tenniel, Troyon, Paul Potter, Corot, Monet, Renoir, Puvis de Chavannes, Pissaro, and Constable. The tapestries consisted of six Flemish pieces dating from the sixteenth century, of which the finest is a 'Resurrection.' It is a splendid example of tissue d'or work, and was once the property of the duc d'Albe."

On April 20 Bishop Coadjutor Greer of the Protestant Episcopal church of New York announced that this prayer had been authorized to be used in the churches of that diocese for victims of the earthquake:

"O Father of Mercy and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need, look down from heaven, we humbly beseech thee, behold, visit and relieve thy servants to whom such great and grievous loss and suffering have come through the earthquake and the fire.

"In thy wisdom thou hast seen fit to visit them with trouble and to bring distress upon them. Remember, O Lord, in mercy and imbue their souls with patience under this affliction.

"Though they be perplexed and troubled on every side, save them from despair and suffer not their faith and trust in thee to fail.

"In this our hour of darkness, when thou hast made the earth to tremble and the mountains thereof to shake, be thou, O God, their refuge and their strength and their present help in trouble.

"And for as much as thou alone canst bring light out of darkness and good out of evil, let the light of thy loving countenance shine upon them through the cloud; let the angel of thy presence be with them in their sorrow, to comfort and support them, giving strength to the weak, courage to the faint and consolation to the dying.

"We ask it in the name of him who in all our afflictions is afflicted with us, thy son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen!"

Mrs. A. G. Pritchard, wife of a San Francisco manufacturer, who, with her husband, was on her way home from Europe to San Francisco, became suddenly insane at the Union Station in Pittsburgh Pa., when she alighted to get some fresh air.

The Pritchards were hurrying to San Francisco with the expectation of finding their three children dead in the ruins of their home.

Landing in New York April 24, the Pritchards learned that their home had been destroyed before any of the occupants had had an opportunity to get out.

Mr. Pritchard said that his information was that the governess was dying in a hospital, and from what he has heard, he had no hope of seeing his children alive.

At Philadelphia a physician told Mr. Pritchard that his wife was bordering on insanity. At the station Mrs. Pritchard shrieked and moaned until she was put into the car, where a physician passenger volunteered to care for the case.

On the afternoon of the fire the police broke open every saloon and corner grocery in the saved district and poured all malt and spirituous liquors into the gutters.

San Francisco was famous for the excellence of its restaurants. Many of these were known wherever the traveler discussed good living. Among them were the "Pup" and Marschand's in Stockton street; the "Poodle Dog," one of the most ornate distinctive restaurant buildings in the United States; Zinkand's and the Fiesta, in Market street; the famous Palace grill in the Palace hotel; and scores of bohemian resorts in the old part of San Francisco. They are no more.

Down near the railroad tracks at what used to be Townsend street, food was mined from the ruins as a result of a fortuitous discovery made by Ben Campbell, a negro. While in search of possible treasure he located the ruins of a grocery warehouse, which turned out to be a veritable oven of plenty. People gathered to this place and picked up oysters, canned asparagus, beans, and fruit all done to a turn and ready for serving.

For a time there was marked indignation in San Francisco caused by the report that the San Franciscans, in their deep-grounded prejudice, had discriminated against the Chinamen in the relief work. This report was groundless. The six Chinese companies, or Tongs, representing enormous wealth, had done such good work that but little had been necessary from the general relief committee, and, besides, the Chinese needed less. No Chinaman was treated as other than a citizen entitled to all rights, which cannot be said under normal conditions on the Pacific coast. Gee Sing, a Chinese member of the Salvation Army, had been particularly efficient in caring for his countrymen.

The San Francisco daily newspapers, all of which were burned out, were prompt in getting in shape to serve their subscribers. On Thursday morning, the day after the fire, the best showing the morning journals could make was a small combination sheet bearing the unique heading, "Call-Chronicle-Examiner." It was set up and printed in the office of the Oakland Tribune, gave a brief account of the great disaster, and took an optimistic view of the future of the stricken city. The day after the papers, though still printed in Oakland, appeared under their own headings and with a few illustrations, showing scenes in the streets of San Francisco.

S. M. Pencovic, a San Francisco druggist, on arriving in Chicago from Paris, said he had a premonition of disaster, which impelled him to hasten home, several days before the earthquake. He left for San Francisco to search for his father and mother, who are among the missing.

"For several days I felt as if something awful was about to happen," said he. "So completely did the feeling take possession of me that I could not sleep at night. At last I could stand it no longer, and I left Paris April 14, four days before the upheaval.

"I embarked on La Savoie at Havre. I tried to send a wireless message, but could receive no answer.

"The day after the catastrophe the captain of the ship called me to his cabin and told me he had just received a wireless message that San Francisco had been destroyed by an earthquake. I was not surprised."

At the Presidio, where probably 50,000 people were camped, affairs were conducted with military precision. Here those who are fortunate enough to be numbered among the campers were able now and then to obtain a little water with which to moisten their parched lips, while rations, owing to the limited supply, were being dealt out in the smallest quantities that all may share a bit. The refugees stood patiently in line and the marvelous thing about it all was that not a murmur was heard. This characteristic is observable all over the city. The people were brave and patient and the wonderful order preserved by them had been of great assistance. Though homeless and starving they were facing the awful calamity with resigned fortitude.

In Oakland the day after the quake messages were stacked yards high in all the telegraph offices waiting to be sent throughout the world. Conditions warranted utter despair and panic, but through it all the people were trying to be brave and falter not.

Oakland temporarily took the place of San Francisco as the metropolis of the Pacific coast, and there the finance kings, the bankers and merchants of the San Francisco of yesterday were gathering and conferring and getting into shape the first plans for the rebuilding of the burned city and preventing a widespread financial panic that in the first part of the awful catastrophe seemed certain.

Resting on a brick pile in Howard street was a young Swedish woman, whose entire family had perished and who had succeeded in saving from the ruins of her home only the picture of her mother. This she clutched tightly as she struggled on to the ferry landing—the gateway to new hope for the refugees. A little farther along sat a man with his wife and child. He had had a good home and business. Wrapped in a newspaper he held six hand-painted dinner plates. They were all he could dig out of the debris of his home, and by accident they had escaped breakage.

"This is what I start life over again with," he said, and his wife tried to smile as she took her child's hand to continue the journey. Thousands of these instances are to be found.

Owing to the energetic efforts of General Funston and the officials of the Spring Valley Water Company the sufferers in all parts of the city were spared at least the horrors of a water famine. As soon as it was learned that some few mercenaries who were fortunate enough to have fresh water stored in tanks in manufacturing districts were selling it at 50 cents per glass, the authorities took prompt action and hastened their efforts to repair the mains that had been damaged by the earthquake shocks.

John Singleton, a Los Angeles millionaire, his wife and her sister, were staying at the Palace Hotel when the earthquake shock occurred.

Mr. Singleton gave the following account of his experience: "The shock wrecked the rooms in which we were sleeping. We managed to get our clothes on and get out immediately. We had been at the hotel only two days and left probably $3,000 worth of personal effects in the room.

"After leaving the Palace we secured an express wagon for $25 to take us to the Casino near Golden Gate Park, where we stayed Wednesday night. On Thursday morning we managed to get a conveyance at enormous cost and spent the entire day in getting to the Palace. We paid $1 apiece for eggs and $2 for a loaf of bread. On these and a little ham we had to be satisfied."



John A. Floyd, a Pullman conductor on the Northwestern railroad, living in Chicago, gave a lengthy and vivid description of the quake and its effects.

"If I live a thousand lifetimes I will never forget that night," he said. "Words are too feeble, entirely too inadequate, to portray the fear that clutched the human breast. The most graphic pen could not faithfully portray the sickening horror of that night.

"Plaster falling from the walls in my room in the fourth floor of the Terminal Hotel in Market street aroused me from a sound sleep about 5 o'clock in the morning. I sat up in bed, and got out onto the floor. The building was shaking like a reed in a storm, literally rocking like a hammock. It was impossible for me to stand. Another shock threw me heavily to the floor. I remained there for what seemed hours to me. Then I crawled on hands and knees to the door, and succeeded in unlocking it with much difficulty. I was in my night clothes, and without waiting to even pull on a pair of shoes I made my way down those swaying stairs as rapidly as I could.

"When I reached the street it was filled with half mad unclothed men, women, and children, running this way and that, hugging and fighting each other in their frenzy.

"The loud detonations under the earth enhanced the horror. The ground kept swaying from side to side, then roaring like the waves of the ocean, then jolting in every conceivable direction.

"Buildings were parting on all sides like egg shells, the stone and brick and iron raining down on the undressed hundreds in the streets, killing many of them outright and pinning others down to die slowly of torture or be roasted alive by the flames that sprang up everywhere around us.

"When things had quieted somewhat, I went back to the hotel to dress, and discovered that the entire wall of my room had fallen out.

"I succeeded in finding most of my clothes, and after donning them hastily went back to the work of rescue. When I got back to the street from the hotel the entire district seemed to be in flames. Fire seemed to break out of the very earth on all sides of Market street, eating up buildings as if they were so many buildings of paper. A big wholesale drug house on Seventh street exploded, throwing sparking and burning embers high into the air. These fiery pieces descended on the half-clad people in the streets, causing them to run madly for places of safety, almost crazy with the pain.

"Soon the improvised hearses began to arrive. Out of every building bodies were taken like carcasses out of a slaughter pen. Automobiles, carriages, express wagons, private equipages, and vehicles of all kinds were pressed into service and piled high with the bodies. Everywhere these wagon loads of dead bodies were being dragged through the streets, offering a spectacle to turn the most stout-hearted sick.

"With three or four sailors I went up to Seventh street to assist a number of men, women and children who had become entombed under the debris of a flat building.

"They were so tightly wedged in that we were unable to offer them any help and had to stand by and hear their cries as they were slowly roasted to death by the ever increasing flames. I can hear the cries of one of those women ringing in my ears yet—I guess I always will.

"I guess pretty nearly every bone in her body was broken. As we stood by helplessly she cried over and over again:

"'Don't let me die like this. Don't let me roast. I'm cooking, cooking alive. Kill me! Shoot me—anything! For God's sake have mercy!'

"Others joined her in the cry and begged piteously to be quickly killed before the flames reached them.

"By this time the street level had become so irregular that it was almost impossible to drag the dead wagons over them.

"Dynamite was then brought into use and the buildings were blown up like firecrackers. Flying debris was everywhere in the air, and another mad rush for safety was made, the almost naked people falling over each other in their frantic efforts to get out of the danger.

"While this excitement was at its height a man dressed only in his underclothing made his appearance among the people in a light gasoline runabout. At top speed he ran into a crowd of women, knocking them down and injuring at least a dozen. Then he turned back and charged them again. He had gone mad as a result of the scenes of death and destruction.

"Some one called for a gun, hoping that they might stop the fellow by shooting him. None was to be had, and after a desperate fight with sailors who succeeded in getting into the machine he was overpowered and turned loose.

"Everybody in the crowd, I believe, was temporarily crazy. Men and women ran helter-skelter in nothing but their night gowns, and many of them did not have on that much."

Mrs. J. B. Conaty, of Los Angeles, was in Oakland at the time of the shock and felt the vibrations. "The suddenness with which it came upon the people," she said, "was the most appalling thing. When I looked across the bay at 'Frisco from the Oakland shore the city seemed peacefully at sleep, like a tired baby beside its mother. With my next glance at the city I was turned almost sick.

"The ground was shaking beneath me and I thought that the end of the world was at hand. Buildings were falling to the right and left. The earth was groaning and rocking, and flames were shooting high into the sky. Soon the sound of the dynamiting reached us and buildings began to fly in the air like fireworks.

"The sea lashed itself into a fury and beat upon the shores as if it too sought to escape nature's wrath. Over across the bay all was disorder. In the glare of the blood red flames reflected against sky and sea, white robed, half naked men and women could be seen wildly running about.

"Some of them ran to the water's edge and threw themselves in and others less frantic had to battle with them to haul them out.

"It seemed as if every man, woman and child in 'Frisco was running toward the ferry docks. When the boat arrived on our side of the shore it was packed with men and women, none of whom seemed to be in their right senses. Many of them jumped from the boat as soon as it was made fast and ran at top speed through the streets of Oakland until forced to fall through sheer exhaustion.

"One woman in the crowd had nothing on but a night gown. In her arms she carried a 3-year-old girl who was hanging tightly to a rag doll and seemed to be the only one in the vast crowd that was unafraid. Where all these people went to I have no idea.

"I stood on the Oakland side watching 'Frisco devoured. In a space of time so short that it all seems to me like a dream now the whole city, slumbering peacefully but a moment before, presented a perdition beside which Dante's inferno seems to pale into insignificance."

The looters early began operations in the stricken city. The vandal thinking that law and order had gone in the general crash filled his pockets as he fled.

It was the relic hunter who opened the door to the looter. The spirit which sends the tourist tapping about the ruins of the Parthenon, awoke in San Francisco. Idle and curious men swarmed into the city, poking about in the ruins in the hope of finding something worth carrying away as a souvenir of the greatest calamity of modern times.

Scores of men and women were seen digging in the ruins of one store. They were disinterring bits of crockery, china and glassware. Strangely enough, a great deal of this sort of ware had been protected by a wall which stood through quake and fire. One woman came toiling out over a pile of brick, covered with ashes and dust, her hair dishevelled and hands grimy, but she was perfectly happy.

"See," said she, "I found half a dozen cups and saucers as good as new. They are fine china and they will be worth more than ever now."

I asked her if she needed them.

"Oh, dear no!" said she, laughing. "I live over in Oakland. I just wanted them to keep as souvenirs!"

Some hard-hearted jokers were abroad also. Humor dies hard, and perhaps it is just as well that it does, for the six men who started the bogus bread lines would have needed much of it if the soldiers had caught them.

The people of San Francisco had become accustomed to eating out of the hand. They put in long hours every day standing in line waiting for something to be given out. Many of them did not know what was being distributed, but they knew it would be good, so they fell into line and waited.

There were thousands of people in San Francisco who fell into a line every time they saw one. They had the bread line habit.

This impressed itself on these six men, for they went about the town and every time they found a promising spot they lined up and looked expectant. Men came and fell in behind. Women with baskets joined the brigade and in ten minutes these sidewalk comedians had a string a block long behind them and more coming every minute. Then the six jokers slipped away and left the confiding ones to wait. It was a mean trick.

The stranger and the wayfarer was made to feel at home anywhere in Oakland and the luxury of sleeping within four walls was not denied to any one. Only a few hardy men who were willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of the weaklings went without covering. The people stripped the portieres and hangings from their walls, tore up their carpets and brought in every spare piece of cloth which would do for a night's covering. The women and children who preferred to stay indoors and on hard floors were taken care of in the public halls, the school buildings, and the basements of the churches. Beds were improvised of sheets and hay and the weaker refugees, who were beginning to go down under the strain, slept comfortably. Oakland did nobly. People shared their beds with absolute strangers, and while the newcomers in the park camps were dead to the world, those who came the day before cheered up considerably. One camp of young men got out a banjo and sang for the entertainment of the crowd.



CHAPTER XVIII.

DISASTER AS VIEWED BY SCIENTISTS.

Scientists are Divided Upon the Theories Concerning the Shock That Wrought Havoc in the Golden Gate City—May Have Originated Miles Under the Ocean—Growth of the Sierra Madre Mountains May Have Been the Cause.

The subterranean movement that caused the earthquake at San Francisco was felt in greater or less degree at many distant places on the earth's surface. The scientists in the government bureaus at Washington believe that the subterranean land slide may have taken place in the earthquake belt in the South American region or under the bed of the Pacific Ocean. San Francisco got the result of the wave as it struck the continent, and almost simultaneously the instruments in Washington reported a decided tremor of the earth, and the oscillations of the needle continued until about noon.

At the weather bureau the needle was taken from the pivot and had to be replaced before the record could be continued. Other government stations throughout the country also noted the earthquake shock, and they agree in a general way that the disturbance began according to the record of the seismograph at nineteen minutes and twenty seconds after 8 o'clock. This would be the same number of minutes and seconds after 5 o'clock at San Francisco, which accords entirely with the time of the disaster on the Pacific Coast.

There seems to be no reason to believe the earthquake shock in San Francisco had any direct connection with the eruption of Vesuvius. That eruption had been recorded from day to day on the delicate instruments established by the weather bureau at the lofty station on Mount Weather, high up in the Virginia hills. This eruption of Vesuvius did not disturb the seismograph even at the period of great activity, but apparently Vesuvius and Mount Weather were like the lofty poles of two wireless telegraph stations, and between them there passed electrical magnetic waves encircling the earth. The records made at Mount Weather were of the most distinct character, but they showed disturbances in the air of a magnetic type and did not indicate any earthquake.

In explaining the San Francisco trembling, C. W. Hays, the director of geology in the geological survey, explained that earthquakes are, according to modern scientific theory, caused by subterranean land slides, the result of a readjustment as between the solid and the molten parts of the earth's interior.

"The earth," he said, "is in a condition of unstable equilibrium so far as its insides are concerned. The outer crust is solid, but after you get down sixty or seventy miles the rocks are nearly in a fluid condition owing to great pressure upon them. They flow to adjust themselves to changed conditions, but as the crust cools it condenses, hardens, and cracks, and occasionally the tremendous energy inside is manifested on the surface.

"When the semi-fluid rocks in the interior change their position there is a readjustment of the surface like the breaking up of ice in a river, and the grinding causes the earthquake shocks which are familiar in various parts of the world. The earthquake at San Francisco was probably local, although the center of the disturbance may have been thousands of miles away from that city."

Prof. Willis L. Moore, the chief of the weather bureau, in talking of the records of the earthquake in his department, said:

"We have a perfect record of this earthquake, although we are thousands of miles away from the actual tremor itself. There were premonitory tremblings, which began at 8:19 and continued until 8:23 or thereabout. Then there was severe shock which threw the pen off the cylinder.

"According to our observations here there was a to and fro motion of the earth in the vicinity of Washington amounting to about four-tenths of an inch at the time of its greatest oscillation. These movements kept up in a constantly decreasing ratio until nearly half an hour after noon.

"San Francisco may have been a long way away from the real earthquake and merely have been within the radius of severe action so as to produce disastrous results. It is quite likely, in fact, that the greatest disturbance may have taken place beneath the bed of the Pacific Ocean.

"If it resulted in an oscillation of the earth of only a few inches there would be no likelihood of a great tidal wave. If, however, there was produced a radical depression in the bed of the ocean, the sinking of an island, or some other extraordinary disturbance, a tidal wave along the Pacific Coast would almost certainly be one of the events of this great disaster.

"There are apparently three distinct weak spots in the United States, which are peculiarly subject to earthquake shocks, and we are likely sooner or later to hear from all of them in connection with the shock at San Francisco. There is one weak area along the southern Atlantic coast in the vicinity of Charleston, another is in Missouri, and the third includes the Pacific Coast from a point north of San Francisco down to and beyond San Diego."

In describing the instruments at the weather bureau which make the record of earthquakes, even when the movement is so small that the ordinary person does not recognize it, Prof. Moore said:

"The apparatus we have is a pen drawing a continuous line on a cylinder which revolves once every hour and is worked continuously by clockwork in an exact record of time. It moves in a straight line when there is no disturbance, and it jumps from right to left and back again when there are serious oscillations of the earth. The extent of these movements of the pen measures the grade of the oscillation. You may think it is a fantastic statement, but this seismographic pen is adjusted so delicately that it will register your step in its vicinity.

"The instrument is mounted on a solid stone foundation and what it registers is the effect of your weight pressing upon the earth. It is easy to see, therefore, that the record we have obtained of this earthquake shows a few preliminary tremblings, which seem to be premonitions, for about four minutes, then a great crash which threw the pen off the cylinder and finally a period of nearly four hours, during which there were slight tremblings of the earth, this latter period marking the readjustment after the actual shock."

Most of the scientists were inclined to believe that the boiling process in the interior of the earth, although it goes on continuously, is subject to periods of greater or less activity. This activity may be, however, purely local, according to the scientific theory, for otherwise there would be eruptions in all the active volcanoes of the earth at the same time, and there would be earthquakes in every one of the areas where there is liability to seismic disturbances.

One government scientist in discussing the San Francisco earthquake said: "If we could have been right here in the vicinity of Washington a few hundreds of thousands of millions of years ago, we should have seen earthquakes that were earthquakes. The Alleghanies were broken up by great convulsions of the earth, and it is probable that this North American continent of ours was rocked a foot or two at a time, causing a tremendous crash of matter and the reorganization of the world itself.

"The crust, while not necessarily thinner, is not so solid. In cooling it has cracked and left fissures or caverns or jumbled strata of softer material between harder rocks, so that it is peculiarly subject to earthquakes."

Maj. Clarence E. Dutton, U. S. A., retired, the most famous American expert on seismic disturbances, said it was probably the greatest earthquake that has occurred in this country since 1868. He declared that it undoubtedly would be followed by disturbances of less intensity in the same quarter. He stated most emphatically that the eruption of Vesuvius had no bearing whatsoever on the disturbance on the Pacific Coast.

J. Paul Goode, a professor in geology in the University of Chicago, attributes the cause of the Frisco earthquake to the Sierra Madre mountains, but not in a volcanic way, for he also claims that lava had nothing to do with the California shock. The shocks, he showed, can be attributed to mountains without volcanoes in their midst. The Sierra Madres are growing, he said, and for this reason they have shaken the city of San Francisco. He says that the gradual growing of mountains causes the underlying blocks of the earth's crust to slip up and down and shape the top of the earth in their vicinity when they fall any great distance.

His ideas upon the subject are: "I figure that the earthquake which caused so much damage in San Francisco came from what we call the focus of disturbance. This focus at San Francisco is seven miles below the surface of the earth. As the Sierra Madre mountains grow, a phenomenon which is constantly going on, the blocks of earth below change positions; as a large block falls a series of shocks travels, up and down much the same way as the rings in the water travel out from the point at which a pebble strikes. When the vibration reaches the surface crust a severe shaking of the country adjacent is the result.

"From the actions of the earth in April of 1892, when such a severe shock was felt in San Francisco, I have no doubt but that a second earthquake will follow closely upon the one of yesterday, as the second followed the first in 1892. In that year the first came upon the 19th of April and the second upon the 21st."

Of 948 earthquake shocks that have been recorded in California previous to 1887, 417 were most active in San Francisco. The seismographs which record the merest tremors and determine the place of the shock show that 344 have occurred since 1888. Half of the sum total have occurred in the vicinity of the gate city and for this reason it is believed that the severe shock of April 18 was the final fall of a crust of the earth which has been gradually slipping for centuries, causing from time to time the slight shocks.

The seismic physics of San Francisco and its immediate neighborhood have engaged the careful study of physical geographers. The commonly accepted opinion is one which was formulated by Prof. John Le Conte, professor of geology in the University of California, and one of the world's geological authorities. His explanation is based upon the mountain contours of the coast of California from the Santa Barbara channel northward to the Golden Gate. In this region are represented two peninsulas, one visible, the other to be discovered through examination of the altitudes upon the map corresponding to existing geological features. This second and greater peninsula comprises the Monte Diablo and Coast ranges, separated from the Sierra elevation by the alluvial soil of the low-lying valley of the San Joaquin. This valley is contoured by the level of 100 feet and lower for a considerable portion of its length, and practically all of it lies below the level of 500 feet. The partition thereby accomplished between the Sierra mountain mass and the coastal mountains is sufficiently pronounced to indicate what was at no remote period an extensive peninsula.

This valley of the San Joaquin lies above the line of a geological fault, at a depth which can only be estimated as somewhere about a mile. The artesian well borings which have been abundantly prosecuted in the counties of Merced, Fresno, Kings and Kern afford evidence looking toward such a determination of bedrock depth. On the ocean side the continental shelf is extremely narrow. The great peninsula presents a most precipitous aspect toward the ocean basin. It is interrupted at intervals by deep submarine gorges extending close to the shore.

The oceanic basin of the Pacific is throughout a region of volcanic upheaval and seismic disturbance.

Conditioned on the one side by the known fault of the San Joaquin Valley and on the other by the volcanic activity of the Pacific basin, the greater peninsula of San Francisco in particular has always been subject, so far as the memory of white settlers can go, to frequent shocks of earthquake. In the last score or more of years seismographic observatories have been maintained at several points about San Francisco bay, and the records have been sufficiently studied to afford data for comprehension of the varied earth waves which have made themselves felt either to the perception of the citizens of the Golden Gate or to the sensitive instruments. Such observations have been conducted by Prof. George Davidson, for many years in charge of the Coast and Geodetic Survey upon the Pacific Coast; by Prof. Charles Burckhalter, of the Chabot Observatory, in Oakland, and by the staff of the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton.

Careful inspection of these records shows that two systems of earthquake disturbances act upon San Francisco. Those of the lighter series show a wave movement beginning in one of the easterly quadrants and more commonly in the southeastern. This series of light shocks is attributed to the slip along the line of the San Joaquin fault. While they may occur at any season of the year, they are more frequently observed when the San Joaquin river is running bank high under the influence of the melting snows in the foothills of the Sierra. That such a condition has recently existed is made clear by the report within less than a month of floods in the interior valleys of the State. Assuming, as the geologists do, that the fault in the valley lies near the roots of the Monte Diablo range, on the western edge of the alluvial plain, it will be seen that the physical factors involving the slip are very simple. There is a wide, flat plain bounded on the west by a line of weakness in the rock supports. When this plain is carrying an abnormal weight of water the tendency is to break downward at the line of the fault. This tendency will produce a jar in the mountain mass which will be rapidly communicated to its farthest extremity.

The earthquakes which have their origin in the disturbances to which the oceanic basin is subject always approach San Francisco from the direction of the southwest quadrant. These have been uniformly more violent than those whose origin is attributed to the San Joaquin fault. While the records of San Francisco earthquakes up to the present have exhibited a mild type, the damage to property having hitherto been slight, it would appear from the extent and violence of the present temblor that both causes had for once united.

The possibility of such simultaneous action of the two known seismic factors of the greater peninsula had been foreseen by Prof. Le Conte. He stated that if at any time an earthquake wave of only moderate violence should come in from the oceanic basin in sufficient strength to jar the coastal mountain masses at a period when the San Joaquin Valley was bearing its maximum weight of water the conditions would be ripe for simultaneous shocks from the southwest and from the southeast. In such a condition, while neither of the shocks by itself would be capable of doing any great amount of damage to buildings in San Francisco, the combination of two distinct sets of waves might prove too much for any work of man to withstand.

In spite of the declarations of some scientists that there can be no possible connection between the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the earthquake of San Francisco, others are inclined to view certain facts in regard to recent seismic and volcanic activity as, to say the least, suggestive.

There is one very remarkable circumstance in regard to all this activity. All the places mentioned—Formosa, Southern Italy, Caucasia and the Canary Islands—lie within a belt bounded by lines a little north of the fortieth parallel and a little south of the thirtieth parallel. San Francisco is just south of the fortieth parallel, while Naples is just north of it. The latitude of Calabria, where the terrible earthquakes occurred last year, is the same as that of the territory affected by yesterday's earthquake in the United States.

There is another coincidence, which may be only a coincidence, but which is also suggestive. The last previous great eruption of Vesuvius was in 1872, and the same year saw the last previous earthquake in California which caused loss of life.

Camille Flammarion expressed the opinion that the earthquake at San Francisco and the eruption at Vesuvius are directly connected. He also sees a connection between the renewed activity of Popocatepetl, Mexico's well-known volcano, and the disturbance on the Western coast. He says that, though the surface of the earth is apparently calm, "there is no real equilibrium in the strata of the earth," and that the extreme lateral pressure which is still forming mountains and volcanoes along the Western coast brought about an explosion of gases and the movement of superheated steam several miles below San Francisco, resulting in an earthquake.

Another theory is that the earth in revolving is flattening at the poles and swelling at the equator, and the strata beneath the surface are shifting and sliding in an effort to accommodate themselves to the new position. Other scientists scout this idea, saying that earthquakes are not caused by the adjustment of the surface of the earth, but by jar and strain as the earth makes an effort to regain its true axis.

As regards the possible connection between volcanoes and earthquakes, it is known that a violent earthquake, whose shocks lasted several days, accompanied the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79, when Pompeii and Herculaneum were destroyed. In 1755 thousands upon thousands of people lost their lives in the memorable earthquake at Lisbon, in Portugal. At the same time the warm springs of Teplitz, Bohemia, disappeared, later spouting forth again. In the same year an Iceland volcano broke forth, followed by an uprising and subsidence of the water of Loch Lomond in Scotland. The eruption of Vesuvius in 1872 was followed soon after by a serious earthquake in California.

Coming to the present year, it is noticed that the earthquake in the island of Formosa, in which 1,000 people lost their lives, was followed by the eruption of Vesuvius on April 8. Soon after came the second great shock in Formosa, in which there was an even greater loss of life.

Later there were two earthquake shocks in Caucasia. At the same time the news of this appeared there was a report of renewed activity on the part of a volcano in the Canary Isles, which had long been dormant. In the United States two volcanoes which have been regarded as extinct for more than a century—Mount Tacoma and Mount Rainier—began to emit smoke. In regard to Tacoma, Dr. W. J. Holland, head of the Carnegie Institute at Pittsburg, says: "There is no doubt that there has been a breakdown and shifting of strata, perhaps at a very great depth, in the region of San Francisco. There certainly is great connection between this earthquake and recent private reports which have come to me of intense volcanic activity on the part of Mount Tacoma."

On the other hand, leading scientists contend that these instances are mere coincidences. "If there is any connection between Vesuvius and the Caucasus and Canary Isles earthquakes other places would have suffered too; New York, for instance, is on the same parallel," says Prof. J. F. Kemp, of Columbia University.

Although each of these scientists has the most absolute faith in his theory, he really knows no more about the facts than any boy on the street. No one has ever descended into the interior of the earth and investigated the heart of a volcano but Jules Verne, and he only in his mind. What is needed now is exact information. The San Francisco catastrophe will teach many lessons, and among them the necessity for the close study of both volcanoes and earthquakes. There is no reason why earthquakes and other internal disturbances cannot be observed just as closely as the weather. In fact, it is entirely probable that the time will come when a seismological bureau will exist for the study of earthquakes, just as there is a Weather Bureau for observation of the weather, and it will be the business of its officials to prophesy and warn of approaching internal disturbances of the earth, just as the weather men announce the approach of bad weather. Government observation stations will be established, exact records will be kept, and in the course of time we shall learn exactly what earthquakes are and what are their causes.

Among other lessons that the disaster has taught is that the much-maligned skyscraper is about the safest building there is. Its steel-cage structure, with steel rods binding the stone to its wall, has stood the test and has not been found wanting. Of all the mighty buildings in San Francisco those of the most modern structure alone survived. Their safety in the midst of collapsing buildings of mortar and brick argues well for like structures in other cities.



Mr. Otis Ashmore declared that the regions lying along the Pacific coast contain several of the moving strata which cause earthquakes. He said:

"While much concerning the origin of earthquakes is still a matter of doubt in the minds of scientific men, it is now generally conceded that the real cause is the sudden slipping and readjustment of the strata of rocks with the crest of the earth. As the earth is slowly cooling a very slow contraction of the earth's crust is constantly going on, and as this crust consists very largely of stratified layers of rock, the enormous forces arising from this contraction are resisted by the solid rock.

"Notwithstanding the apparent irresistible nature of these layers of rock, they slowly yield to the enormous lateral pressure of contraction and gradually huge folds are pushed up in long mountain ranges. Usually this process goes on so slowly and gradually that the yielding of the rock masses takes place without noticeable jar, but occasionally a sudden slip occurs under the gigantic forces, and an earthquake is the result. This slip is usually only a few inches, but when two continents fall together for only a few inches enormous energy is developed.

"Such slips usually occur along the line of an old fissure previously formed, and the depth below the surface of the earth varies from one to twelve miles. Thus places situated near these old internal fissures are more likely to experience earthquakes than those farther away. It is a well known geological fact that the Pacific coast in California contains several of these fissures and earthquakes are more common there. The entire western part of the United States has been slowly rising for many centuries, and the shifting of soil due to erosion and transportation doubtless contributes to produce these seismic disturbances.

"Earthquakes are more common than most persons think. Modern instruments for detecting slight tremors within the earth's crust show that there is scarcely an hour in the day free from these shocks. In mountain regions, and especially in the highest and youngest mountains, erosion is most rapid, and on the sea bottom, along the margin of the continents sedimentation is greatest. In these regions, therefore subterranean temperature and pressure changes are most rapid and earthquakes most frequent.

"A study of earthquakes develop these general facts. The origin is seldom more than twelve miles below the surface; the size of the shaken region bears a certain relation to the depth of the origin or focus, the smaller shaken region indicating a relatively shallow origin; the energy of the shock is approximately indicated by the area of the shaken region; the origin is seldom a point, but generally a line many miles in length; the subterranean stress is not relieved by a single movement, but rather by a quick succession of movements causing a series of jars.

"The transmission of an earthquake shock through the earth takes place with wonderful rapidity. The elastic wave varies in velocity from 800 to 1,000 feet per second in sand or clay to three miles per second in solid granite.

"Sometimes these vibrations are of such a character as to be imparted to the air, and their transmission through the air outstrips the transmission through the earth and the ear detects the low rumbling sounds before the shock is felt.

"If the origin of the shock is under the sea near the coast any upheaval of the bottom of the ocean that frequently accompanies an earthquake, gives rise to a great tidal wave that frequently inundates the neighboring coast with much damage.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse