"While the phenomena of earthquakes and volcanoes are usually associated in the same region, one cannot fairly be said to be the cause of the other. Both are rather effects of a common cause, or rather of common causes, the chief of which is the shrinking and readjustment of the rocky strata within the earth. The suggestion that there is some physical connection between the recent eruptions of Vesuvius and the earthquake at San Francisco does not accord with the generally accepted views of geologists concerning these phenomena.
"It is probably true that a critical condition of stress between two gigantic and contending forces may be touched off, as it were, by any feeble force originating at a distance. Thus a distant volcanic eruption or earthquake shock may determine the climax of stress in a given portion of the earth, which will produce an earthquake. Observations show that more earthquakes occur near the full and the new moon than at other times. This is probably due to the fact that at these times the gravitation of the sun and moon are combined, and their effect upon the earth is greater. We can see this effect in the higher tides at new and full moon. But these forces, it will be seen, are the occasions, and not the causes of earthquakes.
"The probable recurrence of the San Francisco earthquake is a matter of great uncertainty. In general, whenever the internal stress of the forces that give rise to earthquakes is relieved there is usually a long period of quiescence in the strata of the earth, but in the course of time, especially in regions of recent and rapid geological changes, such as is the case on the Pacific coast, there is almost certain to be recurrences of earthquake shocks from time to time.
"The geological forces may, however, gradually adjust themselves, and it may be many centuries before such a dynamic crisis will arise as that which has just convulsed a continent."
California has had a number of great earthquakes. The records go back to the earthquake at Santa Ana in 1769. Not very much is known of this earthquake, though a church was built there and dedicated as Jesus de los Temblores.
Another one occurred at Santa Barbara in 1806, and still another in 1812. The Old Mission, about the only building there at that time, on both occasions practically had to be rebuilt.
Hittell's History of California says that "slight shocks of earthquakes are not infrequent, but none of really violent or dangerous character has been known to occur. An old or badly constructed building has occasionally been thrown down, and a few people have been killed by falling roofs or walls. But there has been nothing in the experience of the oldest inhabitants to occasion or justify fear or dread. The first one of which there is any full record occurred on October 11, 1800, and consisted of six consecutive shocks, and it tumbled down the habitations of San Juan Bautista.
"The most disastrous shock occurred in December, 1812, when the church of San Juan Capistrano was thrown down and forty Indians killed by its fall. The same shock extended northwestward and damaged the churches of San Gabriel, San Buenaventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Inez and Purisima. In 1818 the church of Santa Clara was damaged, and in 1830 the church of San Luis Obispo."
CHINATOWN, A PLAGUE SPOT BLOTTED OUT.
An Oriental Hell within an American City—Foreign in its Stores, Gambling Dens and Inhabitants—The Mecca of all San Francisco Sight Seers—Secret Passages, Opium Joints and Slave Trade its Chief Features.
To a visitor unacquainted with oriental customs and manners the most picturesque and mysterious spot in the region of the Golden Gate was Chinatown, now blotted out, which laid in the heart of San Francisco, halfway up the hillside from the bay and was two blocks wide by two blocks long. In this circumscribed area an Oriental city within an American city, more than 24,000 Chinese lived, one-half of whom ate and slept below the level of the streets. The buildings they occupied were among the finest that were built in the early days of the gold fever. What was at one time the leading hotel of the city was as full of Chinese as a hive is full of bees, for they crowd in together in much the same way. As the gold fever attracted the Chinese to the Pacific coast, San Francisco was made a headquarters and the Orientals soon established themselves in a building on the side hill. As they continued to swarm over, gradually the American tenants were crowded out until a certain section was set apart for the Chinese residents and Chinatown became as distinct a section of the city as the Bowery in New York used to be, "where they do such things and say such things." The time to see Chinatown was after dark, from ten at night to four in the morning, and a day and a night spent in the district would give you a very fair idea of Chinatown as it was.
The streets were narrow and steep, paved with rough cobblestone. The fronts of the buildings had been changed to conform with the Chinese idea of architecture. Wide balconies and gratings and fretwork of iron painted in gaudy colors gave an Oriental touch. The fronts were a riot of color. The fronts of the joss houses and the restaurants were brightened with many colored lanterns, quaint carved gilded woodwork, potted plants and dwarf trees. Up and down these narrow streets every hour in the twenty-four you could hear the gentle tattoo, for he seemed never to sleep, never to be in a hurry and always moving. Stop on any corner five minutes and the sight was like a moving picture show. It was hard to make yourself believe that you were not in China, for as near as is possible Chinatown had been converted into a typical Chinese community. You heard no other language spoken on the streets or in the stores except by tourists, "seeing the sights." Chinese characters adorned the windows and store fronts, the merchants in the stores were reading Chinese newspapers, the children playing on the streets jabbered in an unknown tongue, and every man you met had a pigtail hanging down his back. The streets were full of people, but there were no crowds and neither in the day nor night could you see a drunken Chinaman.
The first floor of nearly every building in Chinatown was occupied by a store or market. Most of the goods sold were imported from China. In every store there was but one clerk who could talk fair English but the bookkeeping was done in Chinese and money was counted in Chinese fashion. In the botanic stores dried snakes and toads were sold for use in compounding potions to drive away evil spirits and baskets of ginseng roots were displayed in the windows. The clothing stores handled Chinese goods exclusively and in the shoe stores beautifully embroidered sandals with felt soles an inch thick were sold for a dollar a pair. Occasionally in one of the jewelry stores a workman welded a solid gold bracelet to the arm of a Chinaman, who, afraid of being robbed of his gold, had it made into a bracelet and welded to his wrist. In the markets you found an endless display of fish, poultry and vegetables. The chickens were sold alive. The dried fish came from China. All the vegetables sold in Chinatown were raised in gardens on the outskirts of the city from seed sent over from China and some of the specimens were odd looking enough. The Chinese vegetables thrive better in the soil of California than in China and Chinese vegetables raised in the San Francisco district were sent to all the mining camps in the Rockies and as far away as Denver. Some of the Chinese squashes are four feet long. Everything that can be imported from China at a profit was shipped over and the rule among the Chinese was to trade as little as possible with foreigners.
The Chinaman is thrifty and if it were not for gambling and one or two other vices they would all be rich, for they are industrious.
The Chinaman does not go much on strong drink and in many ways is a good citizen, but he does love to smoke opium and to gamble. It was easy to gain access to an opium den if you had a guide with you. The guides, many of whom are Chinese, speak English, and the English guides speak Chinese. The guides got a dollar apiece from the party of visitors they piloted about and a percentage from all moneys spent by the party in the stores, saloons, restaurants, theaters and the dives. In return they paid for the opium that was smoked in the dens for the edification of the visitors and dropped a tip here and there as they went from place to place. Most of the opium dens were underground.
The majority of the people of Chinatown lived in what were little better than rat holes, dark, poorly ventilated little cells on the side of narrow passages in basements. The rich merchants and importers lived well, but the middle and poorer classes lived in the basements where rent was cheap. Of the 24,000 Chinese population only about 900 were women so Chinatown was a bachelor's town by a large majority, though some of the residents had wives in China to whom they expected to return some day. The rule in the basements was for ten men to sleep in a room six by ten feet and do their cooking over a little charcoal fire in one corner of the room. The beds they slept in were simply bunks. The population of Chinatown had somewhat decreased since the Exclusion act was passed. Few Chinamen came over and many, having saved up a little fortune, had gone back to China to stay. Of the entire population of Chinatown there were about 1,000 who voted; they constituted the native born element. The men and women dress much alike.
One of the sights which the inquisitive traveller to the Pacific coast rarely missed was the Chinese theater. Entrance was gained through the rear from an alley by the payment of 50 cents for a ticket. After walking down a narrow passageway, climbing up two flights of stairs and down three ladders one reached the green room in the rear of the stage where one saw the actors in all the glory of Oriental costume. No foreigners, as Americans were regarded, were allowed in any part of the theater except on the stage where half a dozen chairs were reserved on one side for visitors who came in the back way. There was no drop curtain in front of the stage and the orchestra was located in the rear of the stage. The orchestra would attract attention anywhere. The music was a cross between the noise made by a boiler shop during working hours and a horse fiddle at a country serenade.
As one walked along the streets of Chinatown he noticed on many doorways a sign which read something like this: "Merchants' Social Club. None But Members Admitted." There would be a little iron wicket on one side of the door through which the password goes and some Chinese characters on the walls. There were dozens of these clubs in Chinatown, all incorporated and protected by law. But they were simply gambling joints into which men of other nationalities were not admitted, and where members could gamble without fear of interruption by the police. Chinamen are born gamblers and will wager their last dollar on the turn of a card. Perhaps if 25,000 Americans or Englishmen or Russians were located in the heart of a Chinese city without any of the restraining influences of home life, they would seek to while away their idle hours at draw poker or as many other forms of gambling as John Chinaman indulges in. The Chinamen have little faith in one another so far as honesty goes. In many of the clubs the funds of the club are kept in a big safe which in addition to having a time lock, has four padlocks, one for each of the principal officers, and the safe can only be opened when all four are present. Often when the police raided a den that was not incorporated they found that the chips and cards had disappeared as if by magic and the players were sitting about as unconcerned as though a poker game had never been thought of. An advance tip had been sent in by a confederate on the private Chinese grapevine telegraph.
The troubles that arise between members of a Chinese secret society are settled within the society, but when trouble arises between the members of rival secret societies then it means death to somebody. For instance, a Chinaman caught cheating at cards is killed. The society to which the dead man belongs makes a demand on the society to which the man who killed him belongs for a heavy indemnity in cash. If it is not paid on a certain date, a certain number of members of the society, usually the Highbinder or hoodlum element, is detailed to kill a member of the other society. A price is fixed for the killing and is paid as soon as the job is done. The favorite weapon of the Highbinder is a long knife made of a file, with a brass knob and heavy handle. The other weapon in common use is a 45-calibre Colt's revolver. The first one of the detail that meets the victim selected slips up behind him and shoots or stabs him in the back. It may be in a dark alley at midnight, in an opium den, at the entrance to a theater, or in the victim's bed. If the assassin is arrested the society furnishes witness to prove an alibi and money to retain a lawyer. Another favorite pastime of the Highbinder who is usually a loafer, is to levy blackmail on a wealthy Chinaman. If the sum demanded is not paid the victim's life is not worth 30 cents. One of the famous victims of the Highbinders in recent years in San Francisco was "Little Pete," a Chinaman who was worth $150,000 and owned a gambling palace. He refused to be held by blackmailers and lost his life in consequence.
The police of San Francisco took no stock in a Chinaman's oath as administered in American courts. A Chinaman don't believe in the Bible and therefore does not regard an oath as binding. In one instance it is asserted the chief had been approached by a member of one of the strongest secret societies and asked what attorney was to prosecute a certain Highbinder under arrest. Asked why he wished to know, he stated frankly that another man was about to be assassinated and he desired to retain a certain lawyer in advance to defend him if he was not already employed by the commonwealth. It is no easy matter for the police to secure the conviction of a Chinaman charged with any crime, let alone that of murder. There is only one place where a policeman will believe a Chinaman. That is in a cemetery, while a chicken's head is being cut off. If asked any questions at that time, after certain Chinese words have been repeated, a Chinaman will tell the truth, so the police believe. Although all Chinaman are smooth faced and have their heads shaved they do not "look alike" to the policemen, who have no trouble in telling them apart. This, of course, applied only to the policemen detailed to look after Chinatown. If it were not that the Chinamen kill only men of their own race and let alone all other men, the citizens of San Francisco would have sacked and burned Chinatown. Once the Highbinders were rooted out of the city, and before the catastrophe they were going to do so again.
Some time ago a Chinese shrimp fisherman incurred the displeasure of the members of another society and he was kidnapped in the night and taken to a lonely, uninhabited island some miles from San Francisco, tied hand and foot and fastened tight to stakes driven in the ground and left to die. Two days later he was found by friends, purely by accident and released, famished and worn out, but he refused to tell who his captors were, and again become a victim of the terrible Highbinders, the curse of the Pacific coast.
Incidents of the above characters nearly always ending in murder, were so common that the wealthy and powerful Chinese Six Companies, the big merchants of the race, held years ago meetings with the purpose of bringing the societies to peace and while they often succeeded the truce between them was only temporary.
Of all the dark, secretive and lawless Chinese villages that dot the wayward Pacific slope, the one that looks down on the arm of San Francisco Bay, just this side of San Pedro Point, is the most mysterious and lawless. The village hasn't even a name to identify it, but "No Sabe" would be the most characteristic title for the settlement, because that is the only expression chance visitors and the officers of the law can get out of its sullen, stubborn, suspicious inhabitants.
They don't deride the laws of this land. They simply ignore them.
They are a law unto themselves, have their own tribunals, officers, fines and punishments and woe betide the member who doesn't submit. He might cry out for the white man's law to protect him, but long before his cry could reach the white man's ear it would be lost in that lonely, secretive village and the first officer that reached the place would be greeted by the usual stoical, "No sabe."
Police and other investigations showed that for years past the slavery of girls and women in Chinatown was at all times deplorable and something horrible. At an investigation, a few years ago, instituted at the instance of the Methodist Mission, some terrible facts were elicited, the following indicating the nature of nearly all:
The first girl examined testified that her parents sold her into slavery while she was only fifteen years of age. The price paid was $1,980, of which she personally saw $300 paid down as a deposit. Before the final payment was made she escaped to the mission.
The second, an older girl, lived in a house of ill fame for several years before she made her escape. She testified that she was sold for $2,200 by her stepmother. The transaction occurred in this city. She talked at length of the conditions surrounding the girls, including the infamous rule that they must earn a certain sum each day, and the punishments that follow failure. This girl said she knew from other girls of her acquaintance that many white men were in the habit of visiting the Chinese houses.
The third girl who testified said she was sold at a time when slaves were scarcer and higher in price than they are now, and brought $2,800 at the age of fifteen. She, too, was positive that white men visited the Chinese houses of ill fame.
One of the women of the mission showed the committee three little girls, mere babies, who had been rescued by the mission. Two of them were sold by their parents while they were still in arms. The first brought $105 when three months old and another was sold at about the same age for $150. All three were taken from the keepers of houses of ill fame and were living regularly in the houses when rescued.
But there was also a better side to Chinatown. The joss house was an interesting place. It was but a large room without seats. A profusion of very costly grill work and lanterns adorned the ceilings and walls; instruments of war were distributed around the room, and many fierce looking josses peered out from under silken canopies on the shrines. In one corner was a miniature wooden warrior, frantically riding a fiery steed toward a joss who stood in his doorway awaiting the rider's coming. A teapot of unique design, filled with fresh tea every day, and a very small cup and saucer were always ready for the warrior. This represented a man killed in battle, whose noble steed, missing his master, refused to eat and so pined away and died. A welcome was assured to them in the better land if the work of man can accomplish it. The horse and rider were to them (the Chinese) what the images of saints are to Christians. In another corner was a tiny bowl of water; the gods occasionally come down and wash. At certain times of the year, direct questions were written on slips of paper and put into the hands of one of the greatest josses. These disappear and then the joss either nodded or shook his head in answer. On the altar, or altars, were several brass and copper vessels in which the worshiper left a sandalwood punk burning in such a position that the ashes would fall on the fine sand in the vessel. When one of these became full it was emptied into an immense bronze vase on the balcony, and this, in turn, was emptied into the ocean. The Chinese take good care of their living and never forget their dead. Once a year, the fourteenth day of the seventh month, they have a solemn ceremony by which they send gold and silver and cloth to the great army of the departed.
A furnace is a necessity in a joss house. It is lighted on ceremonial days and paper representing cloth, gold and silver is burned, the ashes of the materials being, in their minds, useful in spirit land. Private families send to their relatives and friends whatever they want by throwing the gold, the silver and the cloth paper, also fruits, into a fire built in the street in front of their houses. The days of worship come on the first and fifteenth of each month.
Of the deaths in Chinatown by the earthquake and fire no reliable list has been possible but in estimating the victims the construction of the district should be regarded as an inconsiderable factor.
THE NEW SAN FRANCISCO.
A Modern City of Steel on the Ruins of the City that Was—A Beautiful Vista of Boulevards, Parks and Open Spaces Flanked by the Massive Structures of Commerce and the Palaces of Wealth and Fashion.
With superb courage and optimism that characterize the American people, San Francisco lifted her head from the ashes, and, as Kipling says, "turned her face home to the instant need of things."
Scorched and warped by days and nights of fire, the indomitable spirit of the Golden Gate metropolis rose on pinions of hope, unsubdued and unafraid.
Old San Francisco was an ash heap. From out the wreck and ruin there should arise a new San Francisco that would at once be the pride of the Pacific coast and the American nation and a proud monument to the city that was.
Temporarily the commerce of the city was transferred to Oakland, with its magnificent harbor across the bay, and at once a spirit of friendly rivalry sprung up in the latter city. Oakland had been the first haven of refuge for the fleeing thousands, but in the face of the overwhelming disaster the sister city saw a grand opportunity to enhance its own commercial importance.
But the spirit of San Francisco would brook no successful rivalry and its leading men were united in a determination to rebuild a city beautiful on the ashen site and to regain and re-establish its commercial supremacy on the Pacific coast.
With the fire quenched, the hungry fed, some sort of shelter provided, the next step was to prepare for the resumption of business and the reconstruction of the city. Within ten days from the first outbreak of flames the soldiers had begun to impress the passer-by into the service of throwing bricks and other debris out of the street in order to remove the stuff from the path of travel.
Some important personages were unceremoniously put to work by the unbiased guards, among them being Secretary of State Charles Curry of Sacramento.
The people of San Francisco turned their eyes to a new and greater city. Visitors were overwhelmed with terror of the shaking of the earth, they quailed at the thought of the fire. But the men who crossed the arid plains, who went thirsty and hungry and braved the Indian and faced hardships unflinchingly in their quest for gold over two-thirds of a century ago had left behind them descendants who were not cowards. Smoke was still rising from the debris of one building while the owner was planning the erection of another and still better one.
The disaster had made common cause, and the laboring man who before was seeking to gouge from his employer and the employer who was scheming to turn the tables on his employes felt the need of co-operation and cast aside their differences, and worked for the common cause, a new and a greater San Francisco.
Fire could not stop them, nor the earthquake daunt. They talked of beautiful boulevards, of lofty and solid steel and concrete buildings and of the sweeping away of the slums. They talked of many things and they were enthusiastic. They said that the old Chinatown would be driven away to Hunter's Point in the southeastern portion of the city near the slaughter-houses. They said the business district should be given a chance to go over there where it belonged, by right of commanding and convenient position. They talked of magnificent palaces to take the place of those that had fallen before the earthquake, fire and dynamite. Courage conquers. We are proud of the American spirit which arises above all difficulties.
But there are some things which could not be replaced. There could not be another Chinatown like the old one, with all its quaint nooks and alleys. All this was gone and a new Chinatown must seem like a sham. There were no more quaint buildings in the Latin quarter, with their old world atmosphere.
Coppas place, center of real bohemia, where artists for many years congregated and adorned the walls with pictures, still remained. But it was lonesome; all its fellows were gone; it was surrounded by ruins. Not an old place remained with a story or with a sentimental charm. San Francisco went to work with a will to rebuild, ships continued to enter its magnificent harbor, and lived down earthquake and fire to again become a great, prosperous, magnificent city.
But the sentiment of its Latin Quarter was gone, for outside of the Coppas place, there was nothing left of the old and loved San Francisco except the gable tiled roof of Mission Dolores, its plain wooden cross surmounting it, and its sweet-toned chimes long stilled. Their voices should ring out anew at intervals to remind all who may hear them that San Francisco has a storied past and a bright future, a future glorious as the brilliant sunsets that come streaming so magnificently through the Golden Gate.
It should be borne in mind that San Francisco was not destroyed by the earthquake. While old buildings in that part of the city which stood on "made" ground east of Montgomery street and some of that district lying south of Market it is true suffered from the shock, it was fire that wrought the great devastation and wiped out the entire business section and more than half of the residence section of the city.
The great modern steel structures were practically uninjured by the earthquake, except for cracked walls and displaced plaster. All those great structures, of course, subsequently were utterly ruined by the flames as far as the interior construction was concerned, but the walls were in most cases intact. The most notable cases of practical immunity from the shock were the St. Francis Hotel, the Fairmont Hotel, the Flood buildings, the Mills building, the Spreckels buildings, the Chronicle building and scores of other modern steel structures.
The branch of the United States mint on Fifth street and the new postoffice at Seventh and Mission streets were striking examples of the superiority of the workmanship put into federal buildings. The old mint building, surrounded by a wide space of pavement, was absolutely unharmed. Not even the few palm trees which stand on either side of its broad entrance were withered by the flames that devoured everything around it.
The new postoffice building also was virtually undamaged by fire. The earthquake shock did some damage to the different entrances to the building; the walls were uninjured. Every window pane, of course, was gone, as they were in almost every building in town, but the government was able to resume postal business immediately.
The Fairmont Hotel, while seriously damaged in the interior, was left intact as to the walls and the management offered space in the building to the various relief committees who desired to house the homeless or to store supplies in those parts of the building considered safe.
One question that confronted the rebuilders was whether the city's level had sunk as a result of the earthquake.
Parties sent out by City Engineer Thomas P. Woodward for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not the city, as a whole, had sunk, reported that there was no general depression, though there were many spaces where there were bad depressions. The most notable depressions were on Valencia, from Nineteenth to Twentieth; lower Market, Howard and Seventeenth and Eighteenth; Van Ness, from Vallejo to Green, and on Folsom in the region of Seventeenth street.
The southeast corner of the new postoffice building extended over an old swamp, and here there was a depression of fully four feet. The sinking was confined almost entirely to the lower parts of the city, and particularly to "made" ground. Mr. Woodward gave it as his opinion that there was no general depression of the city whatever.
City Engineer Woodward was one of those who devised a general scheme for rebuilding the city, by which the new San Francisco was to be a city of magnificent buildings, terraces, boulevards, green parks and playgrounds and gardens.
One prominent feature of Mr. Woodward's comprehensive scheme was the widening of Van Ness avenue into a magnificent boulevard. To this end he proposed the acquisition by the city through condemnation proceedings of all that choice residence property the full length of Van Ness avenue.
Under his plan there would be no narrow and clogging streets in those sections of the city laid bare by the fire. Streets in the heart of the business district which were proved entirely inadequate for the rush and confusion of a big metropolis were to be widened by slicing from the private holdings on either side, again through process of the courts.
Market street was to be left as it was. So with Third and other streets that were repaired by the city authorities just before the earthquake, but streets in the commission and wholesale sections were to be radically altered, both in width and course.
The big construction companies of New York took a great interest in the San Francisco disaster, especially as far as the damages to building was concerned.
One of the largest construction companies in the world started an engineer for San Francisco at once.
Great satisfaction was expressed by the architects of the San Francisco Chronicle building that the structure had withstood the shocks in good shape and was practically uninjured until assailed on all sides by flames. The Chronicle building was of steel framework, with the outer walls partially anchored to the frame.
George Simpson, the chief engineer of the company that built the Chronicle building, was of the opinion that the big modern buildings of Chicago and New York would withstand such earthquake shocks as those felt in San Francisco.
"The east, and especially New York city," said Mr. Simpson, "is far ahead of the west in the matter of thorough building construction. In the case of our modern buildings the steel framework sits on a bed of concrete that has been built on top of solid rock foundation.
"Now, it will be observed that all of the steel frame buildings in San Francisco withstood the shocks and the only damage done to them outside of fire was the falling out of part of the walls. In these cases the outer walls were merely built on the steel work. With our big buildings the walls are anchored to the steel framework. That is, each big piece of stone has imbedded in it a steel bar from which another arm of the same material runs in at right angles and is riveted or bolted to the framework.
"That is what I meant by anchored walls and in the event of an earthquake it would take a terrific shock to loosen these walls. Were it possible to erect an entire steel building resting on a solid foundation there would be no fear from earthquakes. In the Philippines they are now building some churches of steel framework with a sheet iron covering. This is done in anticipation of earthquake shocks."
The rebuilding of Baltimore required 30,100 tons of structural steel. To rebuild San Francisco on the same basis the estimate was 60,000 tons amounting with freight to $6,000,000.
As compared with the loss of $200,000,000 this was an insignificant amount.
Among those who submitted a comprehensive scheme for a new San Francisco was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the noted architect of Chicago, who designed most of the features of Chicago's World's Columbian Exposition and from whose conceptions the Court of Honor at that exhibition was built, and those who visited the White City in 1893 will never forget the picturesque grandeur of that enchanted region. Mr. Burnham believed in a new and ideal San Francisco and would see it take its place as the American Paris in the arrangement of its streets and the American Naples in the beauty of its bay and skies. The plans for the ideal San Francisco were his, and hardly had his report been printed than the columns of the old city went down to ruin and fire swept out of existence the landmarks by the gate of gold.
It is now the question, How far will the new San Francisco realize the dreams of those who have had before them for so many years the image of a metropolis of the Pacific with broad boulevards and great parkways and wooded heights—a city of sunken gardens, of airy bridges, of stately gardens and broad expanses?
Daniel H. Burnham had back of him a long record of achievements which earned for him his title of city builder.
He built the Rookery building and the Masonic Temple in Chicago, and then was called to various cities where he supervised the erection of imposing piles which have become landmarks. It was while studying the relations of these large buildings to their surroundings that he became interested in his still greater work, which had to do with squares and blocks and parkways.
Upon the invitation of the Association for the Improvement and Adornment of San Francisco Mr. Burnham went to the Golden Gate, where he devoted months to the plans for a new city. A bungalow was built on the Twins Peaks seven hundred feet above the level of the streets, from which Mr. Burnham and his staff of assistants could command a view of the city and the bay. The material which they sought to make into the perfect city was before them day and night. They saw San Francisco by sunlight, in fog, in storm or in the blaze of a myriad lights. As the work progressed the San Franciscans who were interested in the scheme often climbed to the bungalow to watch the progress of the work.
The scheme prepared by Mr. Burnham provided first for a civic centre where all the principal city buildings were to be located and also the new union railroad station. About this was to be a broad circular boulevard, a perimeter of distribution, and beyond this a series of broader boulevards or parkways connecting the hills, which were to be converted into parks themselves.
About this was to have been the circling boulevard following the shore line of the peninsula. The scheme included also the extension of the avenue leading to the Golden Gate Park, known as the Panhandle, the building of a Greek amphitheater on the Twin Peaks, with a statue of San Francisco greeting the countries of the Orient. The plan also provided for a new parade ground at the Presidio and the building of numerous parks and playgrounds throughout the city. All this was to have cost millions, but to a man of the largeness of the City Builder this was a detail which was to be reckoned with year by year.
Now that buildings which were to have been acquired by the city to make room for the pathways of the ideal San Francisco are in ashes and twisted beams it may be that the vision of Daniel H. Burnham may soon be realized.
"It is an unfortunate thing," he said, "that our American cities are not first laid out in accordance with some definite idea. As a matter of fact, however, they simply grow up and later have to be changed in order to give them symmetry. In Europe the whole idea is different. The government has more control over such affairs than it has in this country, and it prescribes just what the height of the buildings shall be. The result is a skyline which is imposing. In this country each man builds for himself."
Pending the action of the authorities on the plans for the San Francisco Beautiful Mr. Burnham had little to say about the rebuilding. The boulevards connecting the hills were to have been made by taking out blocks of houses, most of which were in poorer sections of the city. This would give a passageway more than two hundred feet wide. The buildings which would have been condemned have been destroyed, and it then became a question as to whether the authorities of the city would be able to make the change contemplated.
Mr. Burnham's plan for the New San Francisco left Chinatown out of the reckoning, as there was talk of private capital arranging for the transfer of the quarter to another part of the city. It was the opinion of Mr. Burnham that Chinatown, as occupying a valuable section of San Francisco, would eventually have to go.
"Twin Peaks," runs the report made by Mr. Burnham, "and the property lying around them, should be acquired for park purposes by the city. The idea was to weave park and residence districts into interesting and economic relations, and also to preserve from the encroachments of building the hill bordered valley running to Lake Merced, so that the vista from the parks to the ocean should be unbroken. It is planned to preserve the beautiful canyon or glen to the south of Twin Peaks and also to maintain as far as possible the wooded background formed by the hills looking south from Golden Gate. This park area of the Twin Peaks, which includes the hills which surround the San Miguel Valley and is terminated by Lake Merced, is a link in the chain of parks girdling the city.
"To the north of Twin Peaks lies a natural hollow. Here it was proposed to create an amphitheatre or stadium of vast proportions. The gentler slopes of the Twin Peaks were to be used as villa properties. The plans for Twin Peaks also included a collective centre or academy, which is to be arranged for the accommodation of men in various branches of intellectual or artistic pursuits. A little open air theatre, after the Greek model, would form a part of this scheme."
Even Telegraph Hill was to have its precipitate sides terraced and was to be transformed into a park, according to the design of Mr. Burnham. To carry out all the plans of the architect would be a large task just now, but the citizens of the new San Francisco expect that the broad general lines will be laid down and then in the course of time the rest will be added.
Unexampled as was the loss of property in San Francisco the disaster in that respect alone was converted into a permanent benefit.
No other city with the exception of Chicago ever had such a grand opportunity of rebuilding upon a basis of permanency and beauty.
Instead of shrinking, real estate values rose rapidly and continued to rise. Fancy figures were quoted on sites suitable for business establishments. Structures that remained comparatively intact not far from the old business section were leased at extremely high rates.
Instead of dooming San Francisco the double attack of fire and quake proved a blessing. Unaccountable as it may be to many people in the eastern states, the denizens of that part of the country had no especial fears of a recurrence of the catastrophe. They argued that seismic disturbances of such intensity come once in fifty or one hundred years.
"Next time we will be prepared," was the regulation comment. The faith of those people, their courage and their enduring hope obliterated all doubt and crushed timidity. The watchword from the day of the disaster was "rebuild." And generally there was added the injunction, "and make it earthquake proof."
VESUVIUS THREATENS NAPLES.
Beautiful Italian City on the Mediterranean Almost Engulfed in Ashes and Lava from the Terrible Volcano—Worst Eruption Since the Days of Pompeii and Herculaneum—Buildings Crushed and Thousands Rendered Homeless.
The worst eruption of Mt. Vesuvius since the days when it buried under molten lava and ashes Pompeii and Herculaneum occurred on April 6, 1906. Almost without warning the huge crater opened its fiery mouth and poured from its throat and fiery interior and poured down the mountain sides oceans of burning lava, and warned 60,000 or 70,000 inhabitants of villages in the paths of the fiery floods that their only safety was in immediate flight. From the very start the scene was terrible and awe-inspiring. From the summit of the mountain a column of fire fully 1,000 feet leaped upward and lighted by its awful glare the sky and sea for miles around. Occasionally great masses of molten stone, some weighing as much as a ton were, accompanied by a thunderous noise, ejected from the crater and sent crashing down the mountain side, causing the natives, even as far as Naples, to quake with fear, abandon their homes and fall, praying, on their knees. One of the immense streams of lava which flowed from the crater's mouth was more than 200 feet wide and, ever broadening, kept advancing at the rate of 21 feet a minute.
The first great modern eruption was that of 1631, eleven years after the pilgrim fathers landed on Plymouth rock. A sudden tidal wave of lava, utterly unexpected, engulfed 18,000 people, many of the coast towns being wholly and the remainder partially wiped out.
In 1707 the volcano sent forth a cloud of ashes so dense that at midday in the streets of Naples the blackness of the darkest night reigned supreme. The shrieks of terror stricken women pierced the air and the churches were crowded by the populace. The relics of San Januarius—his skull among them—were carried in procession through the streets.
Thirty years later a stream of lava one mile wide and containing 300,000,000 cubic feet burst from the mountain side. The next notable eruption was that of 1760, when new cones formed at the side and gave forth lava, smoke and ashes. Seven years later the king of Naples hastily retreated into the capital from the palace at Portici, threatened by a fresh outburst, and found the Neapolitans again in confusion.
An eruption lasting a year and a half commenced in 1793. Lava was emitted for fifteen hours and the sea boiled 100 yards from the coast.
That the Vesuvius eruptions are gaining in frequency is attested by the record of the nineteenth century, surpassing as it does that of the eighteenth. The first of note occurred in 1822, when the top of the great cone fell in and a lava stream a mile in width poured out. Twelve years later a river of lava nine miles long wiped out a town of 500 houses.
Lava flowed almost to the gates of Naples in 1855 and caused a deplorable loss of property to the cultivated region above.
Blocks of stone forty-five feet in circumference were hurled down the mountain by the spectacular outburst of 1872. Two lava floods rushed down the valley on two sides, ashes were shot thousands of feet in the air and the sea rose for miles. More than 20,000,000 cubic feet of lava was ejected in a single day.
Since 1879 Vesuvius has been variously active there being two eruptions of note in 1900 and two others in 1903. But that of 1905 was more violent than any since 1872. Red hot stones hurled 1,600 feet above the cone dropped down the flanks of the mountain with deafening sound. One stone thrown out weighed two tons, while 1,844 violent explosions were recorded in a single day by the instruments of the seismic observatory.
The cog railroad running nearly to the top has been badly damaged a number of times in recent years and the occupants of the meteorological observatory on or near the summit have had several narrow escapes.
This institution is situated about a mile and a half from the cone, near the foot of the rope railway ascending that troubled apex. It is a handsome edifice of white stone and can be seen at a great distance against the black background of lava. It stands on the side toward Naples, on the top of a conspicuous ridge 2,080 feet above the level of the sea. On each side of this ridge flows a river of lava during eruptions, but the building has withstood all, unscathed, as yet.
An observer is on duty, night and day, even during the most violent outbursts. During the late one, when a sheet of red-hot lava glowed on either side of the ridge and when fiery projectiles fell all about, the post was not deserted. Inside, mounted upon piers penetrating the ground, are delicate instruments whose indicating hands, resting against record sheets of paper, trace every movement made by the shuddering mountain. One sign by which these great outbursts may almost always be forecast is the falling of water in the wells of the neighboring villages.
The Vesuvian volcanic region, like that of AEtna, is partly land and partly sea, including all of the Bay of Naples, sometimes called "the crater," lying at the very foot of Vesuvius, with a circuit of fifty-two miles and the metropolis at the extreme northern corner.
The whole base of the mountain is skirted by a series of villages where abide 100,000 souls—birds nesting in the cannon's mouth. Between these settlements and even above, within the jaws of the fiery demon, the tourist sees scattered huts, tent shaped of straw interwoven.
A road twenty miles long, commencing at Naples, extends southeastwardly along the shore of the bay and then, winding inland, completely encircles the mountain. This is dotted with villages, all within hearing of the volcanic rumblings and bellowings.
Four miles down the bay road from Naples lies Portici, its 12,000 population dwelling upon lava thrown down to the sea by the eruption of 1631. On this black bed stands the royal palace, built by Charles III. in 1738. Resina, one mile further, is the favorite suburban seat of wealthy Neapolitans. Its 14,000 residents dwell partly upon the ruins of Herculaneum and of Retina, to which latter city Pliny the elder set out during the great eruption which destroyed these cities and Pompeii.
The colossal brazier of Mount Vesuvius dealt most awfully and destructively with the towns on its declivities and near its base. The inhabitants of those villages naturally became panic-stricken and abandoned their homes for the open, although the atmosphere was dense with volcanic ashes and the sulphur fumes of subterranean fires. The people, so long as they dared remain near their homes, crowded the churches day and night, praying for deliverance from the impending peril, manifestations of which were hourly heard and felt in explosions which resembled a heavy cannonade, and in the tremblings of the earth, which were constantly recurring.
The intense heat of the lava destroyed vegetation before the stream reached it. The peasants of Portici, at the west foot of Vesuvius, cleared their grounds of vineyards and trees in the effort to lessen the danger from the fire and resist the progress of the lava to the utmost.
The streams of lava became resistless. They snapped like pipe stems the trunks of chestnut trees hundreds of years old and blighted with their torrid breath the blooms on the peach trees before the trees themselves had been reached. The molten streams did not spare the homes of the peasants, and when these have been razed they dash into the wells, as though seeking to slake their thirst, and, having filled them, continue their course down the mountain side.
Everywhere in the vicinity of the volcano pitiful scenes were witnessed—women tearing their hair in their grief and old men crying aloud at the loss of their beloved homesteads, while in the distance, in striking contrast, were the sapphire-colored Mediterranean, the violet-hued mountains of the Sorrento peninsula and the island of Capri in the tranquil sea.
The town of Bosco Trecase, on the mountain's southern declivity, had been transformed into a gray island of ruin by the ashes from the crater of the volcano. Torrents of liquid fire, resembling in the distance serpents with glittering yellow and black scales, coursed in all directions, amid rumblings, detonations and earth tremblings while a pall of sulphurous smoke that hovered over all made breathing difficult.
While the inhabitants, driven before soldiers, were urged to seek safety in flight, fiery lava was invading their homes and the cemetery where their dead was buried. In about 48 hours after the eruptions began not a trace remained of Bosco Trecase, a city of 10,000 population. Several lads who were unharmed when the danger following the eruptions of Mount Vesuvius seemed most imminent subsequently ventured to walk on the cooling lava. They went too far and the crust broke under their weight. They were swallowed up before the helpless onlookers.
About the same time the village of Bosco Reale, to the eastward, became threatened, and the women of the village, weeping with fright, carried a statue of St. Anne as near as they could go to the flowing lava, imploring a miracle to stay the advance of the consuming stream. As the fiery tide persisted in advancing the statue had to be frequently moved backward.
Ottajano, at the northeast foot of the mountain, and 12 miles from Naples, was in the path of destruction and the scenes there when the first victims were unearthed were most terrible. The positions of the bodies showed that the victims had died while in a state of great terror, the faces being convulsed with fear. Three bodies were found in a confessional of one of the fallen churches.
One body was that of an old woman who was sitting with her right arm raised as though to ward off the advancing danger. The second was that of a child about 8 years old. It was found dead in a position which would indicate that the child had fallen with a little dog close to it and had died with one arm raised across its face to protect itself and its pet from the crumbling ruins. The third body, that of a woman, was reduced to an unrecognizable mass.
Other bodies which were found later caused such an impression among the already frantic population that the authorities did not deem it advisable to permit any more bodies to be identified for the time being.
Five churches and ten houses fell under the weight of ashes and cinders, which lay over four feet deep on the ground. Many were killed and injured.
One mile southward from the site of Bosco Trecase, on the shore of the Gulf of Naples, is Torre Annunziata, a city of 30,000 inhabitants, and the streams of lava having almost surrounded it the inhabitants deserted their homes in terror and fled to Naples and other points. This place was destroyed by an eruption in 1631. At the northern boundary of the town is a picturesque cypress-planted cemetery, and there the lava stream was halted and turned aside. It was as if the dead had effectually cried out to arrest the crushing river of flame, as at Catania the veil of St. Agatha is said to have stayed a similar stream from Mount AEtna.
The visit of the King and Queen of Italy and the Duke of Aosta to the town caused a rumor to be started by the excited people, and particularly among the panic-stricken women, that their presence had resulted in a miracle, and, singularly enough, shortly after the arrival of the sovereigns, and while the King and Queen were trying to console the people, repeating frequently, "Courage! Be strong!" the wind suddenly changed and the atmosphere, which up to that moment had been impregnated with sulphurous gas and suffocating fumes, cleared away and the sun burst forth. The stream of lava stopped its march, after having destroyed a section of the northeast part of the suburb.
The air rang with benedictions for the King from his devoted subjects. Hope at once returned and the King and Queen were preparing to move on, but the people insisted that they remain, begging that they be not abandoned. The King and Queen wished to visit Torre Del Greco, which is only seven miles distant from Naples, and was also in danger of being wiped out, and the people fled from it in dismay, amid a continued fall of sand and ashes, to points of reputed safety. This village had been eight times destroyed and as often rebuilt. A violent storm of sulphurous rain occurred at San Giuseppe, Vesuviana and Saviano.
The town of Nola, an old place of 15,000 inhabitants, twenty-two miles from Naples, was almost buried under the shower of ashes coming from the crater, which were carried by the wind as far as the Adriatic sea.
The inhabitants of the country in the vicinity of Caserta, a place of about 35,000 people, and termed the Versailles of Naples, were also endangered by cinder ashes and flowing lava.
The village of San Gennaro was partially buried in sand and ashes and several houses were crushed. At that place three persons were killed and more than twenty injured.
Sarno, Portici, Ciricello, Poggio and Morino became practically uninhabitable because of the ashes and fumes, and the people fled from the town. At Sarno three churches and the municipal buildings collapsed. The sand and cinders were six feet deep there and all the inhabitants sought safety in flight.
Sarno is a town of some 10,000 people and is situated about ten miles east of Mount Vesuvius. It contains an old castle, some sulphur baths and manufactories of paper, copper wares, cotton goods and silk fabrics.
Almost equal to the devastation wrought by the lava was the damage done by cinders and ashes, which in incredible quantities had been carried great distances. This has caused the practical destruction of San Guiseppe, a place of 6,000 inhabitants. All but 200 of the people had fled from there and of these 200 who had assembled in a church to attend mass about 100 were killed.
While the priest was performing his sacred office the roof fell in and all who were not killed were badly injured. These unfortunates were for hours without surgical or medical assistance. The only thing left standing in the church was a statue of St. Anne, the preservation of which the poor, homeless people accepted as a miracle and promise of deliverance from their peril.
A runaway train from San Guiseppe for Naples was derailed, owing to showers of stones from the crater. At some points near the mountain it was estimated that the sands and ashes reached a height of nearly 150 feet.
San Georgio, Cremona, Somma Vesuviana, Resina and other inland and coast towns not mentioned above, also suffered terrible devastation.
The most of the buildings in the villages were of flimsy construction with flat roofs and so were but poorly calculated to bear the weight of ashes and cinders that fell upon them. Inevitably it was found that a considerable number of persons perished by the falling of their homes.
National and local authorities from the first evidences of danger attempted the evacuation of the threatened villages and towns, but adequate means to transport the inhabitants were lacking, although thousands of soldiers with artillery carts had been sent to the places where the sufferers were most in need of assistance.
At many places the people were suffering from panic and a state of great confusion existed, which was added to by superstition. Some of the parish priests refused to open their churches to people who tried to obtain admittance, fearing that an earthquake would destroy the buildings when full of people and thus increase the list of disasters.
Crowds of women thereupon attacked the churches, pulled down the doors and took possession of the pictures and statues of the saints, which they carried about as a protection against death.
Many people camped along the roads and in the fields, where they thought they would be safer than in the towns, defying the elements, though nearly blinded by ashes, wet to the skin by rain and terrorized by the gigantic curved flaming mass above, resembling a scimitar ready to fall upon them.
The atmosphere during the eruptions was oppressive and yellow with ashes from Vesuvius, causing a feeling of apprehension regarding what the future may hold in store for this city and its vicinity. The volcano was completely hidden in a dense mass of cinder-laden smoke, the only other signs of activity being frequent and very severe detonations and deep rumblings.
All the trains from and to Naples were delayed owing to the tracks being covered with cinders and telegraphic communication with all points was badly congested.
An excursion steamer attempting to reach Naples from the island of Capri had to return, as the passengers were being suffocated by the ashes.
The quantity of ashes and cinders thrown during the eruptions was unprecedented. An analysis showed this discharge to be chiefly composed of iron, sulphur and magnesia. When dry the whole region seemed to be under a gray sheet, but after a fall of rain it appeared to have been transformed into an immense lake of chocolate.
During the activity of the mountain several new craters had opened, especially on its north side and from which streams of lava flooded the beautiful, prosperous and happy land lying on the southeast shores of the Gulf of Naples.
The whole of Vesuvius district as far as Naples, Caserta and Castellammare became one vast desert. The high cone of the volcano was almost entirely destroyed having been swallowed up, so that the height of the mountain is now several hundred feet less than formerly. Its falling in caused a great discharge of red hot stones, flame and smoke.
Professor Di Lorenzo, the scientist and specialist in the study of volcanoes, estimated that the smoke from Vesuvius had reached the height of 25,000 feet. After one of the eruptions ashes from Vesuvius were noticeable in Sicily which is a large island near the extreme end of the peninsula on which Naples is situated and some 200 miles from the crater.
SCENES IN FRIGHTENED NAPLES.
Blistering Showers of Hot Ashes—The People Frantic—Cry Everywhere "When Will It End?"—Atmosphere Charged with Electricity and Poisonous Fumes.
From the first outburst and glare of the eruption all Naples became aroused and trembled with anticipations of horror, and when the hot ashes from the crater of Vesuvius began to fall in blistering showers upon it the entire populace was seized with a fear, which for days was constant, that at any moment they might be crushed into eternity by the awful outpourings from the cauldron of the mountain which was in truth as veritable an inferno as that pictured by Dante. The streets for days, even up to the subsidence of the eruption, were packed with surging crowds, all of whom were fatigued from fear and loss of rest, yet there was hardly one in all the thousands who had not strength enough to pray to the Almighty for deliverance.
At times the fall of sand and ashes appeared to be diminishing, but in the next instant it came again, apparently in greater force than before. The city became frantic from fear and everywhere was heard: "When will it all end?"
The people deserted their shops, the manufactories were nearly all shut down, while the theaters, cafes and places of amusements throughout the city were all closed. The crowds were in a temper for any excess and it would only require a spark to start a conflagration that would have almost equalled that of Vesuvius itself.
When the coating of ashes and cinders covered the ground and roofs of buildings the people believed that their loved and beautiful Naples was doomed, and would be known thereafter only to archaeologists like other cities which Vesuvius in its wrath had overwhelmed.
All railroad service out of the city was interrupted, the engineers refusing to take out their trains because of the darkness caused by the heavy fall of ashes.
Troops were kept constantly clearing the roofs of buildings of the accumulation of sand and ashes which endangered the structures. The large glass-covered galleries throughout the city, were ordered closed lest the weight upon the roofs should cause them to collapse.
Warships and soldiers which had been ordered to the city did effective service in succoring the most distressed and in the removal of refugees. Their presence was also potent in keeping up public confidence and maintaining order. No danger was too great for the troops to encounter and no fatigue too severe for them. They earned the gratitude and admiration of the people by their devotion to duty and bravery. Not only were they credited with many acts of heroism but they displayed untiring perseverance in searching for the living and the dead among tottering walls, assisting fugitives to reach places of safety, giving aid to the wounded and in burying the dead, and all this while partly suffocated by the ash and cinder laden wind blowing from the volcano.
The employes of a tobacco factory at Naples, thinking the roof was about to fall in fled in panic from the building and communicated their fears to so many people outside that the police were compelled to interfere and restore order. Many persons were injured during the panic.
The prisoners in the city jail mutinied owing to fright and succeeded in breaking open some of the doors inside the building, but were finally subdued by the guards.
King Victor Emmanuel and his Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Aosta and others of the royal household were active in rendering aid. The king placed the royal palace of Cappodimonti, situated above this city, at the disposal of the wounded refugees. Firemen and ambulance corps were sent from Rome to aid the sufferers.
The work of succor was hampered owing to delays to the railway service, which was interrupted by red-hot stones thrown to a height of 3,000 feet falling on the tracks.
Not for a century had Naples been so threatened nor its people thrown into such a state of panic. Men, women and children tramped about the streets, raving that their deity had forgotten them and that the end of the world was in sight.
Thousands of people flocked from the towns and farms on the slopes of the mountain and the problem of feeding and caring for the horde had grown serious. These people were left homeless by the streams of lava, which lapped up all their property in some cases within a half hour after the owners had fled.
Earthquake shocks which shattered windows and cracked the walls of buildings added to the terror and when a shock occurred the entire population rushed to the streets in terror, many persons crying, "The Madonna has forsaken us; the end of the world has come."
Vessels lying in the harbor rapidly put to sea with hundreds of the wealthy families, who chartered them outright, while many other ships left because of fear of tidal waves similar to those accompanying the terrific eruption of a century ago, which wrecked scores of vessels and drowned thousands of people here.
The atmosphere of the city became heavily charged with electricity, while breathing at times became almost impossible because of the poisonous fumes and smoke. The detonations from the volcano resembled those of terrible explosions and the falling of the hot ashes made life indeed a burden for the Neapolitans.
The churches of the city were open during the days and nights and were crowded with panic-stricken people. Members of the clergy did their utmost to calm their fears, but the effects of their arguments went almost for naught when renewed earthquake shocks were experienced.
While Mount Vesuvius continued active volumes of cinders and ashes emitted from the volcano fell upon the buildings and streets driving the inhabitants of the city into a condition bordering on frenzy. All night people roamed the streets praying and crying that they might be spared.
The collapse of the Mount Oliveto market, in which 200 or more persons were caught, many being crushed beyond recognition and the continuous rain of sand and ashes throughout the city sent terror to the heart of every Neapolitan.
This market covered a plot of ground 600 feet square. The scenes in the vicinity of the ruins were agonizing, relatives of the victims clamoring to be allowed to go to their dead or dying.
The people seemed demented. They surrounded the market, in many cases tearing their hair, cursing and screaming, "Oh, my husband is there!" or, "Bring out my child!" and endeavoring with their own hands to move heavy beams, from beneath which the groans of the injured were issuing.
The cries for help were so heart-rending that even rescuers were heard to sob aloud as they worked with feverish eagerness to save life or extract the bodies of the dead from the ruins.
Some of the people about the market were heard to exclaim that a curse rested upon the people of Naples for repudiating their saints Monday, when Mount Vesuvius was in its most violent mood.
Even with the sun shining high in the heavens the light was a dim yellow, in the midst of which the few people who remained in the stricken towns, their clothing, hair and beards covered with ashes, moved about in the awful stillness of desolation like gray ghosts.
Railway and tramway travel to and from Naples was much hampered by cinders and ash deposits, and telegraphic communication with the towns farthest in the danger zone was also for a time interrupted.
The scenic effects varied from hour to hour during the eruptions. At times in the north the sky was chocolate colored, lowering and heavy, under which men and women with their hair and clothing covered with ashes moved above like gray ghosts. Fort San Martino, as it towered above the town, could only just be seen, while Castel Dell'ovo was boldly marked in light, seeming like silver against the brown sky.
To the south beyond the smoke zone lay smiling, sunny Posilipo and its peninsula, while far away glistened the sea a deep blue, on which the islands seemed to float in the glow of the setting sun. Adding to the strange picture, one of the French men of war, which arrived in the bay of Naples was so placed as to be half in the glow and half obscured by the belt of falling ashes.
From the observatory of Mount Vesuvius, where Director Matteucci continued his work in behalf of science and humanity, the scene was one of great impressiveness. To reach the observatory one had to walk for miles over hardened but hot lava covered with sand until he came to a point whence nothing could be seen but vast, gray reaches, sometimes flat and sometimes gathered into huge mounds which took on semblance of human faces.
Above, the heavens were gray like the earth beneath and seemed just as hard and immovable. In all this lonely waste there was no sign of life or vegetation and no sound was heard except the low mutterings of the volcano. One seemed almost impelled to scream aloud to break the horrible stillness of a land seemingly forgotten both by God and man.
In many of the towns some of the inhabitants went about hungry and with throats parched with smoke and dust, seemingly unable to tear themselves away from the ruins of what so recently were their homes.
The Italian minister of finance suspended the collection of taxes in the disturbed provinces and military authorities distributed rations and placed huts and tents at the disposition of the homeless.
The property loss from the volcanic outbreak has been placed at more than $25,000,000, while some have estimated that the number of persons rendered homeless amounted to nearly 150,000. Probably less than one-half of that number would come near the exact figures.
As an evidence of the widespread and far-reaching influences set in motion by the eruptions of Vesuvius it should be noted that Father Odenbach of St. Ignatius' college in Cleveland, O., the noted authority on seismic disturbances, reported that his microseismograph, the most delicate instrument known for detecting the presence of earthquakes in any part of the globe, had plainly recorded the disturbances caused by the eruption of Vesuvius. The lines made by the recorder, he said, had shown a wavy motion for several days, indicating a severe agitation in the earth's surface at a remote point.
VOLCANOES AND EARTHQUAKES EXPLAINED.
BY TRUMBULL WHITE.
The Theories of Science on Seismic Convulsions—Volcanoes Likened to Boils on the Human Body through Which the Fires and Impurities of the Blood Manifest Themselves—Seepage of Ocean Waters through Crevices in the Rock Reach the Internal Fires of the Earth—Steam is Generated and an Explosion Follows—Geysers and Steam Boilers as Illustrations—Views of the World's Most Eminent Scientists Concerning the Causes of Eruption of Mount Pelee and La Soufriere.
The earth, like the human body, is subject to constitutional derangement. The fires and impurities of the blood manifest themselves in the shape of boils and eruptions upon the human body. The internal heat of the earth and the chemical changes which are constantly taking place in the interior of the globe, manifest themselves outwardly in the form of earthquakes and volcanoes. In other words, a volcano is a boil or eruption upon the earth's surface.
Scientists have advanced many theories concerning the primary causes of volcanoes, and many explanations relating to the igneous matter discharged from their craters. Like the doctors who disagree in the diagnosis of a human malady, the geologists and volcanists are equally unable to agree in all details concerning this form of the earth's ailment. After all theories relating to the cause of volcanoes have been considered, the one that is most tenable and is sustained by the largest number of scientific men is that which traces volcanic effects back to the old accepted cause of internal fires in the center of the earth. Only in this way can the molten streams of lava emitted by volcanoes be accounted for.
The youngest student of familiar science knows that heat generates an upward and outward force, and like all other forces that it follows the path of least resistance. This force is always present in the internal regions of the earth, which for ages upon ages has been gradually cooling from its poles toward its center. When conditions occur by which it can outwardly manifest itself, it follows the natural law and escapes where the crust of the earth is thinnest.
But something more than the mere presence of internal fire is necessary to account for volcanic action, although it may in a large degree account for minor seismic convulsions in the form of an earthquake. The elements which enter into the source of volcanic eruption are fire and water. The characteristic phenomenon of a volcanic eruption is the steam which issues from the crater before the appearance of the molten lava, dust, ashes and scoria. This accepted theory is plainly illustrated in the eruption of a geyser, which is merely a small water volcano. The water basin of a geyser is connected by a natural bore with a region of great internal heat, and as fast as the heat turns the water into steam, columns of steam and hot water are thrown up from the crater.
One form of volcanic eruption, and its simplest form, is likewise illustrated in a boiler explosion. Observations of the most violent volcanic eruptions show them to be only tremendous boiler explosions at a great depth beneath the earth's surface, where a great quantity of water has been temporarily imprisoned and suddenly converted into steam. In minor eruptions the presence of steam is not noticeable in such quantities, which is simply because the amount of imprisoned water was small and the amount of steam generated was only sufficient to expel the volcanic dust and ashes which formed between the earth's surface and the internal fires of the volcano. The flow of lava which follows violent eruptions is expelled by the outward and upward force of the great internal heat, through the opening made by the steam which precedes it.
The two lines of volcanoes, one north and south, the other east and west, which intersect in the neighborhood of the West Indies, follow the courses where the crust of the earth is thinnest and where great bodies of water lie on the shallowest parts of the ocean bed.
The terrific heat of the earth's internal fires is sufficient to cause crevices leading from these bodies of water to the central fires of the volcano, and the character of the volcanic eruption is determined largely by the size of the crevices so created and the amount of water which finds its way through them. The temperature of these internal fires can only be guessed at, but some idea may be formed of their intense heat from the streams of lava emitted from the volcano. These will sometimes run ten or twelve miles in the open air before cooling sufficiently to solidify. From this it will be seen that the fires are much hotter than are required merely to reduce the rock to a liquid form. From this fact, too, may be seen the instantaneous action by which the water seeping or flowing into the volcano's heart is converted into steam and a tremendous explosive power generated.
The calamity which befell Martinique and St. Vincent will unquestionably lead to a fresh discussion of the causes of volcanic disturbance. Not all of the phenomena involved therein are yet fully understood, and concerning some of them there are perceptible differences of opinion among experts. On at least one point, however, there is general agreement. At a depth of about thirty miles the internal heat of the earth is probably great enough to melt every known substance. Confinement may keep in a rigid condition the material which lies beneath the solid crust, but if an avenue of escape is once opened the stuff would soften and ooze upward. There is a growing tendency, moreover, to recognize the importance of gravitation in producing eruptions. The weight of several miles of rock is almost inconceivable, and it certainly ought to compel "potentially plastic" matter to rise through any crevice that might be newly formed. Russell, Gilbert and some other authorities regard this as the chief mechanical agent in an eruption, at least when there is a considerable outpouring of lava.
As to the extent to which water operates there is some lack of harmony among volcanists. Shaler, Milne and others hold that substance largely, if not entirely, responsible for the trouble. They point to the fact that many volcanoes are situated near the coast of continents or on islands, where leakage from the ocean may possibly occur. Russell, on the other hand, regards water not as the initial factor, but as an occasional, though important, reinforcement. He suspects that when the molten rock has risen to a considerable distance it encounters that fluid, perhaps in a succession of pockets, and that steam is then suddenly generated. The explosive effects which ensue are of two kinds. By the expansion of the moisture which some of the lava contains the latter is reduced to a state of powder, and thus originate the enormous clouds of fine dust which are ejected. Shocks of greater or less violence are also produced. The less severe ones no doubt sound like the discharge of artillery and give rise to tremors in the immediate vicinity. In extreme cases enough force is developed to rend the walls of the volcano itself. Russell attributes the blowing up of Krakatoa to steam. The culminating episode of the Pelee eruption, though not resulting so disastrously to the mountain, would seem to be due to the same immediate cause. To this particular explosion, too, it seems safe to assign the upheaval which excited a tidal wave.
The precise manner in which the plastic material inside of the terrestrial shell gets access to the surface, is not entirely clear. Nevertheless, it is possible to get some light on the matter. It is now well known that in many places there are deep cracks, or "faults," in the earth's crust. Some of them in the remote past have been wide and deep enough to admit molten material from below. The Palisades of the Hudson are believed to have been formed by such an intrusion, the adjacent rock on the eastern face having since been worn away by the weather or other agents. It has been observed that many volcanoes are distributed along similar faults.
The existence of a chain of volcanic islands in the West Indies suggests the probability that it follows a crack of great antiquity, though the issue of lava and ashes for several centuries may have been limited to a few isolated points. Just how these vents have been reopened is one of the most difficult questions still left for investigation. Given a line of weakness in the rocks, though, and a susceptibility to fresh fracture is afforded. Professor McGee suggests that the overloading of the ocean bed by silt from the Mississippi river or other sources may have been the immediately exciting cause of the recent outbreaks. Other geologists have found a similar explanation acceptable in the case of eruptions elsewhere. The theory has much to commend it to favor.
The Martinique disaster already has drawn from geologists and volcanists many expressions of opinion, and explanations of volcanic phenomena which set forth in detail the causes and effects of volcanic eruptions, in particular, and seismic convulsions, in general.
Dr. A. R. Crook, a professor in Northwestern University, has made a special study of volcanoes. He has made an ascent of the two highest in the world, and has climbed many others for purposes of study. He is an authority upon volcanography.
"There are two great circles of volcanoes about the earth," said Professor Crook. "One girdles the earth north and south, extending through Tierra del Fuego (called 'land of fire' because of its volcanoes), Mexico, the Aleutian islands and down through Australia; the other east and west through Hawaii, Mexico, West Indies, Italy (including Mount Vesuvius) and Asia Minor.
"These two circles intersect at two points. One of these is the West Indies, which include Martinique, the scene of this terrible disaster; the other is in the islands of Java, Borneo and Sumatra. On the latter islands there are extinct volcanoes. On the former is the terrible Pelee. It is just at these points of intersection of the two volcanic rings that we expect unusual volcanic activity, and it is there that we find it.
"There has been more or less theorizing as to volcanic disturbances moving in cycles, but it cannot be proved. One fact is established, and that is that a volcano is an explosion caused by water coming in contact with the molten mass below the surface of the earth. This is proved by the great clouds of steam that accompany the action.
"The old theory that the very center of the earth is a molten mass," he says, "is no longer held." He asserts the latest idea is that the center of the earth is more rigid than glass, though less rigid than steel. About this there is more or less molten matter, and over all the surface crust of the earth. This molten matter causes the surface of the earth to give, to sag, and form what is called "wrinkling." When water comes in contact with the heated mass an explosion follows that finds its outlet through the places where there is least resistance, and the result is a volcano.
"There is no part of the earth's surface which is exempt from earthquakes," said Professor Crook, "and there is no regularity in their appearance. Volcanic eruptions are almost always preceded by earthquakes somewhere in the circle. Recently there were earthquakes in the City of Mexico in which many lives were lost. As it is impossible to predict when the next will take place, it is also impossible to tell where it will be. It will certainly be somewhere in the line of the two circles.
"All this is of interest as showing that the earth is still in process of formation just as much as it was a billion years ago. We see the same thing in Yellowstone Park. There most decided changes have taken place even in the last eight years. Old Faithful, which used to play regularly every sixty minutes, now does so only once in twice the time."
With reference to contributions to science, which might be expected from investigations at Martinique, Professor Crook said:
"Even new elements might be discovered, and seismic theories either confirmed or disproved. A volcano always throws off a great variety of materials, hydrochloric and sulphuric acids, iron, silica (sand), sulphur, calcium and magnesium. The lava is of two kinds. That which is easily fusible flows more rapidly than a horse can trot. A more viscous kind cools into shapes like ropes. The latter is common in Hawaii.
"The danger of living in proximity to a volcano is usually well known, but the iron oxides render the soil extremely fertile. This is seen in Sicily about AEtna and Vesuvius. It is seen also in Martinique, where an area of forty miles square was occupied by 160,000 people.
"Owing to the presence of the fumes of chlorine it is probable that many of the victims in St. Pierre were asphyxiated, and so died easily. Others doubtless were buried in ashes, like the Roman soldier in Pompeii, or were caught in some enclosed place which being surrounded by molten lava resulted in slow roasting. It is indeed a horrible disaster and one which we may well pray not to see duplicated. Science, however, has no means of knowing that it may not occur again."
Professor Robert T. Hill, of the United States Geological Survey, who visited the French West Indies on a tour of scientific inspection, says:
"Across the throat of the Caribbean extends a chain of islands which are really smoldering furnaces, with fires banked up, ever ready to break forth at some unexpected and inopportune moment. This group, commencing with Saba, near Porto Rico, and ending with Grenada, consists of ancient ash heaps, piled up in times past by volcanic action. For nearly one hundred years there has been not the slightest sign of explosion and we had grown to class these volcanoes as extinct.
"Volcanism is still one of the most inexplicable and profound problems which defy the power of geologists to explain, and one of its most singular peculiarities is the fact that it sometimes breaks forth simultaneously in widely distant portions of the earth. A sympathetic relation of this kind has long been known between Hecla and Vesuvius, and it is very probable that the Carib volcanoes have some such sympathetic relation with the volcanoes of Central America and southern Mexico. At the time of the explosion of St. Vincent other explosions preceded or followed it in northern South America and Central America.
"The outburst of Mount Pelee, in Martinique, is apparently the culmination of a number of recent volcanic disturbances which have been unusually severe. Colima, in Mexico, was in eruption but a few months previous, while Chelpancingo, the capital of the State of Guerrero, was nearly destroyed by earthquakes which followed.
"Only a few days before Mount Pelee erupted, the cities of Guatemala were shaken down by tremendous earthquakes."
Professor N. S. Shaler, of Harvard University, a world authority on volcanic disturbances, says:
"Volcanic outbreaks are merely the explosion of steam under high pressure—steam which is bound in rocks buried underneath the surface of the earth and there subjected to such tremendous heat that when the conditions are right its pent up energy breaks forth, and it shatters its stone prison walls into dust.