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Title: Complete Story of the San Francisco Horror
Author: Fallows, Samuel, 1835-1922, Linthicum, Richard, 1859-1934, White, Trumbull, 1868-1941
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Complete Story of the San Francisco Horror" ***

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Transcriber's Note

Chapters 27 and 33 both end abruptly in the middle of a sentence.
There are no omitted page numbers, so it is likely that this was an
error made by the publisher when the book was in preparation.

There are some instances where sections of text are repeated, and
these are preserved as printed. It may be that this book was published
very hurriedly following the earthquake, and that these repetitions
were simply missed.

Bold text is marked with = signs, =like this=.

                   COMPLETE STORY OF THE

                   San Francisco Horror


  A Comprehensive and Connected Account of the Terrible
  Tragedy that Befell the People of Our Golden City--The
  Metropolis of the Golden Gate, and the Death and Ruin
  Dealt Many Adjacent Cities and Surrounding Country.
  Destroying Earthquake Comes Without Warning, in the Early
  Hours of the Morning; Immense Structures Topple and
  Crumble; Great Leland Stanford University Succumbs; Water
  Mains Demolished and Fire Completes Devastation; Fighting
  Fire With Dynamite.


  Thousands Killed, Maimed, or Unaccounted For; Tens of
  Thousands Without Food or Shelter; Martial Law Declared;
  Millions Donated for Relief; Congress Makes an
  Appropriation; Sympathetic Citizens Throughout the Land
  Untie Their Purse-Strings to Aid the Suffering and
  Destitute; Property Loss Hundreds of Millions; Appalling
  Stories by Eye Witnesses and Survivors; The Disaster as
  Viewed by Scientists, etc.

  Comprising Also a Vivid Portrayal of the Recent

                 ERUPTION OF MT. VESUVIUS

  BY RICHARD LINTHICUM of the Editorial Staff of the Chicago

  Together with twelve descriptive chapters giving a graphic
  and detailed account of the most interesting and historic
  disasters of the past from ancient times to the present

    BY TRUMBULL WHITE Historian, Traveler and Geographer.

  Profusely Illustrated with Photographic Scenes of the
  Great Disasters and Views of the Devastated Cities and
  Their People.


  Lives, homes and property lost in a few seconds.]

[Illustration: =A PANORAMA OF THE RUINS.=

  Photographed from Nob Hill--City Hall at the left.]


  View from Nob Hill.]





In presenting this history of the San Francisco Earthquake Horror and
Conflagration to the public, the publishers can assure the reader that
it is the most complete and authentic history of the great disaster

The publishers set out with the determination to produce a work that
would leave no room for any other history on this subject, a task for
which they had the best facilities and the most perfect equipment.

The question of cost was not taken into consideration. The publishers
wanted the best writers, the best illustrations, the best paper,
printing and binding and proceeded immediately to get them. The
services of the two best historical writers in the United States were
secured within an hour after the first news of the catastrophe was
received. The names and historical works of Richard Linthicum and
Trumbull White are known in every household in the United States where
current history is read. They are the authors of many standard works,
including histories of recent wars and books of permanent reference,
and rank among the world's greatest descriptive writers.

A large staff of photographers have supplied illustrations for this
great historical work depicting every phase of the catastrophe from
the first shock of earthquake to the final work of relief. These
illustrations have special interest and value because they are made
from actual photographs taken by trained and skilled photographers.
This history of the most recent of the world's great disasters is
beyond all comparison the most sumptuously and completely illustrated
of any publication on this subject. So numerous are the illustrations
and so accurately do they portray every detail of the quake and fire
that they constitute in themselves a complete, graphic and
comprehensive pictorial history of the great catastrophe.

The story as told by the authors, however, is one of absorbing
interest that thrills the reader with emotion and depicts the scenes
of terror, destruction, misery and suffering as vividly as if the
reader were an eye-witness to all the details of the stupendous

The history of the Earthquake and Fire Horror is told consecutively
and systematically from beginning to end.

"The Doomed City" is a pen picture of San Francisco while its
destruction was impending.

The four days of the conflagration are described each in separate
chapters in such a way that the reader can follow the progress of the
fire from the time of the first alarm until it was conquered by the
dynamite squad of heroes.

A great amount of space has been devoted to "Thrilling Personal
Experiences" and "Scenes of Death and Terror," so that the reader has
a thousand and one phases of the horror as witnessed by those who
passed through the awful experience of the earthquake shock and the
ordeal of the conflagration.

For purposes of comparison a chapter has been devoted to a magnificent
description of San Francisco before the fire, "The City of a Hundred
Hills," the Mecca of sight-seers and pleasure loving travelers.

The descriptions of the Refuge Camps established in Golden Gate Park,
the Presidio and other open spaces depict the sorrow and the suffering
of the stricken people in words that appeal to the heart.

The magnificent manner in which the whole nation responded with aid
and the conduct of the relief work are told in a way that brings a
thrill of pride to every American heart.

"Fighting the Fire with Dynamite" is a thrilling chapter of personal
bravery and heroism, and the work of the "Boys in Blue" who patrolled
the city and guarded life and property is adequately narrated.

Chinatown in San Francisco was one of the sights of the world and was
visited by practically every tourist that passed through the Golden
Gate. That odd corner of Cathay which was converted into a roaring
furnace and completely consumed is described with breathless interest.

The "Ruin and Havoc in Other Coast Cities" describes the destruction
of the great Leland Stanford, Jr., University, the scenes of horror
and death at the State Asylum which collapsed, and in other ruined
cities of the Pacific coast.

"The Earthquake as Viewed by Scientists" is a valuable addition to the
seismology of the world--a science that is too little known, but which
possesses tremendous interest for everyone.

The threatened destruction of Naples by the volcano of Vesuvius
preceding the San Francisco disaster is fully described. The chapters
on Vesuvius are especially valuable and interesting, by reason of the
scientific belief that the two disasters are intimately related.

Altogether this volume is the best and most complete history of all
the great disasters of the world and one that should be in the hands
of every intelligent citizen, both as a historical and reference



    Preface                                                7

    Introduction                                          21



    Earthquake Begins the Wreck of San Francisco
    and a Conflagration without Parallel Completes
    the Work of Destruction--Tremendous Loss of
    Life in Quake and Fire--Property Loss
    $200,000,000                                          33



    Flames Spread in a Hundred Directions and the
    Fire Becomes the Greatest Conflagration of
    Modern Times--Entire Business Section and
    Fairest Part of Residence District Wiped Off
    the Map--Palaces of Millionaires Vanish in
    Flames or are Blown Up by Dynamite--The Worst
    Day of the Catastrophe                                46



    Fire Spreads North and South Attended by Many
    Spectacular Features--Heroic Work of Soldiers
    Under General Funston--Explosions of Gas Add
    to General Terror                                     57



    Fierce Battle to Save the Famous Ferry
    Station, the Chief Inlet to and Egress from
    San Francisco--Fire Tugs and Vessels in the
    Bay Aid in Heroic Fight--Fort Mason, General
    Funston's Temporary Headquarters, has Narrow
    Escape--A Survey of the Scene of Desolation           69



    A Description of San Francisco, the Metropolis
    of the Pacific Coast, Before the Fire--One of
    the Most Beautiful and Picturesque Cities in
    America--Home of the California Bonanza Kings         78

[Illustration: =JAMES D. PHELAN.=

  Former Mayor of San Francisco, and who gave $1,000,000 for the
  relief of the sufferers. Largest sum given by an individual.]

[Illustration: =EUGENE E. SCHMITZ.=

  Mayor of San Francisco and who rendered great assistance in bringing
  order out of chaos.]





    Thrilling Escapes and Deeds of Daring--Sublime
    Bravery and Self-Sacrifice by Men and
    Women--How the United States Mint and the
    Treasuries Were Saved and Protected by Devoted
    Employes and Soldiers--Pathetic Street
    Incidents--Soldiers and Police Compel
    Fashionably Attired to Assist in Cleaning
    Streets--Italians Drench Homes with Wine             103



    Scenes of Horror and Panic Described by
    Victims of the Quake Who Escaped--How Helpless
    People Were Crushed to Death by Falling
    Buildings and Debris--Some Marvelous Escapes         119



    Hairbreadth Escapes from the Hotels Whose
    Walls Crumbled--Frantic Mothers Seek Children
    from Whom They Were Torn by the
    Quake--Reckless Use of Firearms by Cadet
    Militia--Tales of Heroism and Suffering              132



    A Graphic Pen Picture of San Francisco in
    Flames and in Ruins--Scenes and Stories of
    Human Interest where Millionaires and Paupers
    Mingled in a Common Brotherhood--A Harrowing
    Trip in an Automobile                                141



    Government Appropriates Millions and Chicago
    Leads All Other Cities with a Round Million
    of Dollars--People in All Ranks of Life from
    President Roosevelt to the Humblest Wage
    Earner Give Promptly and Freely                      157



    Citizens' Committee Takes Charge of the
    Distribution of Supplies, Aided by the Red
    Cross Society and the Army--Nearly
    Three-Fourths of the Entire Population Fed
    and Sheltered in Refuge Camps                        162



    United States Troops at the Presidio and Fort
    Mason Under Command of General Funston Bring
    Order Out of Chaos and Save City from
    Pestilence--San Francisco Said "Thank God
    for the Boys in Blue"--Stricken City
    Patrolled by Soldiers                                171



    Scenes of Destitution in the Parks Where the
    Homeless Were Gathered--Rich and Poor Share
    Food and Bed Alike--All Distinctions of Wealth
    and Social Position Wiped Out by the Great
    Calamity                                             178



    San Jose, the Prettiest Place in the State,
    Wrecked by Quake--State Insane Asylum
    Collapsed and Buried Many Patients Beneath
    the Crumbled Walls--Enormous Damage at Santa
    Rosa                                                 189



    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                            198



    San Francisco Conflagration Eventually Checked
    by the Use of Explosives--Lesson of Baltimore
    Needed in Coast City--Western Remnant of City
    in Residence Section Saved by Blowing Up
    Beautiful Homes of the Rich                          208



    Many Babies Born in Refuge Camps--Expressions
    of Sympathy from Foreign Nations--San
    Francisco's Famous Restaurants--Plight of
    Newspaper and Telegraph Offices                      214



    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                    230



    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                                             246



    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    255



    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              267



    Blistering Showers of Hot Ashes--The People
    Frantic--Cry Everywhere "When Will It
    End?"--Atmosphere Charged with Electricity
    and Poisonous Fumes                                  279




    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 Rocks Reaches 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
    the Eruptions of Mount Pelee and La Soufriere        285




    Destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah and the Other
    Cities of the Plain--The Bible Account a
    Graphic Description of the Event--Ancient
    Writers Tell of Earthquakes and Volcanoes of
    Antiquity--Discovery of Buried Cities of
    Which No Records Remain--Formation of the
    Dead Sea--The Valley of the Jordan and Its
    Physical Characteristics                             303




    Most Famous Volcanic Eruption in History--Roman
    Cities Overwhelmed--Scenes of Horror Described by
    Pliny, the Great Classic Writer, an Eye-Witness
    of the Disaster--Buried in Ashes and Lava--The
    Stricken Towns Preserved for Centuries Excavated
    in Modern Times as a Wonderful Museum of the Life
    of 1,800 Years Ago                                   309




    A Volcano with a Record of Twenty-five
    Centuries--Seventy-eight Recorded
    Eruptions--Three Hundred Thousand Inhabitants
    Dwelling on the Slopes of the Mountain and in the
    Valleys at Its Base--Stories of Earthquake Shocks
    and Lava Flows--Tales of Destruction--Described
    by Ancient and Modern Writers and Eye-Witnesses      321




    Sixty Thousand Lives Lost in a Few Moments--An
    Opulent and Populous Capital Destroyed--Graphic
    Account by an English Merchant Who Resided in
    the Stricken City--Tidal Waves Drown Thousands
    in the City Streets--Ships Engulfed in the
    Harbor--Criminals Rob and Burn--Terrible
    Desolation and Suffering                             334




    The Island Empire Subject to Convulsions of
    Nature--Legends of Ancient Disturbances--Famous
    Volcano of Fuji-yama Formed in One Night--More
    Than One Hundred Volcanoes in Japan--Two Hundred
    and Thirty-two Eruptions Recorded--Devastation of
    Thriving Towns and Busy Cities--The Capital a
    Sufferer--Scenes of Desolation after the Most
    Recent Great Earthquakes                             344




    East Indian Catastrophes--The Volcano that Blew
    Its Own Head Off--The Terrific Crash Heard Three
    Thousand Miles--Atmospheric Waves Travel Seven
    Times Around the Earth--A Pillar of Dust
    Seventeen Miles High--Islands of the Malay
    Archipelago Blotted Out of Existence--Native
    Villages Annihilated--Other Disastrous Upheavals
    in the East Indies                                   353




    Greatest Volcanoes in the World Are Under the
    American Flag--Huge Craters in Our Pacific
    Islands--Native Worship of the Gods of the
    Flaming Mountains--Eruptions of the Past--Heroic
    Defiance of Pele, the Goddess of Volcanoes by a
    Brave Hawaiian Queen--The Spell of Superstition
    Broken--Volcanic Peaks in Alaska, Our Northern
    Territory--Aleutian Islands Report Eruptions         363




    Earthquakes Ravage the Coast Cities of Peru and
    the Neighboring Countries--Spanish Capitals in
    the New World Frequent Sufferers--Lima, Callao
    and Caracas Devastated--Tidal Waves Accompany
    the Earthquakes--Juan Fernandez Island
    Shaken--Fissures Engulf Men and Animals--Peculiar
    Effects Observed                                     373




    A Region Frequently Disturbed by Subterranean
    Forces--Guatemala a Fated City--A Lake Eruption
    in Honduras Described by a Great Painter--City of
    San Jose Destroyed--Inhabitants Leave the
    Vicinity to Wander as Beggars--Disturbances on
    the Route of the Proposed Nicaragua Canal--San
    Salvador Is Shaken--Mexican Cities Suffer            382




    Earthquake Shock in South Carolina--Many Lives
    Lost in the Riven City--Galveston Smitten by
    Tidal Wave and Hurricane--Thousands Die in
    Flood and Shattered Buildings--The Gulf Coast
    Desolated--Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Swept by
    Water from a Bursting Reservoir--Scenes of
    Horror                                               389




    Fifty Thousand Men, Women and Children Slain in
    an Instant--Molten Fire and Suffocating Gases Rob
    Multitudes of Life--Death Reigns in the Streets
    of the Stricken City--The Governor and Foreign
    Consuls Die at Their Posts of Duty--No Escape for
    the Hapless Residents in the Fated Town--Scenes
    of Suffering Described--Desolation Over All--Few
    Left to Tell the Tale of the Morning of Disaster     397


    The Awful Horror of an Earthquake           Frontispiece

    A Panorama of the Ruins                     Frontispiece

    Business District of San Francisco          Frontispiece

    Former Mayor James D. Phelan                          11

    Mayor Eugene E. Schmitz                               11

    Looking East on Market Street                         12

    View from Fifth and Market Streets                    12

    Market Street, Scene of Ruins                         31

    United States Guards in Charge of Dead                32

    Street Torn Up by Earthquake                          41

    Stockton Street                                       42

    Grant Avenue                                          42

    Mission Street                                        43

    O'Farrell Street                                      43

    Looking North from Sixth and Market Streets           44

    The Orpheum Theatre                                   44

    San Francisco on Fire                                 53

    Destroyed Wholesale Houses                            54

    Cracks in Earth                                       63

    Ruins of Emporium Building                            63

    Map--Bird's-Eye View of San Francisco                 64

    Ruins of Hall of Justice                              65

    Looking Down Market Toward Call Building              66

    From California Street Toward Call Building           66

    Market Street Before the Disaster                     75

    The Devouring Flames                                  76

    Mark Hopkins Institute, Nob Hill                      85

    United States Mint                                    86

    New Postoffice Building                               87

    Jefferson Square                                      88

    Chronicle Building                                    97

    St. Francis Hotel (Before the Earthquake)             97

    Ferry House                                           98

    Free Water                                           115

    Distributing Clothes                                 115

    Wires Destroyed                                      116

    Military Camp                                        116

    Kitchens in the Street                               133

    Wing of City Hall, Crumbled                          133

    Cattle Killed                                        134

    St. John's Church, Ruined                            134

    Camp Kitchen in Ball Park                            151

    Shacks in Golden Gate Park                           151

    Governor Pardee                                      152

    Major General Adolphus Greely                        152

    Refugees on Telegraph Hill                           169

    General Funston and Wife                             170

    Vendome Hotel, San Jose                              187

    Postoffice, San Jose                                 188

    Corner of Baptist Church                             205

    Kearney Street, San Francisco                        205

    Ferry Building                                       206

    Military Quarters                                    206

    Randolph Storage                                     223

    Switchboard Destroyed                                223

    St. Dominici Church, Freak with Steeple              224

    St. Dominici Church, Wrecked                         224

    Chinese Refugees                                     241

    Flat Building, Sunk                                  242

    Seeking Lost Friends                                 259

    All that Was Left of a Fine Residence                259

    Soldiers' Encampment                                 260

    Alameda Park                                         260

    Dolores Mission                                      277

    Wreck and Ruin                                       278

    Wreck and Ruin                                       278

    Crack in Earth                                       295

    Ghoulish Thieves Looting the Dead                    296

    Effect of Earthquake on Modern Steel Building        313

    Vesuvius During Recent Eruption                      314

    Road Leading to Vesuvius Before Eruption             314


  Showing towns and section of country that suffered the most from
  effects of earthquake.]



A bright, intelligent unbeliever in the Providential government of the
world has just said to me in discussing this greatest of calamities
which has occurred in our nation's history, "Where is your benevolent
God?" I answered "He still lives and guides the affairs of men."
Another said, "The preachers would do well not to meddle with the
subject." But the reply was made, "It is precisely the subject with
which they, more than others, should concern themselves."

It is for them, when the hearts of men are failing to confidently
proclaim that God has not abdicated his throne, and that man is not
the sport of malign and lawless forces.

All events are ordered for the best; and the evils which we suffer are
parts of a great movement conducted by Almighty power, under the
direction of Infinite Wisdom and Goodness. God's creation is a perfect
work. The world in which we live is the best possible world on the
whole; not the best possible to the individual at any given moment,
but the best possible on the whole, all creatures considered and all
the ages of man taken into the account. This is the affirmation of a
triumphant optimism.

John Stuart Mill averred that a better world could have been made and
more favorable conditions for man devised. But before this hypothesis
can be sustained, the skeptic from the beginning of time must have
scanned the history of every individual and studied it in its minutest
details. He must have explored every rill and river of influence
entering into his character. He must have understood every relation of
the individual to every other person through all the ages. He must
have mastered all the facts and laws of our earth. And as it sustains
a vital connection with the solar system, he must have grasped all the
mysteries which are involved in it.

As this system is related to the still grander one of which it is a
part, he must have known the law and workings of its every star and
sun. Still more, he must have gone from system to system with their
millions of worlds and become familiar with every part of the vast
stupendous whole. He must have learned every secret of all Nature's
forces, and have penetrated into the interior recesses of the Divine
Being. He must have taken the place of God Himself.

A Divine Providence.

Amid all our doubts and distresses we must hold fast to the belief
that there is a God who maketh the clouds His chariot and walketh upon
the wings of the wind--a God who is present in every summer breath and
every wintry blast, in every budding leaf, and every opening flower,
in the fall of every sparrow and the wheeling of every world. His
Providence is in every swinging of the tides, in every circulation of
the air, in all attractions and repulsions, in all cohesions and
gravitations. These, and the varied phenomena of nature are the direct
expressions of the Divine Energy, the modes of operation of the Divine
Mind, the manifestations of the Divine Wisdom and the expressions of
the Divine Love.

The very thunderbolt that rives the oak and by its shock sunders the
soul from the body of some unfortunate one purifies the air that
millions may breathe the breath of life.

The very earthquake which shakes the earth to its center and shatters
cities into ruin, prevents by that very concussion the graver
catastrophes which bury continents out of sight.

The very hurricane which comes sweeping down and on, prostrating
forests, hurling mighty tidal waves on the shore and sending down many
a gallant ship with all its crew, bears on its destructive wings, "the
incense of the sea," to remotest parts, that there may be the blooming
of flowers, the upspringing of grass, the waving of all the banners of
green, and the carrying away of the vapors of death that spring from
decaying mold.

Man the Conqueror.

Pascal said "man is but a reed, the feeblest thing in nature, but he
is a reed that thinks." The elemental forces break loose and for the
time being he cannot control them. Amid nature's convulsions he is
utterly helpless and insignificant.

It is but for a moment, however, that he yields. He knows that he is
the central figure in the universe of worlds. "He is not one part of
the furniture of this planet, not the highest merely in the scale of
its creatures but the lord of all." He is not a parasite but the
paragon of the globe. He has faith in the unchangeableness of the laws
he is mastering while suffering from them. He confidently declares
there is nothing fitful, nothing capricious, nothing irregular in
their action. The greater the calamity the more earnest his effort to
ascertain its causes and learn the lessons it teaches.

Fearlessly man must meet the events of life as they come. Speculations
as to future cataclysms and fearful forebodings as to the immediate
end of the world must all be given to the winds. There will be at some
time an end to our globe. It may be frozen out, or burned out, or
scattered into impalpable dust by the terrific explosion of steam
generated by an ocean of water precipitated into an ocean of fire. But
cycles of millenniums will intervene before such an apocalypse takes

In the spirit of Campbell's "Last Man" we must live, and act;

    "Go sun, while mercy holds me up
      On nature's awful waste
    To taste the last and bitter cup
      Of death, that man must taste:
      Go, say thou saw'st the last of Adam's race
    On earth's sepulchral clod,
      The darkening Universe defy,
      To quench his immortality
    Or shake his trust in God."

Wickedness not the Cause of Destruction.

There are among us men who seem to suppose that they have been let
into the counsels of the Almighty and have the right to aver that this
calamity so colossal in its proportions and awful in its character is
a judgment upon our sister city for its great wickedness. I heard
similar declarations when Chicago was swept by its tornado of flame.
Neither Chicago nor San Francisco could claim to be pre-eminent in
righteousness, but, that Divine Providence should visit the vials of
His wrath in an especial manner upon them because of their iniquity,
is utterly repugnant both to reason and Holy Scripture. Only by a
special revelation from the Most High, accompanied with evidence
corresponding to that which substantiates the claims of an Old
Testament prophet can any warrant be given to any man to declare that
a great catastrophe is the consequence of the moral sins of a given

The Book of Job gives the emphatic denial to the claim that specific
human misery and suffering are the sure signs of the retribution for
specific guilt or sin. The Great Teacher and Divine Savior of men
reaffirmed the truth of the teachings of that ancient poem by
asserting that the man born blind was not thus grievously afflicted
because he himself or his parents had been guilty of some peculiar
iniquity. He declared that the eighteen persons who had been killed by
the falling of the Tower of Siloam (probably from an earthquake
shock), were not greater sinners than those who were hearing him

The Unity of Humanity.

This great disaster has given a new emphasis to our National Unity.
Congress for the first time has voted to aid directly a city in
distress within the bounds of our country. State Legislatures have
followed its example, while municipal organizations by the score have
poured out their benefactions.

From all quarters of the civilized globe expressions of sympathy have
come and tenders of help made, without parallel in the annals of time.

All this has revealed the essential oneness of Humanity. It has shown
that beneath all the artificial distinctions of society man is the
equal of his fellow man. All the barriers of nationality, creed,
color, social position, riches, poverty have been broken down in the
common sufferings of the stricken people on our Western Coast. The
chord of brotherhood is vibrating in all our hearts. Its divine
melodies are heard above the roar and rush of business in our streets.
We have been amassing wealth too often selfishly, and madly. We have
been making money our god; and now we see how vain a thing it is in
which to put our trust. Now we feel "it is more blessed to give than
to receive." Now, kindness and tenderness melt the hardness of our
natures. Now, as we stretch the helping hand and witness the joy and
gratitude evoked, by our God-like deeds, we feel in every fiber of our
being the thrill of the poet's rapt exclamation:

    "O, if there be an Elysium on earth
    It is this, it is this."

Recovery from Earthquakes.

Earthquakes throughout the world have not disturbed the ultimate
confidence of man in the stability of this old and often seemingly
wayward earth. All Greece was convulsed centuries ago from center to
circumference and Constantinople for the second time was overturned
with the loss of tens of thousands of lives. Five hundred years
afterwards the city was again shaken and a large number of its
buildings destroyed with an appalling loss of life. Again and again
was the ancient city of Antioch shattered in almost every portion but
each time she arose stronger than before. Fifteen hundred years ago
one mighty shock cost the lives of 250,000 of its people, but Antioch
remains, although its grandeur from other causes has departed. Twice
at least has Naples been partly destroyed along with its neighboring
towns and more than 100,000 people have perished. But Naples is still
on the map of the earth.

Lisbon, one hundred and fifty years ago lost 50,000 of its inhabitants
and had a part of its territory suddenly submerged under 600 feet of
water. For 5,000 miles the earthquake extended and shook Scotland
itself, alarming the English people and causing fasting and prayer and
special sermons in the Scotch and Anglican churches.

Two hundred years ago Tokio was almost entirely destroyed. Every
building was practically in ruins and more than 200,000 were numbered
among its mangled dead. Again in 1855 it nearly suffered a similar
fate with a decreased though very large loss of life. But Tokio has
helped Japan play its dramatic part in the recent history of the

Graphic descriptions have been left us by eye witnesses of the
tremendous upheaval in the great Mississippi Valley in 1811, when the
flow of the mighty river was stopped, and the land on its banks for
vast distances from its current was sunk for a stretch of nearly 300
miles. But the Father of Waters still goes on unvexed to the sea.

Charleston was sadly shaken twenty years ago, but her streets are not
deserted. Senator Tillman still speaks vigorously as the
representative of her wide-awake and increasing population.

Some of us have not forgotten when we saw Chicago burning in 1871, the
doubts and fears of our own hearts regarding the future of our city.
Jeremiads were oracularly and dolefully uttered by many a prophetic
pessimist that Chicago would never be rebuilt, that it would be burned
again if it should rise from its ashes. Well! it did rise. It was
again sadly burned. It again arose. It has been rising and growing
ever since. And it is now ready to send its millions of dollars and
more if needed to the stricken cities on our Pacific coast.

Not in fear then, but in hope, must our homes, our churches, our
schools, our manufactories, our marts of trade, our bank buildings,
our office buildings and other needed structures be established.

San Francisco will be Rebuilt.

The prophets of evil may croak as dismally as they may desire and
predict that the earth will again shudder and quake and imperil if not
destroy any city man may attempt to create on the now dismantled and
disfigured site. But San Francisco will as surely be rebuilt as the
sun rises in heaven. No earthquake upheaval can shake the determined
will of the unconquerable American to recover from disaster. It will
simply serve to make him more rock-rooted and firm in his purpose to
pluck victory from defeat. No fiery blasts can burn up the asbestos of
his unconsumable energy. No disaster, however seemingly overwhelming,
can daunt his faith or dim his hope, or prevent his progress.

San Francisco occupies the imperial gateway of the Pacific. Her
harbor, one of the best in the world, still preserves its contour and
extends its protecting arms as when Francis Drake found his way into
it nearly four hundred years ago. The finger of Providence still
points to it amid wreck and ruin and smoldering ashes as the place
where a teeming city with every mark of a splendid civilization shall
be the pride of our Western shores. Her wailing Miserere shall be
turned into a joyful Te Deum.

Not for a moment after the temporary paralysis is past will the work
of reconstruction be delayed. We know not when another shock may come
or whether it will come again at all. No matter. The city shall rise
again. And with it, shall the other cities that have suffered from the
earth's commotion rise again into newness of life. California will not
cease to be the land of fruits and flowers, of beauty and bounty, of
sunshine and splendor from this temporary disturbance. It will
continue to maintain its just reputation for all that is admirable in
the American character, of pluck and perseverance, of vigor and
versatility, and above all of the royal hospitality of its homes and
of the welcome it always extends to every new and inspiring thought.

    Samuel Fallows


  Looking west on Market Street from 5th Street. The man in gutter was
  probably shot by the soldiers.]

[Illustration: Copyright by R. L. Forrest 1906.


  A scene in Jefferson Square where the U. S. Guards are caring for
  the dead. Note the caskets, dead person laid out on mattress, also
  guard tents, embalming fluids in demijohns, etc. Name or description
  of the dead being recorded.]



    =Earthquake Begins the Wreck of San Francisco and a
    Conflagration without Parallel Completes the Awful Work
    of Destruction--Tremendous Loss of life in Quake and
    Fire--Property Loss $200,000,000.=

After four days and three nights that have no parallel outside of
Dante's Inferno, the city of San Francisco, the American metropolis by
the Golden Gate, was a mass of glowing embers fast resolving into
heaps and winrows of grey ashes emblematic of devastation and death.

Where on the morning of April 18, 1906, stood a city of magnificent
splendor, wealthier and more prosperous than Tyre and Sidon of
antiquity, enriched by the mines of Ophir, there lay but a scene of
desolation. The proud and beautiful city had been shorn of its
manifold glories, its palaces and vast commercial emporiums levelled
to the earth and its wide area of homes, where dwelt a happy and a
prosperous people, lay prostrate in thin ashes. Here and there in the
charred ruins and the streets lately blackened by waves of flame, lay
crushed or charred corpses, unheeded by the survivors, some of whom
were fighting desperately for their lives and property, while others
were panic stricken and paralyzed by fear. Thousands of lives had been
sacrificed and millions upon millions of dollars in property utterly

The beginning of the unparalleled catastrophe was on the morning of
April 18, 1906. In the grey dawn, when but few had arisen for the day,
a shock of earthquake rocked the foundations of the city and
precipitated scenes of panic and terror throughout the business and
residence districts.

It was 5:15 o'clock in the morning when the terrific earthquake shook
San Francisco and the surrounding country. One shock apparently lasted
two minutes and there was an almost immediate collapse of flimsy
structures all over the former city. The water supply was cut off and
when fires broke out in various sections there was nothing to do but
to let the buildings burn. Telegraphic and telephone communication was
shut off. Electric light and gas plants were rendered useless and the
city was left without water, light or power. Street car tracks were
twisted out of shape and even the ferry-boats ceased to run.

The dreadful earthquake shock came without warning, its motion
apparently being from east to west. At first the upheaval of the earth
was gradual, but in a few seconds it increased in intensity. Chimneys
began to fall and buildings to crack, tottering on their foundations.

People became panic stricken and rushed into the streets, most of them
in their night attire. They were met by showers of falling buildings,
bricks, cornices and walls. Many were instantly crushed to death,
while others were dreadfully mangled. Those who remained indoors
generally escaped with their lives, though scores were hit by detached
plaster, pictures and articles thrown to the floor by the shock.

Scarcely had the earth ceased to shake when fires broke out
simultaneously in many places. The fire department promptly responded
to the first calls for aid, but it was found that the water mains had
been rendered useless by the underground movement. Fanned by a light
breeze, the flames quickly spread and soon many blocks were seen to be

Then dynamite was resorted to and the sound of frequent explosions
added to the terror of the people. All efforts to stay the progress of
the fire, however, proved futile. The south side of Market street from
Ninth street to the bay was soon ablaze, the fire covering a belt two
blocks wide. On this, the main thoroughfare of the city, are located
many of the finest edifices in the city, including the Grant,
Parrott, Flood, Call, Examiner and Monadnock buildings, the Palace and
Grand hotels and numerous wholesale houses.

At the same time the commercial establishments and banks north of
Market street were burning. The burning district in this section
extended from Sansome street to the water front and from Market street
to Broadway. Fires also broke out in the mission and the entire city
seemed to be in flames.

The fire swept down the streets so rapidly that it was practically
impossible to save anything in its way. It reached the Grand Opera
House on Mission street and in a moment had burned through the roof.
The Metropolitan opera company from New York had just opened its
season there and all the expensive scenery and costumes were soon
reduced to ashes. From the opera house the fire leaped from building
to building, leveling them almost to the ground in quick succession.

The Call editorial and mechanical departments were totally destroyed
in a few minutes and the flames leaped across Stevenson street toward
the fine fifteen-story stone and iron Claus Spreckels building, which
with its lofty dome is the most notable edifice in San Francisco. Two
small wooden buildings furnished fuel to ignite the splendid pile.

Thousands of people watched the hungry tongues of flame licking the
stone walls. At first no impression was made, but suddenly there was a
cracking of glass and an entrance was affected. The interior
furnishings of the fourth floor were the first to go. Then as though
by magic, smoke issued from the top of the dome.

This was followed by a most spectacular illumination. The round
windows of the dome shone like so many full moons; they burst and gave
vent to long, waving streamers of flame. The crowd watched the
spectacle with bated breath. One woman wrung her hands and burst into
a torrent of tears.

"It is so terrible!" she sobbed. The tall and slender structure which
had withstood the forces of the earth appeared doomed to fall a prey
to fire. After a while, however, the light grew less intense and the
flames, finding nothing more to consume, gradually went, leaving the
building standing but completely burned out.

The Palace Hotel, the rear of which was constantly threatened, was the
scene of much excitement, the guests leaving in haste, many only with
the clothing they wore. Finding that the hotel, being surrounded on
all sides by streets, was likely to remain immune, many returned and
made arrangements for the removal of their belongings, though little
could be taken away owing to the utter absence of transportation
facilities. The fire broke out anew and the building was soon a mass
of ruins.

The Parrott building, in which were located the chambers of the state
supreme court, the lower floors being devoted to an immense department
store, was ruined, though its massive walls were not all destroyed.

A little farther down Market street the Academy of Sciences and the
Jennie Flood building and the History building kindled and burned like
tinder. Sparks carried across the wide street ignited the Phelan
building and the army headquarters of the department of California,
General Funston commanding, were burned.

Still nearing the bay, the waters of which did the firemen good
service, along the docks, the fire took the Rialto building, a
handsome skyscraper, and converted scores of solid business blocks
into smoldering piles of brick.

Banks and commercial houses, supposed to be fireproof though not of
modern build, burned quickly and the roar of the flames could be heard
even on the hills, which were out of the danger zone. Here many
thousands of people congregated and witnessed the awful scene. Great
sheets of flame rose high in the heavens or rushed down some narrow
street, joining midway between the sidewalks and making a horizontal
chimney of the former passage ways.

The dense smoke that arose from the entire business spread out like an
immense funnel and could have been seen for miles out at sea.
Occasionally, as some drug house or place stored with chemicals was
reached, most fantastic effects were produced by the colored flames
and smoke which rolled out against the darker background.

When the first shock occurred at 5:15 a. m. most of the population
were in bed and many lodging houses collapsed with every occupant.
There was no warning of the awful catastrophe. First came a slight
shock, followed almost immediately by a second and then the great
shock that sent buildings swaying and tumbling. Fire broke out
immediately. Every able-bodied man who could be pressed into service
was put to work rescuing the victims.

Panic seized most of the people and they rushed frantically about.
Toward the ferry building there was a rush of those fleeing to cross
the bay. Few carried any effects and some were hardly dressed. The
streets were filled immediately with panic-stricken people and the
frequently occurring shocks sent them into unreasoning panic. Fires
lighted up the sky in every direction in the breaking dawn. In the
business district devastation met the eye on every hand.

The area bounded by Washington, Mission and Montgomery streets and
extending to the bay front was quickly devastated. That represented
the heart of the handsome business section.

The greatest destruction on the first day occurred in that part of the
city which was reclaimed from San Francisco Bay. Much of the
devastated district was at one time low marshy ground entirely covered
by water at high tide. As the city grew it became necessary to fill in
many acres of this low ground in order to reach deep water. The
Merchants' Exchange building, a fourteen-story steel structure, was
situated on the edge of this reclaimed ground. It had just been
completed and the executive offices of the Southern Pacific Company
occupied the greater part of the building.

The damage by the earthquake to the residence portion of the city, the
finest part of which was on Nob Hill and Pacific Heights, was slight
but the fire completely destroyed that section on the following day.

To the westward, on Pacific Heights, were many fine, new residences,
but little injury was done to any of them by the quake.

The Palace Hotel, a seven-story building about 300 feet square, was
built thirty years ago by the late Senator Sharon, whose estate was in
the courts for many years. At the time it was erected the Palace was
considered the best equipped hotel in the west.

The offices of the three morning papers, the Chronicle, the Call and
the Examiner, were located within 100 feet of each other. The
Chronicle, situated at the corner of Market and Kearney streets, was a
ten-story steel frame building and was one of the finest buildings of
its character put up in San Francisco.

The Spreckels building, in which were located the business office of
the Call, was sixteen stories high and very narrow. The editorial
rooms, composing room and pressroom were in a small three-story
building immediately in the rear of the Spreckels building.

Just across Third street was the home of the Examiner, seven stories
high, with a frontage of 100 feet on Market street.

The postoffice was a fine, grey stone structure and had been completed
less than two years. It covered half a block on Mission street between
Sixth and Seventh streets. The ground on which the building stood was
of a swampy character and some difficulty was experienced in obtaining
a solid foundation.

The City Hall, which was badly wrecked by the quake and afterwards
swept by the fire, was a mile and a half from the water front. It was
an imposing structure with a dome 150 feet high. The building covered
about three acres and cost more than $7,000,000.

The Grand Opera House, where the Metropolitan Opera Company opened a
two weeks' engagement the previous Monday night, was one of the oldest
theaters in San Francisco. It was located on Mission street between
Third and Fourth streets and for a number of years was the leading
playhouse of the city.

In 1885 when business began to move off of Mission street and to seek
modern structures this playhouse was closed for some time and later
devoted to vaudeville. Within the past four years, however, numerous
fine buildings had been erected on Mission street and the Grand Opera
house had been used by many of the leading independent theatrical

All efforts to prevent the fire from reaching the Palace and Grand
hotels were unsuccessful and both were completely destroyed together
with all their contents.

All of San Francisco's best playhouses, including the Majestic,
Columbia, Orpheum and Grand Opera house were soon a mass of ruins. The
earthquake demolished them for all practical purposes and the fire
completed the work of demolition. The handsome Rialto and Casserly
buildings were burned to the ground, as was everything in that

The scene at the Mechanics' Pavilion during the early hours of the
morning and up until noon, when all the injured and dead were removed
because of the threatened destruction of the building by fire, was one
of indescribable sadness. Sisters, brothers, wives and sweethearts
searched eagerly for some missing dear one.

Thousands of persons hurriedly went through the building inspecting
the cots on which the sufferers lay in the hope that they would locate
some loved one that was missing.

The dead were placed in one portion of the building and the remainder
was devoted to hospital purposes. The fire forced the nurses and
physicians to desert the building; the eager crowds followed them to
the Presidio and the Children's hospital, where they renewed their
search for missing relatives.

The experience of the first day of the fire was a great testimonial to
the modern steel building. A score of those structures were in course
of erection and not one of them suffered. The completed modern
buildings were also immune from harm by earthquake. The buildings that
collapsed were all flimsy, wooden and old-fashioned brick structures.

On the evening of Wednesday, April 18, the first day of the fire, an
area of thickly covered ground of eight square miles had been burned
over and it was apparent that the entire city was doomed to

Nearly every famous landmark that had made San Francisco famous over
the world had been laid in ruins or burned to the ground in the dire
catastrophe. Never was the fate of a city more disastrous.

For three miles along the water front buildings had been swept clean
and the blackened beams and great skeletons of factories and offices
stood silhouetted against a background of flame that was slowly
spreading over the entire city.

The whole commercial and office section of the city on the north side
of Market street from the ferry building to Tenth street had been
consumed in the hell of flame, while hardly a building was standing in
the district south of Market street. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon,
despite the heroic work of the firemen and the troops of dynamiters,
who razed building after building and blew up property valued at
millions, the flames spread across Market street to the north side and
swept up Montgomery street, practically to Washington street. Along
Montgomery street were some of the richest banks and commercial houses
in San Francisco.

[Illustration: Copyright by R. L. Forrest 1906.


  A photograph of street in front of new Postoffice. Note how the car
  tracks are thrown up and twisted.]




  Photographed from Fourth Street.]

[Illustration: =O'FARRELL STREET.=

  A new steel building which was being erected shown at the right.]



The famous Mills building and the new Merchants Exchange were still
standing, but the Mutual Life Insurance building and scores of bank
and office buildings were on fire, while blocks of other houses were
in the path of the flames and nothing seemed to be at hand to stay
their progress.

Nearly every big factory building had been wiped out of existence and
a complete enumeration of them would look like a copy of the city

Many of the finest buildings in the city had been leveled to dust by
the terrific charges of dynamite in hopeless effort to stay the horror
of fire. In this work many heroic soldiers, policemen and firemen were
maimed or killed outright.

At 10 o'clock at night the fire was unabated and thousands of people
were fleeing to the hills and clamoring for places on the ferry boats
at the ferry landing.

From the Cliff House came word that the great pleasure resort and show
place of the city, which stood upon a foundation of solid rock, had
been swept into the sea. This report proved to be unfounded, but it
was not until three days later that any one got close enough to the
Cliff House to discover that it was still safe.

One of the big losses of the day was the destruction of St. Ignatius'
church and college at Van Ness avenue and Hayes street. This was the
greatest Jesuitical institution in the west and built at a cost of

By 7 o'clock at night the fire had swept from the south side of the
town across Market street into the district called the Western
addition and was burning houses at Golden Gate avenue and Octavia.
This result was reached after almost the entire southern district from
Ninth street to the eastern water front had been converted into a
blackened waste. In this section were hundreds of factories, wholesale
houses and many business firms, in addition to thousands of homes.



    =Flames Spread in a Hundred Directions and the Fire
    Becomes the Greatest Conflagration of Modern
    Times--Entire Business Section and Fairest Part of
    Residence District Wiped Off the Map--Palaces of
    Millionaires Vanish in Flames or are Blown Up by
    Dynamite--The Worst Day of the Catastrophe.=

Marius sitting among the ruins of Carthage saw not such a sight as
presented itself to the afflicted people of San Francisco in the dim
haze of the smoke pall at the end of the second day. Ruins stark
naked, yawning at fearful angles and pinnacled into a thousand
fearsome shapes, marked the site of what was three-fourths of the
total area of the city.

Only the outer fringe of the city was left, and the flames which swept
unimpeded in a hundred directions were swiftly obliterating what

Nothing worthy of the name of building in the business district and
not more than half of the residence district had escaped. Of its
population of 400,000 nearly 300,000 were homeless.

Gutted throughout its entire magnificent financial quarters by the
swift work of thirty hours and with a black ruin covering more than
seven square miles out into her very heart, the city waited in a
stupor the inevitable struggle with privation and hardship.

All the hospitals except the free city hospital had been destroyed,
and the authorities were dragging the injured, sick and dying from
place to place for safety.

All day the fire, sweeping in a dozen directions, irresistibly
completed the desolation of the city. Nob Hill district, in which
were situated the home of Mrs. Stanford, the priceless Hopkins Art
Institute, the Fairmount hotel, a marble palace that cost millions of
dollars and homes of a hundred millionaires, was destroyed.

It was not without a struggle that Mayor Schmitz and his aides let
this, the fairest section of the city, suffer obliteration. Before
noon when the flames were marching swiftly on Nob Hill, but were still
far off, dynamite was dragged up the steep debris laden streets. For a
distance of a mile every residence on the east side of Van Ness avenue
was swept away in a vain hope to stay the progress of the fire.

After sucking dry even the sewers the fire engines were either
abandoned or moved to the outlying districts.

There was no help. Water was gone, powder was gone, hope even was a
fiction. The fair city by the Golden Gate was doomed to be blotted
from the sight of man.

The stricken people who wandered through the streets in pathetic
helplessness and sat upon their scattered belongings in cooling ruins
reached the stage of dumb, uncaring despair, the city dissolving
before their eyes had no significance longer.

There was no business quarter; it was gone. There was no longer a
hotel district, a theater route, a place where Night beckoned to
Pleasure. Everything was gone.

But a portion of the residence domain of the city remained, and the
jaws of the disaster were closing down on that with relentless

All of the city south of Market street, even down to Islais creek and
out as far as Valencia street, was a smouldering ruin. Into the
western addition and the Pacific avenue heights three broad fingers of
fire were feeling their way with a speed that foretold the destruction
of all the palace sites of the city before the night would be over.

There was no longer a downtown district. A blot of black spread from
East street to Octavia, bounded on the south and north by Broadway
and Washington streets and Islais creek respectively. Not a bank
stood. There were no longer any exchanges, insurance offices,
brokerages, real estate offices, all that once represented the
financial heart of the city and its industrial strength.

Up Market street from the Ferry building to Valfira street nothing but
the black fingers of jagged ruins pointed to the smoke blanket that
pressed low overhead. What was once California, Sansome, and
Montgomery streets was a labyrinth of grim blackened walls.

Chinatown was no more. Union square was a barren waste.

The Call building stood proudly erect, lifting its whited head above
the ruin like some leprous thing and with all its windows, dead,
staring eyes that looked upon nothing but a wilderness. The proud
Flood building was a hollow shell.

The St. Francis Hotel, one time a place of luxury, was naught but a
box of stone and steel.

Yet the flames leaped on exultantly. They leapt chasms like a
waterfall taking a precipice. Now they are here, now there, always
pressing on into the west and through to the end of the city.

It was supposed that the fire had eaten itself out in the wholesale
district below Sansome street, and that the main body of the flames
was confined to the district south of Market street, where the oil
works, the furniture factories, and the vast lumber yards had given
fodder into the mouth of the fire fiend.

Yet, suddenly, as if by perverse devilishness, a fierce wind from the
west swept over the crest of Nob Hill and was answered by leaping
tongues of flames from out of the heart of the ruins.

By 8:30 o'clock Montgomery street had been spanned and the great
Merchants' Exchange building on California street flamed out like the
beacon torch of a falling star. From the dark fringe of humanity,
watching on the crest of the California street hill, there sprang the
noise of a sudden catching of the breath--not a sigh, not a
groan--just a sharp gasp, betraying a stress of despair near to the
insanity point.

Nine o'clock and the great Crocker building shot sparks and added
tongues of fire to the high heavens. Immediately the fire jumped to
Kearney street, licking at the fat provender that shaped itself for

Then began the mournful procession of Japanese and poor whites
occupying the rookeries about Dupont street and along Pine. Tugging at
heavy ropes, they rasped trunks up the steep pavements of California
and Pine streets to places of temporary safety.

It was a motley crew. Women laden with bundles and dragging reluctant
children by the hands panted up the steep slope with terror stamped on
their faces.

Men with household furniture heaped camelwise on their shoulders
trudged stoically over the rough cobbles, with the flame of the fire
bronzing their faces into the outlines of a gargoyle. One patriotic
son of Nippon labored painfully up Dupont street with the crayon
portrait of the emperor of Japan on his back.

While this zone of fire was swiftly gnawing its way through Kearney
street and up the hill, another and even more terrible segment of the
conflagration was being stubbornly fought at the corner of Golden Gate
avenue and Polk street. There exhausted firemen directed the feeble
streams from two hoses upon a solid block of streaming flame.

The engines pumped the supply from the sewers. Notwithstanding this
desperate stand, the flames progressed until they had reached Octavia

Like a sickle set to a field of grain the fiery crescent spread around
the southerly end of the west addition up to Oak and Fell streets,
along Octavia. There one puny engine puffed a single stream of water
upon the burning mass, but its efforts were like the stabbing of a
pigmy at a giant.

All the district bounded by Octavia, Golden Gate avenue, and Market
street was a blackened ruin. One picked his way through the fallen
walls on Van Ness avenue as he would cross an Arizona mesa. It was an
absolute ruin, gaunt and flame lighted.

From the midst rose the great square wall of St. Ignatius college,
standing like another ruined Acropolis in dead Athens.

Behind the gaunt specter of what had once been the city hall a
blizzard of flame swept back into the gore between Turk and Market
streets. Peeled of its heavy stone facing like a young leek that is
stripped of its wrappings, the dome of the city hall rose spectral
against the nebulous background of sparks.

From its summit looked down the goddess of justice, who had kept her
pedestal even while the ones of masonry below her feet had been
toppled to the earth in huge blocks the size of a freight car.

Through the gaunt iron ribs and the dome the red glare suffusing the
whole northern sky glinted like the color of blood in a hand held to
the sun.

At midnight the Hibernian bank was doomed, for from the frame
buildings west of it there was being swept a veritable maelstrom of
sheet flame that leaped toward it in giant strides. Not a fireman was
in sight.

Across the street amid the smoke stood the new postoffice, one of the
few buildings saved. Turk street was the northern boundary of this
V-shaped zone of the flames, but at 2 o'clock this street also was
crossed and the triumphant march onward continued.

At midnight another fire, which had started in front of Fisher's Music
Hall, on O'Farrell street, had gouged its terrible way through to
Market street, carrying away what the morning's blaze across the
street had left miraculously undestroyed.

Into Eddy and Turk streets the flames plunged, and soon the magnificent
Flood building was doomed.

The firemen made an ineffectual attempt to check the ravages of the
advancing phalanx of flames, but their efforts were absolutely without
avail. First from across the street shot tongues of flames which
cracked the glass in one of the Flood building's upper story windows.
Then a shower of sparks was sent driving at a lace curtain which
fluttered out in the draft. The flimsy whipping rag caught, a tongue
of flame crept up its length and into the window casement.

"My God, let me get out of this," said a man below who had watched the
massive shape of the huge pile arise defiant before the flames. "I
can't stand to see that go, too."

Shortly after midnight the streets about Union Square were barred by
the red stripes of the fire. First Cordes Furniture Company's store
went, then Brennor's. Next a tongue of flames crept stealthily into
the rear of the City of Paris store, on the corner of Geary and
Stockton streets.

Eager spectators watched for the first red streamers to appear from
the windows of the great dry goods stores. Smoke eddied from under
window sills and through cracks made by the earthquake in the
cornices. Then the cloud grew denser. A puff of hot wind came from the
west, and as if from the signal there streamed flamboyantly from every
window in the top floor of the structure billowing banners, as a poppy
colored silk that jumped skyward in curling, snapping breadths, a
fearful heraldry of the pomp of destruction.

From the copper minarets on the Hebrew synagogue behind Union square
tiny green, coppery flames next began to shoot forth. They grew
quickly larger, and as the heat increased in intensity there shone
from the two great bulbs of metal sheathing an iridescence that
blinded like a sight into a blast furnace.

With a roar the minarets exploded almost simultaneously, and the
sparks shot up to mingle with the dulled stars overhead. The Union
League and Pacific Union clubs next shone red with the fire that was
glutting them.

On three sides ringed with sheets of flame rose the Dewey memorial in
the midst of Union square. Victory tiptoeing on the apex of the column
glowed red with the flames. It was as if the goddess of battle had
suddenly become apostate and a fiend linked in sympathy with the
devils of the blaze.

On the first day of the catastrophe the St. Francis escaped. On the
second it fell. In the space of two hours the flames had blotted it
out, and by night only the charred skeleton remained.

As a prelude to the destruction of the St. Francis the fire swept the
homes of the Bohemian, Pacific, Union, and Family clubs, the best in
San Francisco.

With them were obliterated the huge retail stores along Post street;
St. Luke's Church, the biggest Episcopal church on the Pacific coast,
and the priceless Hopkins Art Institute.

From Union square to Chinatown it is only a pistol shot. By noon all
Chinatown was a blazing furnace, the rickety wooden hives, where the
largest Chinese colony in this country lived, was perfect fuel for the

Then Nob Hill, the charmed circle of the city, the residential
district of its millionaires and of those whose names have made it
famous, went with the rest of the city into oblivion. The Fairmount
Hotel, marble palace built by Mrs. Oelrichs, crowned this district.

Grouped around it were the residences of Mrs. Stanford, and a score of
millionaires' homes on Van Ness avenue. One by one they were buried in
the onrushing flames, and when the fire was passed they were gone.

Here the most desperate effort of the fight to save the city was made.
Nothing was spared. There was no discrimination, no sentiment. Rich
men aided willingly in the destruction of their own homes that some of
the city might be saved.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906, by American-Journal-Examiner. All
rights reserved. Any infractions of this copyright will be prosecuted
to the full extent of the law.


  This is a view from Valley Street looking down Kearney toward Market.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906, by American-Journal-Examiner. All
rights reserved. Any infractions of this copyright will be prosecuted
to the full extent of the law.


  This photograph shows the wreck and ruin wrought by the earthquake
  and fire in the wholesale district.]

But the sacrifice and the labor went for nothing. No human power could
stay the flames. As darkness was falling the fire was eating its way
through the heart of this residential district. The mayor was
forced to announce that the last hope had been dashed.

All the district bounded by Union, Van Ness, Golden Gate, to Octavia,
Hayes, and Fillmore to Market was doomed. The fire fighters, troops,
citizens, and city officials left the scene, powerless to do more.

On the morning of the second day when the fire reached the municipal
building on Portsmouth square, the nurses, helped by soldiers, got out
fifty bodies in the temporary morgue and a number of patients in the
receiving hospital. Just after they reached the street a building was
blown up and the flying bricks and splinters hurt a number of the
soldiers, who had to be taken to the out of doors Presidio Hospital
with the patients.

Mechanics' pavilion, which, after housing prize fights, conventions,
and great balls, found its last use as an emergency hospital. When it
was seen that it could not last every vehicle in sight was impressed
by the troops, and the wounded, some of them frightfully mangled, were
taken to the Presidio, where they were out of danger and found comfort
in tents.

The physicians worked without sleep and almost without food. There was
food, however, for the injured; the soldiers saw to that. Even the
soldiers flagged, and kept guard in relays, while the relieved men
slept on the ground where they dropped.

The troops shut down with iron hands on the city, for where one man
was homeless the first night five were homeless the second night. With
the fire running all along the water front, few managed to make their
way over to Oakland. The people for the most part were prisoners on
the peninsula.

The soldiers enforced the rule against moving about except to escape
the flames, and absolutely no one could enter the city who once had

The seat of city government and of military authority shifted with
every shift of the flames. Mayor Schmitz and General Funston stuck
close together and kept in touch with the firemen and police, the
volunteer aids, and the committee of safety through couriers.

There were loud reverberations along the fire line at night. Supplies
of gun cotton and cordite from the Presidio were commandeered and the
troops and the few remaining firemen made another futile effort to
check the fiery advance.

Along the wharves the fire tugs saved most of the docks. But the
Pacific mail dock had been reached and was out of control; and finally
China basin, which was filled in for a freight yard at the expense of
millions of dollars, had sunk into the bay and the water was over the
tracks. This was one of the greatest single losses in the whole

Without sleep and without food, crowds watched all night Wednesday and
all day Thursday from the hills, looking off toward that veil of fire
and smoke that hid the city which had become a hell.

Back of that sheet of fire, and retreating backward every hour, were
most of the people of the city, forced toward the Pacific by the
advance of the flames. The open space of the Presidio and Golden Gate
park was their only haven and so the night of the second day found



    =Fire Spreads North and South Attended by Many
    Spectacular Features--Heroic Work of Soldiers Under
    General Funston--Explosions of Gas Add to General

The third day of the fire was attended by many spectacular features,
many scenes of disaster and many acts of daring heroism.

When night came the fire was raging over fifty acres of the water
front lying between Bay street and the end of Meiggs and Fisherman's
wharf. To the eastward it extended down to the sea wall, but had not
reached the piers, which lay a quarter of a mile toward the east.

The cannery and warehouses of the Central California Canneries
Company, together with 20,000 cases of canned fruit, was totally
destroyed, as also was the Simpson and other lumber companies' yards.

The flames reached the tanks of the San Francisco Gas Company, which
had previously been pumped out, and had burned the ends of the grain
sheds, five in number, which extended further out toward the point.

Flame and smoke hid from view the vessels that lay off shore vainly
attempting to check the fire. No water was available except from the
waterside and it was not until almost dark that the department was
able to turn its attention to this point.

At dusk the fire had been checked at Van Ness avenue and Filbert
street. The buildings on a high slope between Van Ness and Polk, Union
and Filbert streets were blazing fiercely, fanned by a high wind, but
the blocks were so sparsely settled that the fire had but a slender
chance of crossing Van Ness at that point.

Mayor Schmitz, who directed operations at that point, conferred with
the military authorities and decided that it was not necessary to
dynamite the buildings on the west side of Van Ness. As much of the
fire department as could be collected was assembled to make a stand at
that point.

To add to the horrors of the general situation and the general alarm
of many people who ascribed the cause of the subterranean trouble to
another convulsion of nature, explosions of sewer gas have ribboned
and ribbed many streets. A Vesuvius in miniature was created by such
an upheaval at Bryant and Eighth streets. Cobblestones were hurled
twenty feet upward and dirt vomited out of the ground. This situation
added to the calamity, as it was feared the sewer gas would breed

Thousands were roaming the streets famishing for food and water and
while supplies were coming in by the train loads the system of
distribution was not in complete working order.

Many thousands had not tasted food or water for two and three days.
They were on the verge of starvation.

The flames were checked north of Telegraph hill, the western boundary
being along Franklin street and California street southeast to Market
street. The firemen checked the advance of flames by dynamiting two
large residences and then backfiring. Many times before had the
firemen made such an effort, but always previously had they met

But success at that hour meant little for San Francisco.

The flames still burned fitfully about the city, but the spread of
fire had been checked.

A three-story lodging house at Fifth and Minna streets collapsed and
over seventy-five dead bodies were taken out. There were at least
fifty other dead bodies exposed. This building was one of the first
to take fire on Fifth street. At least 100 people were lost in the
Cosmopolitan on Fourth street.

The only building standing between Mission, Howard, East and Stewart
streets was the San Pablo hotel. The shot tower at First and Howard
streets was gone. This landmark was built forty years ago. The Risdon
Iron works were partially destroyed. The Great Western Smelting and
Refining works escaped damages, also the Mutual Electric Light works,
with slight damage to the American Rubber Company, Vietagas Engine
Company, Folger Brothers' coffee and spice house was also uninjured
and the firm gave away large quantities of bread and milk.

Over 150 people were lost in the Brunswick hotel, Seventh and Mission

The soldiers who rendered such heroic aid took the cue from General
Funston. He had not slept. He was the real ruler of San Francisco. All
the military tents available were set up in the Presidio and the
troops were turned out of the barracks to bivouac on the ground.

In the shelter tents they placed first the sick, second the more
delicate of the women, and third, the nursing mothers, and in the
afternoon he ordered all the dead buried at once in a temporary
cemetery in the Presidio grounds. The recovered bodies were carted
about the city ahead of the flames.

Many lay in the city morgue until the fire reached that; then it was
Portsmouth square until it grew too hot; afterwards they were taken to
the Presidio. There was another stream of bodies which had lain in
Mechanics' pavilion at first, and had then been laid out in Columbia
square, in the heart of a district devastated first by the earthquake
and then by fire.

The condition of the bodies was becoming a great danger. Yet the
troops had no men to spare to dig graves, and the young and able
bodied men were mainly fighting on the fire line or utterly exhausted.

It was Funston who ordered that the old men and the weaklings should
take this work in hand. They did it willingly enough, but had they
refused the troops on guard would have forced them. It was ruled that
every man physically capable of handling a spade or a pick should dig
for an hour. When the first shallow graves were ready the men, under
the direction of the troops, lowered the bodies several in a grave,
and a strange burial began.

The women gathered about crying; many of them knelt while a Catholic
priest read the burial service and pronounced absolution. All the
afternoon this went on.

Representatives of the city authorities took the names of as many of
the dead as could be identified and the descriptions of the others.
Many, of course, will never be identified.

So confident were the authorities that they had the situation in
control at the end of the third day that Mayor Schmitz issued the
following proclamation:

    "To the Citizens of San Francisco: The fire is now under
    control and all danger is passed. The only fear is that
    other fires may start should the people build fires in
    their stoves and I therefore warn all citizens not to
    build fires in their homes until the chimneys have been
    inspected and repaired properly. All citizens are urged
    to discountenance the building of fires. I congratulate
    the citizens of San Francisco upon the fortitude they
    have displayed and I urge upon them the necessity of
    aiding the authorities in the work of relieving the
    destitute and suffering. For the relief of those persons
    who are encamped in the various sections of the city
    everything possible is being done. In Golden Gate park,
    where there are approximately 200,000 homeless persons,
    relief stations have been established. The Spring Valley
    Water Company has informed me that the Mission district
    will be supplied with water this afternoon, between
    10,000 and 12,000 gallons daily being available. Lake
    Merced will be taken by the federal troops and that
    supply protected.

        "Eugene E. Schmitz, Mayor."

Although the third day of San Francisco's desolation dawned with
hope, it ended in despair.

In the early hours of the day the flames, which had raged for
thirty-six hours, seemed to be checked.

Then late in the afternoon a fierce gale of wind from the northwest
set in and by 7 o'clock the conflagration, with its energy restored,
was sweeping over fifty acres of the water front.

The darkness and the wind, which at times amounted to a gale, added
fresh terrors to the situation. The authorities considered conditions
so grave that it was decided to swear in immediately 1,000 special
policemen armed with rifles furnished by the federal government.

In addition to this force, companies of the national guard arrived
from many interior points.

In the forenoon, when it was believed the fire had been checked, the
full extent of the destitution and suffering of the people was seen
for the first time in near perspective. While the whole city was
burning there was no thought of food or shelter, death, injury,
privation, or loss. The dead were left unburied and the living were
left to find food and a place to sleep where they could.

On the morning of the third day, however, the indescribable
destitution and suffering were borne in upon the authorities with
crushing force. Dawn found a line of men, women, and children,
numbering thousands, awaiting morsels of food at the street bakeries.
The police and military were present in force, and each person was
allowed only one loaf.

A big bakery was started early in the morning in the outskirts of the
city, with the announcement that it would turn out 50,000 loaves of
bread before night. The news spread and thousands of hungry persons
crowded before its doors before the first deliveries were hot from the
oven. Here again police and soldiers kept order and permitted each
person to take only one loaf. The loaves were given out without cost.

These precautions were necessary, for earlier in the day bread had
sold as high as $1 a loaf and two loaves and a can of sardines brought
in one instance $3.50.

Mayor Schmitz took prompt and drastic steps to stop this extortion. By
his order all grocery and provision stores in the outlying districts
which had escaped the flames were entered by the police and their
goods confiscated.

Next to the need for food there was a cry for water, which until
Friday morning the authorities could not answer.

In spite of all efforts to relieve distress there was indescribable

Women and children who had comfortable, happy homes a few days before
slept that night--if sleep came at all--on hay on the wharves, on the
sand lots near North beach, some of them under the little tents made
of sheeting, which poorly protected them from the chilling ocean
winds. The people in the parks were better provided in the matter of
shelter, for they left their homes better prepared.

Thousands of members of families were separated, ignorant of one
another's whereabouts and without means of ascertaining. The police on
Friday opened up a bureau of registration to bring relatives together.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Front new Postoffice.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Largest department store west of Chicago.]


  A general view of city looking west toward the Pacific Ocean, also
  showing locations such as Nob Hill, business district, Market Street,
  Golden Gate and the famous Cliff House.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906, by American-Journal-Examiner. All
rights reserved. Any infractions of this copyright will be prosecuted
to the full extent of the law.


  As photographs are true to life, they also convey to the eye correct
  views of this vast destruction.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Call Building in the distance.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  The Call Building also shown in background.]

The work of burying the dead was begun Friday for the first time. Out
at the Presidio soldiers pressed into service all men who came near
and forced them to labor at burying the dead. So thick were the
corpses piled up that they were becoming a menace, and early in the
day the order was issued to bury them at any cost. The soldiers were
needed for other work, so, at the point of rifles, the citizens were
compelled to take the work of burying. Some objected at first, but the
troops stood no trifling, and every man who came in reach was forced
to work at least one hour. Rich men who had never done such work
labored by the side of the workingmen digging trenches in the sand for
the sepulcher of those who fell in the awful calamity. At the present
writing many still remain unburied and the soldiers are still
pressing men into service.

The Folsom street dock was turned into a temporary hospital, the
harbor hospital being unable to accommodate all the injured who were
brought there.

About 100 patients were stretched on the dock at one time. In the
evening tugs conveyed them to Goat Island, where they were lodged in
the hospital. The docks from Howard street to Folsom street had been
saved, and the fire at this point was not permitted to creep farther
east than Main street.

The work of clearing up the wrecked city has already begun at the
water front in the business section of the town. A force of 100 men
were employed under the direction of the street department clearing up
the debris and putting the streets in proper condition.

It was impossible to secure a vehicle except at extortionate prices.
One merchant engaged a teamster and horse and wagon, agreeing to pay
$50 an hour. Charges of $20 for carrying trunks a few blocks were
common. The police and military seized teams wherever they required
them, their wishes being enforced at revolver point if the owner
proved indisposed to comply with the demands.

Up and down the broad avenues of the parks the troops patrolled,
keeping order. This was difficult at times, for the second hysterical
stage had succeeded the paralysis of the first day and people were
doing strange things. A man, running half naked, tearing at his
clothes, and crying, "The end of all things has come!" was caught by
the soldiers and placed under arrest.

Under a tree on the broad lawn of the children's playground a baby was
born. By good luck there was a doctor there, and the women helped out,
so that the mother appeared to be safe. They carried her later to the
children's building in the park and did their best to make her

All night wagons mounted with barrels and guarded by soldiers drove
through the park doling out water. There was always a crush about
these wagons and but one drink was allowed to a person.

Separate supplies were sent to the sick in the tents. The troops
allowed no camp fires, fearing that the trees of the park might catch
and drive the people out of this refuge to the open and windswept
sands by the ocean.

The wind which had saved the heights came cold across the park,
driving a damp fog, and for those who had no blankets it was a
terrible night, for many of them were exhausted and must sleep, even
in the cold. They threw themselves down in the wet grass and fell

When the morning came the people even prepared to make the camp
permanent. An ingenious man hung up before his little blanket shelter
a sign on a stick giving his name and address before the fire wiped
him out. This became a fashion, and it was taken to mean that the
space was preempted.

Toward midnight a black, staggering body of men began to weave through
the entrance. They were volunteer fire fighters, looking for a place
to throw themselves down and sleep. These men dropped out all along
the line and were rolled out of the driveways by the troops.

There was much splendid unselfishness there. Women gave up their
blankets and sat up or walked about all night to cover exhausted men
who had fought fire until there was no more fight in them.



    =Fierce Battle to Save the Famous Ferry Station, the
    Chief Inlet to and Egress from San Francisco--Fire Tugs
    and Vessels in the Bay Aid in Heroic Fight--Fort Mason,
    General Funston's Temporary Headquarters, has Narrow
    Escape--A Survey of the Scene of Desolation.=

When darkness fell over the desolate city at the end of the fourth day
of terror, the heroic men who had borne the burden of the fight with
the flames breathed their first sigh of relief, for what remained of
the proud metropolis of the Pacific coast was safe.

This was but a semi-circular fringe, however, for San Francisco was a
city desolate with twenty square miles of its best area in ashes. In
that blackened territory lay the ruins of sixty thousand buildings,
once worth many millions of dollars and containing many millions more.

The fourth and last day of the world's greatest conflagration had been
one of dire calamity and in some respects was the most spectacular of
all. On the evening of the third day (Friday) a gale swept over the
city from the west, fanned the glowing embers into fierce flames and
again started them upon a path of terrible destruction.

The fire which had practically burnt itself out north of Telegraph
Hill was revived by the wind and bursting into a blaze crept toward
the East, threatening the destruction of the entire water front,
including the Union ferry depot, the only means of egress from the
devastated city.

The weary firemen still at work in other quarters of the city were
hastily summoned to combat the new danger. Hundreds of sailors from
United States warships and hundreds of soldiers joined in the battle,
and from midnight until dawn men fought fire as never fire had been
fought before. Fire tugs drew up along the water front and threw
immense streams of water on to the flames of burning factories,
warehouses and sheds.

Blocks of buildings were blown up with powder, guncotton, and
dynamite, or torn down by men armed with axes and ropes. All night
long the struggle continued. Mayor Schmitz and Chief of Police Dinan,
although without sleep for forty-eight hours, remained on the scene
all night to assist army and navy officers in directing the fight.

At 7 o'clock Saturday morning, April 21, the battle was won. At that
hour the fire was burning grain sheds on the water front about half a
mile north of the Ferry station, but was confined to a comparatively
small area, and with the work of the fireboats on the bay and the
firemen on shore, who were using salt water pumped from the bay,
prevented the flames from reaching the Ferry building and the docks in
that immediate vicinity.

On the north beach the fire did not reach that part of the water front
lying west of the foot of Powell street. The fire on the water front
was the only one burning. The entire western addition to the city
lying west of Van Ness avenue, which escaped the sweep of flame on
Friday, was absolutely safe.

Forty carloads of supplies, which had been run upon the belt line
tracks near one of the burned wharves, were destroyed during the

A survey of the water front Saturday morning showed that everything
except four docks had been swept clean from Fisherman's wharf, at the
foot of Powell street, to a point around westerly, almost to the Ferry

This means that nearly a mile of grain sheds, docks and wharves were
added to the general destruction. In the section north of Market
street the ruined district was practically bounded on the west by Van
Ness avenue, although in many blocks the flames destroyed squares to
the west of that thoroughfare. The Van Ness avenue burned line runs
northerly to Greenwich street, which is a few blocks from the bay.
Then the boundary was up over Telegraph Hill and down to that portion
of the shore that faces Oakland. Practically everything included
between Market, Van Ness avenue, Greenwich, and the bay was in ashes.

On the east side of Hyde street hill the fire burned down to Bay
street and Montgomery avenue and stopped at that intersection.

Fort Mason was saved only by the most strenuous efforts of soldiers
and firemen. It stands just north of the edge of the burned district,
the flames having been checked only three blocks away at Greenwich

All south of Market street except in the vicinity of the Pacific Mail
dock, was gone. This section is bounded on the north by Market street
and runs out to Guerrero street, goes out that street two blocks,
turns west to Dolores, runs west six blocks to about Twenty-second,
taking in four blocks on the other side of Dolores. The fire then took
an irregular course southward, spreading out as far as Twenty-fifth
street and went down that way to the southerly bay shore.

Maj. C. A. Devol, depot quartermaster and superintendent of the
transport service, graphically described the conquering of the fire on
the water front, in which he played an important part:

"This fire, which ate its way down to the water front early Friday
afternoon, was the climax of the whole situation.

"We realized at once that were the water front to go, San Francisco
would be shut off from the world, thus paralyzing all transportation
faculties for bringing in food and water to the thousands of refugees
huddled on the hillsides from Fort Mason to Golden Gate Park. It would
have been impossible to either come in or go out of the city save by
row boats and floats, or by the blocked passage overland southward.

"This all-important section of the city first broke into flames in a
hollow near Meiggs wharf, about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The tugs
of our service were all busy transporting provisions from Oakland, but
the gravity of the situation made it necessary for all of them to turn
to fire-fighting.

"The flames ate down into the extensive lumber district, but had not
caught the dock line. Behind the dock, adjacent to the Spreckels sugar
warehouse and wharf, were hundreds of freight cars. Had these been
allowed to catch fire, the flames would have swept down the entire
water front to South San Francisco.

"The climax came at Pier No. 9, and it was here that all energies were
focused. A large tug from Mare Island, two fire patrol boats, the
Spreckels tugs and ten or twelve more, had lines of hose laid into the
heart of the roaring furnace and were pumping from the bay to the
limit of their capacities.

"About 5 o'clock I was told that the tugs were just about holding
their own and that more help would be needed. The Slocum and the
McDowell were at once ordered to the spot. I was on board the former
and at one time the heat of the fire was so great that it was
necessary to play minor streams on the cabin and sides of the vessel
to keep it from taking fire. We were in a slip surrounded by flames.

"Our lines of hose once laid to the dockage, we found willing hands of
volunteers waiting to carry the hose forward. I saw pale, hungry men,
who probably had not slept for two days, hang on to the nozzle and
play the stream until they fell from exhaustion. Others took their
places and only with a very few exceptions was it necessary to use
force to command the assistance of citizens or onlookers.

"All night the flames raged through the lumber district, and the fire
reached its worst about 3:30 o'clock Saturday morning. Daylight found
it under control."

All that was left of the proud Argonaut city was like a Crescent moon
set about a black disk of shadow. A Saharan desolation of blackened,
ash covered, twisted debris was all that remained of three-fifths of
the city that four days ago stood like a sentinel in glittering,
jeweled armor, guarding the Golden Gate to the Pacific.

Men who had numbered their fortunes in the tens of thousands camped on
the ruins of their homes, eating as primitive men ate--gnawing;
thinking as primitive men thought. Ashes and the dull pain of despair
were their portions. They did not have the volition to help
themselves, childlike as the men of the stone age, they awaited
quiescent what the next hour might bring them.

Fear they had none, because they had known the shape of fear for
forty-eight hours and to them it had no more terrors. Men overworked
to the breaking point and women unnerved by hysteria dropped down on
the cooling ashes and slept where they lay, for had they not seen the
tall steel skyscrapers burn like a torch? Had they not beheld the
cataracts of flame fleeting unhindered up the broad avenues, and over
the solid blocks of the city?

Fire had become a commonplace. Fear of fire had been blunted by their
terrible suffering, and although the soldiers roused the sleepers and
warned them against possible approaching flames, they would only yawn,
wrap their blanket about them and stolidly move on to find some other
place where they might drop and again slumber like men dead.

As the work of clearing away the debris progressed it was found that
an overwhelming portion of the fatalities occurred in the cheap
rooming house section of the city, where the frail hotels were crowded
at the time of the catastrophe.

In one of these hotels alone, the five-story Brunswick rooming-house
at Sixth and Howard streets, it is believed that 300 people perished.
The building had 300 rooms filled with guests. It collapsed to the
ground entirely and fire started amidst the ruins scarcely five
minutes later.

South of Market street, where the loss of life was greatest, was
located many cheap and crowded lodging houses. Among others the caving
in of the Royal, corner Fourth and Minna streets, added to the horror
of the situation by the shrieks of its many scores of victims imbedded
in the ruins.

The collapsing of the Porter House on Sixth street, between Mission
and Market, came about in a similar manner. Fully sixty persons were
entombed midst the crash. Many of these were saved before the fire
eventually crept to the scene.

Part of the large Cosmopolitan House, corner Fifth and Mission
streets, collapsed at the very first tremble. Many of the sleepers
were buried in the ruins; other escaped in their night clothes.

At 775 Mission street the Wilson House, with its four stories and
eighty rooms, fell to the ground a mass of ruins. As far as known very
few of the inmates were rescued.

The Denver House on lower Third street, with its many rooms, shared
the same fate and none may ever know how many were killed, the
majority of the inmates being strangers.

A small two-story frame building occupied by a man and wife at 405
Jessie street collapsed without an instant's warning. Both were

To the north of Market street the rooming-house people fared somewhat
better. The Luxemburg, corner of Stockton and O'Farrell streets, a
three-story affair, suffered severely from the falling of many tons of
brick from an adjoining building. The falling mass crashed through the
building, killing a man and woman.

At the Sutter street Turkish baths a brick chimney toppled over and
crashing through the roof killed one of the occupants as he lay on a
cot. Another close by, lying on another cot, escaped.


  The tall building on the right is the Claus Spreckels building, in
  which the plant of the San Francisco Call is located; the next
  building beyond is the Examiner building and the last large building
  on the right is the Palace Hotel. The tall building on the left is a
  new sky scraper, erected on the old Baldwin Hotel site.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906, by American-Journal-Examiner. All
rights reserved. Any infractions of this copyright will be prosecuted
to the full extent of the law.


Two hundred bodies were found in the Potrero district, south of
Shannon street in the vicinity of the Union Iron works, were cremated
at the Six-Mile House, on Sunday by the order of Coroner Walsh. Some
of the dead were the victims of falling buildings from the earthquake
shock, some were killed in the fire.

So many dead were found in this limited area that cremation was deemed
absolutely necessary to prevent disease. The names of some of the dead
were learned, but in the majority of cases identification was
impossible owing to the mutilation of the features.

A systematic search for bodies of the victims of the earthquake and
fire was made by the coroner and the state board of health inspectors
as soon as the ruins cooled sufficiently to permit a search.

The body of an infant was found in the center of Union street, near
Dupont street.

Three bodies were found in the ruins of the house on Harrison street
between First and Second streets. They had been burned beyond all
possibility of identification. They were buried on the north beach at
the foot of Van Ness avenue.

The body of a man was found in the middle of Silver street, between
Third and Fourth streets. A bit of burned envelope was found in the
pocket of the vest bearing the name "A. Houston."

The total number of bodies recovered and buried up to Sunday night was
500. No complete record can ever be obtained as many bodies were
buried without permits from the coroner and the board of health.

Whenever a body was found it was buried immediately without any
formality whatever and, as these burials were made at widely separated
parts of the city by different bodies of searchers, who did not even
make a prompt report to headquarters, considerable confusion resulted
in estimating the number of casualties and exaggerated reports



    =A Description of San Francisco, the Metropolis of the
    Pacific Coast Before the Fire--One of the Most Beautiful
    and Picturesque Cities in America--Home of the California
    Bonanza Kings.=

San Francisco has had many soubriquets. It has been happily called the
"City of a Hundred Hills," and its title of the "Metropolis of the
Golden Gate" is richly deserved. Its location is particularly
attractive, inasmuch as the peninsula it occupies is swept by the
Pacific Ocean on the west and the beautiful bay of San Francisco on
the north and east. The peninsula itself is thirty miles long and the
site of the city is six miles back from the ocean. It rests on the
shore of San Francisco Bay, which, with its branches, covers over 600
square miles, and for beauty and convenience for commerce is worthy of
its magnificent entrance--the Golden Gate.

San Francisco was originally a mission colony. It is reported that
"the site of the mission of San Francisco was selected because of its
political and commercial advantages. It was to be the nucleus of a
seaport town that should serve to guard the dominion of Spain in its
vicinity. Most of the other missions were founded in the midst of
fertile valleys, inhabited by large numbers of Indians." Both of these
features were notably absent in San Francisco. Even the few Indians
there in 1776 left upon the arrival of the friars and dragoons. Later
on some of them returned and others were added, the number increasing
from 215 in 1783, to 1,205 in 1813. This was the largest number ever
reported. Soon after the number began to decrease through epidemics
and emigration, until there was only 204 in 1832.

The commercial life of San Francisco dates from 1835, when William A.
Richardson, an Englishman, who had been living in Sausalito since
1822, moved to San Francisco. He erected a tent and began the
collection of hides and tallow, by the use of two 30-ton schooners
leased from the missions, and which plied between San Jose and San
Francisco. At that time Mr. Richardson was also captain of the port.

Seventy-five years ago the white adult males, apart from the Mission
colony, consisted of sixteen persons. The local census of 1852 showed
a population of 36,000, and ten years later 90,000. The last general
census of 1900 credits the city with a population of 343,000. The
increase in the last six years has been much greater than for the
previous five, and it is generally conceded that the population at the
time of the fire was about 425,000.

California was declared American territory by Commodore Sleat, at
Monterey, on the 7th of July, 1846, who on that day caused the
American flag to be raised in that town. On the following day, under
instructions from the commodore, Captain Montgomery, of the war sloop
Portsmouth, performed a similar service in Yerba Buena, by which name
the city afterwards christened San Francisco was then known. This
ceremony took place on the plot of ground, afterward set apart as
Portsmouth Square, on the west line of Kearney street, between Clay
and Washington. At that time and for some years afterwards, the waters
of the bay at high tide, came within a block of the spot where this
service occurred. This was a great event in the history of the United
States, and it has grown in importance and in appreciative remembrance
from that day to the present, as the accumulative evidence abundantly

Referring to the change in name from Yerba Buena to San Francisco, in
1847, a writer says: "A site so desirable for a city, formed by nature
for a great destiny on one of the finest bays in the world, looking
out upon the greatest, the richest, and the most pacific of oceans--in
the very track of empire--in the healthiest of latitudes--such a site
could not fail to attract the attention of the expanding Saxon race.
Commerce hastened it, the discovery of gold consummated it."

Modern San Francisco had its birth following the gold discoveries
which led to the construction of the Central Pacific railway, and
produced a vast number of very wealthy men known by the general title
of California Bonanza Kings. San Francisco became the home and
headquarters of these multi-millionaires, and large sums of their
immense fortunes were invested in palatial residences and business

The bonanza king residence section was Nob Hill, an eminence near the
business part of the city.

In the early days of San Francisco's growth and soon after the Central
Pacific railroad had been built by Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker,
Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington and the others who devoted the best
part of their lives to the project of crossing the mountains by rail
this hill was selected as the most desirable spot in the city for the
erection of homes for the use of wealthy pioneers.

The eminence is situated northwest of the business section of the city
and commands a view of the bay and all adjacent territory with the
exception of the Pacific Ocean, Russian Hill, Pacific Heights and
several other high spots obscuring the view toward the west.

Far removed above the din and noise of the city Charles Crocker was
the first to erect his residence on the top of this historic hill
which afterward became known as Nob Hill. The Crocker home was built
of brick and wood originally, but in later years granite staircases,
pillars and copings were substituted. In its time it was looked upon
as the most imposing edifice in the city and for that reason the
business associates of the railroad magnate decided to vie with him in
the building of their homes.

Directly across from the Crocker residence on California street Leland
Stanford caused to be built a residence structure that was intended
to be the most ornate in the western metropolis. It was a veritable
palace and it was within its walls that the boyhood days of Leland
Stanford, Jr., after whom the university is named, were spent in
luxurious surroundings. After the death of the younger Stanford a
memorial room was set apart and the parents permitted no one to enter
this except a trusted man servant who had been in the family for many

But the Stanford residence was relegated to the background as an
object of architectural beauty when Mark Hopkins invaded the sacred
precincts of Nob Hill and erected the residence which he occupied for
three or four years. At his death the palatial building was deeded to
the California Art Institute and as a tribute to the memory of the
sturdy pioneer the building was called the Hopkins Institute of Art.
Its spacious rooms were laden with the choicest works of art on the
Pacific coast and the building and its contents were at all times a
source of interest to the thousands of tourists who visited the city.

The late Collis P. Huntington was the next of the millionaires of San
Francisco to locate upon the crest of Nob Hill. Within a block of the
Crocker, Stanford and Hopkins palaces this railroad magnate of the
west erected a mansion of granite and marble that caused all the
others to be thrown in the shade. Its exterior was severe in its
simplicity, but to those who were fortunate to gain entrance to the
interior the sight was one never to be forgotten. The palaces of
Europe could not excel it and for several years Huntington and his
wife were its only occupants aside from the army of servants required
to keep the house and grounds in order.

Not to be outdone by the railroad magnates of the city the next to
acquire property on the crest of the hill was James Flood, the
"bonanza king" and partner with William O'Brien, the names of both
being closely interwoven with the early history of California and the
Comstock lode. After having paid a visit to the east the millionaire
mine owner became impressed with the brown stone fronts of New York
and outdone his neighbors by erecting the only brown stone structure
in San Francisco.

It was in this historic hilltop also that James G. Fair laid the
foundation of a residence that was intended to surpass anything in the
sacred precincts, but before the foundations had been completed
domestic troubles resulted in putting a stop to building operations
and it is on this site that Mrs. Hermann Oelrichs, daughter of the
late millionaire mine owner, erected the palatial Fairmont hotel,
which was one of the most imposing edifices in San Francisco.

The old San Francisco is dead. The gayest, lightest hearted, most
pleasure loving city of this continent, and in many ways the most
interesting and romantic, is a horde of huddled refugees living among
ruins. But those who have known that peculiar city by the Golden Gate
and have caught its flavor of the Arabian Nights feel that it can
never be the same. It is as though a pretty, frivolous woman had
passed through a great tragedy. She survives, but she is sobered and
different. When it rises out of the ashes it will be a modern city,
much like other cities and without its old flavor.

The city lay on a series of hills and the lowlands between. These
hills are really the end of the Coast Range of mountains which lie
between the interior valleys and the ocean to the south. To its rear
was the ocean; but the greater part of the town fronted on two sides
on San Francisco Bay, a body of water always tinged with gold from the
great washings of the mountains, usually overhung with a haze, and of
magnificent color changes. Across the bay to the north lies Mount
Tamalpais, about 5,000 feet high, and so close that ferries from the
water front took one in less than half an hour to the little towns of
Sausalito and Belvidere, at its foot.

It is a wooded mountain, with ample slopes, and from it on the north
stretch away ridges of forest land, the outposts of the great Northern
woods of Sequoia semperrirens. This mountain and the mountainous
country to the south brought the real forest closer to San Francisco
than to any other American city.

Within the last few years men have killed deer on the slopes of
Tamalpais and looked down to see the cable cars crawling up the hills
of San Francisco to the north. In the suburbs coyotes still stole and
robbed hen roosts by night. The people lived much out of doors. There
was no time of the year, except a short part of the rainy season, when
the weather kept one from the woods. The slopes of Tamalpais were
crowded with little villas dotted through the woods, and those minor
estates ran far up into the redwood country. The deep coves of
Belvidere, sheltered by the wind from Tamalpais, held a colony of
"arks" or houseboats, where people lived in the rather disagreeable
summer months, going over to business every day by ferry. Everything
invited out of doors.

The climate of California is peculiar; it is hard to give an
impression of it. In the first place, all the forces of nature work on
laws of their own in that part of California. There is no thunder or
lightning; there is no snow, except a flurry once in five or six
years; there are perhaps a dozen nights in the winter when the
thermometer drops low enough so that there is a little film of ice on
exposed water in the morning. Neither is there any hot weather. Yet
most Easterners remaining in San Francisco for a few days remember
that they were always chilly.

For the Gate is a big funnel, drawing in the winds and the mists which
cool off the great, hot interior valleys of the San Joaquin and
Sacramento. So the west wind blows steadily ten months of the year and
almost all the mornings are foggy. This keeps the temperature steady
at about 55 degrees--a little cool for comfort of an unacclimated
person, especially indoors. Californians, used to it, hardly ever
thought of making fires in their houses except in the few exceptional
days of the winter season, and then they relied mainly upon
fireplaces. This is like the custom of the Venetians and the

But give an Easterner six months of it and he too learns to exist
without a chill in a steady temperature a little lower than that to
which he is accustomed at home. After that one goes about with perfect
indifference to the temperature. Summer and winter San Francisco women
wore light tailor-made clothes, and men wore the same fall weight
suits all the year around. There is no such thing as a change of
clothing for the seasons. And after becoming acclimated these people
found the changes from hot to cold in the normal regions of the earth
hard to bear. Perhaps once in two or three years there comes a day
when there is no fog, no wind and a high temperature in the coast
district. Then there is hot weather, perhaps up in the eighties, and
Californians grumble, swelter and rustle for summer clothes. These
rare hot days were the only times when one saw on the streets of San
Francisco women in light dresses.

Along in early May the rains cease. At that time everything is green
and bright and the great golden poppies, as large as the saucer of an
after dinner coffee cup, are blossoming everywhere. Tamalpais is green
to its top; everything is washed and bright. By late May a yellow
tinge is creeping over the hills. This is followed by a golden June
and a brown July and August. The hills are burned and dry. The fog
comes in heavily, too; and normally this is the most disagreeable
season of the year. September brings a day or two of gentle rain; and
then a change, as sweet and mysterious as the breaking of spring in
the East, comes over the hills. The green grows through the brown and
the flowers begin to come out.

As a matter of fact, the unpleasantness of summer is modified by the
certainty that one can go anywhere without fear of rain. And in all
the coast mountains, especially the seaward slopes, the dews and the
shelter of the giant underbrush keep the water so that these areas are
green and pleasant all summer.


  This Institute which crowned Nob Hill in San Francisco was originally
  the residence of Mark Hopkins of Central Pacific fame. Nob Hill was
  noted for Palatial Homes. They were destroyed by the fire.]


  This building, which had some $39,000,000 stored in it, remained


  This costly and handsome structure was destroyed by fire.]

[Illustration: =JEFFERSON SQUARE.=

  All of the buildings shown in the background were destroyed. Tents
  were erected in this square to shelter the homeless.]

In a normal year the rains begin to fall heavily in November; there
will be three or four days of steady downpour and then a clear
and green week. December is also likely to be rainy; and in this month
people enjoy the sensation of gathering for Christmas the mistletoe
which grows profusely on the live oaks, while the poppies are
beginning to blossom at their feet. By the end of January the rains
come lighter. In the long spaces between rains there is a temperature
and a feeling in the air much like that of Indian summer in the East.
January is the month when the roses are at their brightest.

So much for the strange climate, which invites out of doors and which
has played its part in making the character of the people. The
externals of the city are--or were, for they are no more--just as
curious. One usually entered the city by way of San Francisco Bay.
Across its yellow flood, covered with the fleets from the strange seas
of the Pacific, San Francisco presented itself in a hill panorama.
Probably no other city of the world could be so viewed and inspected
at first sight. It rose above the passenger, as he reached dockage, in
a succession of hill terraces.

At one side was Telegraph Hill, the end of the peninsula, a height so
abrupt that it had a 200 foot sheer cliff on its seaward frontage.
Further along lay Nob Hill, crowned with the Mark Hopkins mansion,
which had the effect of a citadel, and in later years by the great,
white Fairmount. Further along was Russian Hill, the highest point.
Below was the business district, whose low site caused all the

Except for the modern buildings, the fruit of the last ten years, the
town presented at first sight a disreputable appearance. Most of the
buildings were low and of wood. In the middle period of the '70s, when
a great part of San Francisco was building, there was some atrocious
architecture perpetrated. In that time, too, every one put bow windows
on his house, to catch all of the morning sunlight that was coming
through the fog, and those little houses, with bow windows and fancy
work all down their fronts, were characteristic of the middle class
residence district.

Then the Italians, who tumbled over Telegraph Hill, had built as they
listed and with little regard for streets, and their houses hung
crazily on a side hill which was little less than a precipice. For the
most part, the Chinese, although they occupied an abandoned business
district, had remade the houses Chinese fashion, and the Mexicans and
Spaniards had added to their houses those little balconies without
which life is not life to a Spaniard.

Yet the most characteristic thing after all was the coloring. For the
sea fog had a trick of painting every exposed object a sea gray which
had a tinge of dull green in it. This, under the leaden sky of a San
Francisco morning, had a depressing effect on first sight and
afterward became a delight to the eye. For the color was soft, gentle
and infinitely attractive in mass.

The hills are steep beyond conception. Where Vallejo street ran up
Russian Hill it progressed for four blocks by regular steps like a
flight of stairs. It is unnecessary to say that no teams ever came up
this street or any other like it, and grass grew long among the paving
stones until the Italians who live thereabouts took advantage of this
to pasture a cow or two. At the end of the four blocks, the pavers had
given it up and the last stage to the summit was a winding path. On
the very top, a colony of artists lived in little villas of houses
whose windows got the whole panorama of the bay. Luckily for these
people, a cable car climbed the hill on the other side, so that it was
not much of a climb to home.

With these hills, with the strangeness of the architecture and with
the green gray tinge over everything, the city fell always into vistas
and pictures, a setting for the romance which hung over everything,
which always hung over life in San Francisco since the padres came and
gathered the Indians about Mission Dolores.

And it was a city of romance and a gateway to adventure. It opened
out on the mysterious Pacific, the untamed ocean, and most of China,
Japan, the South Sea Islands, Lower California, the west coast of
Central America, Australia that came to this country passed in through
the Golden Gate. There was a sprinkling, too, of Alaska and Siberia.
From his windows on Russian Hill one saw always something strange and
suggestive creeping through the mists of the bay. It would be a South
Sea Island brig, bringing in copra, to take out cottons and idols; a
Chinese junk with fanlike sails, back from an expedition after sharks'
livers; an old whaler, which seemed to drip oil, back from a year of
cruising in the Arctic. Even the tramp windjammers were deep chested
craft, capable of rounding the Horn or of circumnavigating the globe;
and they came in streaked and picturesque from their long voyaging.

In the orange colored dawn which always comes through the mists of
that bay, the fishing fleet would crawl in under triangular lateen
sails, for the fishermen of San Francisco Bay were all Neapolitans who
brought their customers and their customs and sail with lateen rigs
shaped like the ear of a horse when the wind fills them and stained an
orange brown.

Along the water front the people of these craft met. "The smelting pot
of the races," Stevenson called it; and this was always the city of
his soul. There are black Gilbert Islanders, almost indistinguishable
from Negroes; lighter Kanakas from Hawaii or Samoa; Lascars in
turbans; thickset Russian sailors; wild Chinese with unbraided hair;
Italian fishermen in tam o' shanters, loud shirts and blue sashes;
Greeks, Alaska Indians, little bay Spanish-Americans, together with
men of all the European races. These came in and out from among the
queer craft, to lose themselves in the disreputable, tumbledown, but
always mysterious shanties and small saloons. In the back rooms of
these saloons South Sea Island traders and captains, fresh from the
lands of romance, whaling masters, people who were trying to get up
treasure expeditions, filibusters, Alaskan miners, used to meet and
trade adventures.

There was another element, less picturesque and equally
characteristic, along the water front. For San Francisco was the back
eddy of European civilization--one end of the world. The drifters came
there and stopped, lingered a while to live by their wits in a country
where living after a fashion has always been marvellously cheap. These
people haunted the water front or lay on the grass on Portsmouth

That square, the old plaza about which the city was built, Spanish
fashion, had seen many things. There in the first burst of the early
days the vigilance committee used to hold its hangings. There in the
time of the sand lot riots Dennis Kearney, who nearly pulled the town
down about his ears, used to make his orations which set the unruly to
rioting. In these later years Chinatown laid on one side of it and the
Latin quarter and the "Barbary Coast" on the other.

On this square men used to lie all day long and tell strange yarns.
Stevenson lay there with them in his time and learned the things which
he wrote into "The Wrecker" and his South Sea stories, and in the
center of the square there stood the beautiful Stevenson monument. In
later years the authorities put up a municipal building on one side of
this square and prevented the loungers, for decency's sake, from lying
on the grass. Since then some of the peculiar character of the old
plaza had gone.

The Barbary Coast was a loud bit of hell. No one knows who coined the
name. The place was simply three blocks of solid dance halls, there
for the delight of the sailors of the world. On a fine busy night
every door blared loud dance music from orchestra, steam pianos and
gramophones and the cumulative effect of the sound which reached the
street was at least strange. Almost anything might be happening behind
the swinging doors. For a fine and picturesque bundle of names
characteristic of the place, a police story of three or four years ago
is typical. Hell broke out in the Eye Wink Dance Hall. The trouble
was started by a sailor known as Kanaka Pete, who lived in the What
Cheer House, over a woman known as Iodoform Kate. Kanaka Pete chased
the man he had marked to the Little Silver Dollar, where he turned and
punctured him. The by-product of his gun made some holes in the front
of the Eye Wink, which were proudly kept as souvenirs, and were
probably there until it went out in the fire. This was low life, the
lowest of the low.

Until the last decade almost anything except the commonplace and the
expected might happen to a man on the water front. The cheerful
industry of shanghaiing was reduced to a science. A stranger taking a
drink in one of the saloons which hung out over the water might be
dropped through the floor into a boat, or he might drink with a
stranger and wake in the forecastle of a whaler bound for the Arctic.
Such an incident is the basis of Frank Norris's novel, "Moran of the
Lady Letty," and although the novel draws it pretty strong, it is not
exaggerated. Ten years ago the police and the foreign consuls, working
together, stopped this.

Kearney street, a wilder and stranger Bowery, was the main
thoroughfare of these people. An exiled Californian, mourning over the
city of his heart, said recently:

"In a half an hour of Kearney street I could raise a dozen men for any
wild adventure, from pulling down a statue to searching for the Cocos
Island treasure."

This is hardly an exaggeration.

These are a few of the elements which made the city strange and gave
it the glamour of romance which has so strongly attracted such men as
Stevenson, Frank Norris and Kipling. This lay apart from the regular
life of the city, which was distinctive in itself.

The Californian is the second generation of a picked and mixed stock.
The merry, the adventurous, often the desperate, always the brave,
deserted the South and New England in 1849 to rush around the Horn or
to try the perils of the plains. They found there already grown old in
the hands of the Spaniards younger sons of hidalgos and many of them
of the proudest blood of Spain. To a great extent the pioneers
intermarried with Spanish women; in fact, except for a proud little
colony here and there, the old Spanish blood is sunk in that of the
conquering race. Then there was an influx of intellectual French
people, largely overlooked in the histories of the early days; and
this Latin leaven has had its influence.

Brought up in a bountiful country, where no one really has to work
very hard to live, nurtured on adventure, scion of a free and merry
stock, the real, native Californian is a distinctive type; so far from
the Easterner in psychology as the extreme Southerner is from the
Yankee. He is easy going, witty, hospitable, lovable, inclined to be
unmoral rather than immoral in his personal habits, and above all easy
to meet and to know.

Above all there is an art sense all through the populace which sets it
off from any other part of the country. This sense is almost Latin in
its strength, and the Californian owes it to the leaven of Latin
blood. The true Californian lingers in the north; for southern
California has been built up by "lungers" from the East and middle
West and is Eastern in character and feeling.

With such a people life was always gay. If they did not show it on the
streets, as do the people of Paris, it was because the winds made open
cafes disagreeable at all seasons of the year. The gayety went on
indoors or out on the hundreds of estates that fringed the city. It
was noted for its restaurants. Perhaps the very best for people who
care not how they spend their money could not be had there, but for a
dollar, 75 cents, 50 cents, a quarter or even 15 cents the restaurants
afforded the best fare on earth at the price.

If one should tell exactly what could be had at Coppa's for 50 cents
or at the Fashion for, say, 35, no New Yorker who has not been there
would believe it. The San Francisco French dinner and the San
Francisco free lunch were as the Public Library to Boston or the stock
yards to Chicago. A number of causes contributed to this consummation.
The country all about produced everything that a cook needed and that
in abundance--the bay was an almost untapped fishing pond, the fruit
farms came up to the very edge of the town, and the surrounding
country produced in abundance fine meats, all cereals and all

But the chefs who came from France in the early days and liked this
land of plenty were the head and front of it. They passed on their art
to other Frenchmen or to the clever Chinese. Most of the French chefs
at the biggest restaurants were born in Canton, China. Later the
Italians, learning of this country where good food is appreciated,
came and brought their own style. Householders always dined out one or
two nights of the week, and boarding houses were scarce, for the
unattached preferred the restaurants. The eating was usually better
than the surroundings.

Meals that were marvels were served in tumbledown little hotels. Most
famous of all the restaurants was the Poodle Dog. There have been no
less than four restaurants of this name, beginning with a frame shanty
where, in the early days, a prince of French cooks used to exchange
ragouts for gold dust. Each succeeding restaurant of the name has
moved further downtown; and the recent Poodle Dog stood on the edge of
the Tenderloin in a modern five story building. And it typified a
certain spirit that there was in San Francisco.

For on the ground floor was a public restaurant where there was served
the best dollar dinner on earth. It ranked with the best and the
others were in San Francisco. Here, especially on Sunday night, almost
everybody went to vary the monotony of home cooking. Every one who was
any one in the town could be seen there off and on. It was perfectly
respectable. A man might take his wife and daughter there.

On the second floor there were private dining rooms, and to dine
there, with one or more of the opposite sex, was risque but not
especially terrible. But the third floor--and the fourth floor--and
the fifth. The elevator man of the Poodle Dog, who had held the job
for many years and never spoke unless spoken to, wore diamonds and was
a heavy investor in real estate. There were others as famous in their
way--the Zinka, where, at one time, every one went after the theatre,
and Tate's the Palace Grill, much like the grills of Eastern hotels,
except for the price; Delmonico's, which ran the Poodle Dog neck and
neck in its own line, and many others, humbler but great at the price.

The city never went to bed. There was no closing law, so that the
saloons kept open nights and Sundays, at their own sweet will. Most of
them elected to remain open until 3 o'clock in the morning at least.
Yet this restaurant life did not exactly express the careless,
pleasure loving character of the people. In great part their pleasures
were simple, inexpensive and out of doors. No people were fonder of
expeditions into the country, of picnics--which might be brought off
at almost any season of the year--and often long tours in the great
mountains and forests. And hospitality was nearly a vice.

[Illustration: =CHRONICLE BUILDING.=

  (An old landmark.)]


  (Destroyed by fire.)]


  This is the station of the greatest ferry in the world, just outside
  the fire belt in San Francisco. Hundreds of refugees have been taken
  from it to Oakland and other points.]

As in the early mining days, if they liked the stranger the people
took him in. At the first meeting the local man probably had him put
up at the club; at the second, he invited him home to dinner. As long
as he stayed he was being invited to week end parties at ranches, to
little dinners in this or that restaurant and to the houses of his new
acquaintances, until his engagements grew beyond hope of fulfillment.
There was rather too much of it. At the end of a fortnight a stranger
with a pleasant smile and a good story left the place a wreck. This
tendency ran through all grades of society--except, perhaps, the
sporting people who kept the tracks and the fighting game alive.
These also met the stranger--and also took him in.

Centers of men of hospitality were the clubs, especially the famous
Bohemian and the Family. The latter was an offshoot of the Bohemian,
which had been growing fast and vieing with the older organization for
the honor of entertaining pleasing and distinguished visitors.

The Bohemian Club, whose real founder is said to have been the late
Henry George, was formed in the '70s by a number of newspaper writers
and men working in the arts or interested in them. It had grown to a
membership of 750. It still kept for its nucleus painters, writers,
musicians and actors, amateur and professional. They were a gay group
of men, and hospitality was their avocation. Yet the thing which set
this club off from all others in the world was the midsummer High

The club owns a fine tract of redwood forest fifty miles north of San
Francisco, on the Russian River. There are two varieties of big trees
in California: the Sequoia gigantea and the Sequoia sempervirens. The
great trees of the Mariposa grove belong to the gigantea species. The
sempervirens, however, reaches the diameter of 16 feet, and some of
the greatest trees of this species are in the Bohemian Club grove. It
lies in a cleft of the mountains; and up one hillside there runs a
natural out of door stage of remarkable acoustic properties.

In August the whole Bohemian Club, or such as could get away from
business, went up to this grove and camp out for two weeks. And on the
last night they put on the Jinks proper, a great spectacle with poetic
words, music and effects done by the club, in praise of the forest. In
late years this had been practically a masque or an opera. It cost
about $10,000. It took the spare time of scores of men for weeks; yet
these 700 business men, professional men, artists, newspaper workers,
struggled for the honor of helping out on the Jinks; and the whole
thing was done naturally and with reverence. It would hardly be
possible anywhere else in this country; the thing which made it
possible is the art spirit which is in the Californian. It runs in the

Some one has been collecting statistics which prove this point. "Who's
Who in America" is long on the arts and on learning and comparatively
weak in business and the professions. Now some one who has taken the
trouble has found that more persons mentioned in "Who's Who" by the
thousand of the population were born in Massachusetts than in any
other State; but that Massachusetts is crowded closely by California,
with the rest nowhere. The institutions of learning in Massachusetts
account for her pre-eminence; the art spirit does it for California.
The really big men nurtured on California influence are few, perhaps;
but she has sent out an amazing number of good workers in painting, in
authorship, in music and especially in acting.

"High Society" in San Francisco had settled down from the rather wild
spirit of the middle period; it had come to be there a good deal as it
is elsewhere. There was much wealth; and the hills of the western
addition were growing up with fine mansions. Outside of the city, at
Burlingame, there was a fine country club centering a region of
country estates which stretched out to Menlo Park. This club had a
good polo team, which played every year with teams of Englishmen from
southern California and even with teams from Honolulu.

The foreign quarters were worth a chapter in themselves. Chief of
these was, of course, Chinatown, of which every one has heard who ever
heard of San Francisco. A district six blocks long and two blocks
wide, when the quarter was full, housed 30,000 Chinese. The dwellings
were old business blocks of the early days; but the Chinese had added
to them, rebuilt them, had run out their own balconies and entrances,
and had given it that feeling of huddled irregularity which makes all
Chinese built dwellings fall naturally into pictures. Not only this,
they had burrowed to a depth equal to three stories under the ground,
and through this ran passages in which the Chinese transacted their
dark and devious affairs--as the smuggling of opium, the traffic in
slave girls and the settlement of their difficulties.

There was less of this underground life than formerly, for the Board
of Health had a cleanup some time ago; but it was still possible to go
from one end of Chinatown to the other through secret underground
passages. The Chinese lived there their own life in their own way. The
Chinatown of New York is dull beside it. And the tourist, who always
included Chinatown in his itinerary, saw little of the real life. The
guides gave him a show by actors hired for his benefit. In reality the
place had considerable importance in a financial way. There were
clothing and cigar factories of importance, and much of the tea and
silk importing was in the hands of the merchants, who numbered several
millionaires. Mainly, however, it was a Tenderloin for the house
servants of the city--for the San Francisco Chinaman was seldom a
laundryman; he was too much in demand at fancy prices as a servant.

The Chinese lived their own lives in their own way and settled their
own quarrels with the revolvers of their highbinders. There were two
theaters in the quarter, a number of rich joss houses, three
newspapers and a Chinese telephone exchange. There is a race feeling
against the Chinese among the working people of San Francisco, and no
white man, except the very lowest outcasts, lived in the quarter.

On the slopes of Telegraph Hill dwelt the Mexicans and Spanish, in low
houses, which they had transformed by balconies into a resemblance of
Spain. Above, and streaming over the hill, were the Italians. The
tenement quarter of San Francisco shone by contrast with that of New
York, for while these people lived in old and humble houses they had
room to breathe and a high eminence for light and air. Their shanties
clung on the side of the hill or hung on the very edge of the
precipice overlooking the bay, on the edge of which a wall kept their
babies from falling. The effect was picturesque, and this hill was
the delight of painters. It was all more like Italy than anything in
the Italian quarter of New York and Chicago--the very climate and
surroundings, wine country close at hand, the bay for their lateen
boats, helped them.

Over by the ocean and surrounded by cemeteries in which there are no
more burials, there is an eminence which is topped by two peaks and
which the Spanish of the early days named after the breasts of a
woman. At its foot was Mission Dolores, the last mission planted by
the Spanish padres in their march up the coast, and from these hills
the Spanish looked for the first time upon the golden bay.

Many years ago some one set up at the summit of this peak a sixty foot
cross of timber. Once a high wind blew it down, and the women of the
Fair family then had it restored so firmly that it would resist
anything. As it is on a hill it must have stood. It has risen for
fifty years above the gay, careless, luxuriant and lovable city, in
full view from every eminence and from every alley. It must stand now
above the desolation of ruins.



    =Thrilling Escapes and Deeds of Daring--Sublime Bravery
    and Self-Sacrifice by Men and Women--How the United
    States Mint and the Treasuries Were Saved and Protected
    by Devoted Employes and Soldiers--Pathetic Street
    Incidents--Soldiers and Police Compel Fashionably
    Attired to Assist in Cleaning Streets--Italians Drench
    Homes with Wine.=

The week succeeding the quake was a remarkable one in the history of
the country. For a day or two the people had been horror-stricken by
the tales of suffering and desolation on the Pacific coast, but as the
truth became known they arose equal to the occasion.

And not all the large amounts contributed were confined to those
ranked as the great and strong of the nation. The laborers, too,
banded together and sent large contributions. The members of the
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of Indianapolis realized
their brethren would be in dire need and they sent $10,000. The United
Mineworkers sent $1,000, and several other labor organizations were
equally generous.

During even the most awful moments of the catastrophe men and women
with sublimest heroism faced the most threatening terrors and dangers
to assist, to rescue and to save. Everywhere throughout the city
scenes of daring, self-sacrifice and bravery were witnessed and
thrilling escapes from imminent death aroused enthusiasm as well as

A landmark of San Francisco which escaped destruction, though every
building around it was destroyed, is the United States Mint at the
corner of Fifth and Mission streets. Harold French, an employe of the
mint, gave a graphic account of how the flames were successfully

"Nearly $200,000,000 in coin and bullion," said Mr. French, "is stored
in the vaults of the mint and for the preservation of this prize a
devoted band of employes, re-enforced by regular soldiers, fought
until the baffled flames fled to the conquest of stately blocks of
so-called fireproof buildings.

"For seven hours a sea of fire surged around this grand old federal
edifice, attacking it on all sides with waves of fierce heat. Its
little garrison was cut off from retreat for hours at a time, had such
a course been thought of by those on guard.

"Iron shutters shielded the lower floors, but the windows of the upper
story, on which are located the refinery and assay office, were

"When the fire leaped Mint avenue in solid masses of flames the
refinery men stuck to their windows as long as the glass remained in
the frames. Seventy-five feet of an inch hose played a slender stream
upon the blazing window sill, while the floor was awash with diluted
sulphuric acid. Ankle deep in this soldiers and employes stuck to the
floor until the windows shattered. With a roar, the tongues of fire
licked greedily the inner walls. Blinding and suffocating smoke
necessitated the abandonment of the hose and the fighters retreated to
the floor below.

"Then came a lull. There was yet a fighting chance, so back to the
upper story the fire-fighters returned, led by Superintendent Leach.
At length the mint was pronounced out of danger and a handful of
exhausted but exultant employes stumbled out on the hot cobblestone to
learn the fate of some of their homes."

       *       *       *       *       *

A number of men were killed while attempting to loot the United States
Mint, where $39,000,000 was kept, while thirty-four white men were
shot and killed by troops in a raid on the ruins of the burned United
States Treasury. Several millions of dollars are in the treasury

       *       *       *       *       *

Among the many pathetic incidents of the fire was that of a woman who
sat at the foot of Van Ness avenue on the hot sands on the hillside
overlooking the bay east of Fort Mason with four little children, the
youngest a girl of 3, the eldest a boy of 10.

They were destitute of water, food and money. The woman had fled with
her children from a home in flames in the Mission street district and
tramped to the bay in the hope of sighting the ship, which she said
was about due, of which her husband was the captain.

"He would know me anywhere," she said. And she would not move,
although a young fellow gallantly offered his tent back on a vacant
lot in which to shelter her children.

In a corner of the plaza a band of men and women were praying, and one
fanatic, driven crazy by horror, was crying out at the top of his

"The Lord sent it--the Lord!"

His hysterical crying got on the nerves of the soldiers and bade fair
to start a panic among the women and children. A sergeant went over
and stopped it by force. All night they huddled together in this hell,
with the fire making it bright as day on all sides, and in the
morning, the soldiers using their sense again, commandeered a supply
of bread from a bakery, sent out another water squad, and fed the
refugees with a semblance of breakfast.

A few Chinese made their way into the crowd. They were trembling,
pitifully scared, and willing to stop wherever the soldiers placed

       *       *       *       *       *

The soldiers and the police forced every available man in the downtown
district to work, no matter where they were found or under what
conditions. One party of four finely dressed men that came downtown in
an automobile were stopped by the soldiers and were ordered out of the
machine and compelled to assist in clearing the debris from Market
street. Then the automobile was loaded with provisions and sent out to
relieve the hungry people in the parks.

One young man who was pressed into service by the soldiers, came clad
in a fashionable summer suit, straw hat and kid gloves.

       *       *       *       *       *

An incident of the fire in the Latin quarter on the slope of Telegraph
Hill is worthy of note. The only available water supply was found in a
well dug in early days. At a critical moment the pump suddenly sucked
dry and the water in the well was exhausted.

"There is a last chance, boys!" was shouted and Italian residents
crashed in their cellar doors with axes and, calling for assistance,
began rolling out barrels of red wine.

The cellars gave forth barrel after barrel until there was fully 500
gallons ready for use. Then barrel heads were smashed in and the
bucket brigade turned from water to wine. Sacks were dipped in the
wine and used for beating out the fire. Beds were stripped of their
blankets and these were soaked in the wine and hung over the exposed
portions of the cottages and men on the roofs drenched the shingles
and sides of the house with wine.

Past huddled groups of sleepers an unending stream of refugees was
seen wending their way to the ferry, dragging trunks over the uneven
pavement by ropes tethered to wheelbarrows laden with the household
lares and penates. The bowed figures crept about the water and ruins
and looked like the ghosts about the ruins of Troy, and unheeding save
where instinct prompted them to make a detour about some still burning
heap of ruins.

At the ferry the sleepers lay in windrows, each man resting his head
upon some previous treasures that he had brought from his home. No one
was able to fear thieves or to escape pillage, because of absolute
physical inertia forced upon him.

Mad, wholly stark mad, were some of the unfortunates who had not fled
from the ruins. In many instances the soldiers were forced to tear men
and women away from the bodies of their dead. Two women were stopped
within a distance of a few blocks and forced to give up the dead
bodies of their babes, which they were nursing to their bosoms.

A newsgatherer passing through Portsmouth square noticed a mother
cowering under a bush. She was singing in a quavering voice a lullaby
to her baby. The reporter parted the bushes and looked in. Then he saw
what she held in her arms was only a mangled and reddened bit of
flesh. The baby had been crushed when the shock of earthquake came and
its mother did not know that its life had left it thirty hours before.

       *       *       *       *       *

When law and order were strained a crew of hell rats crept out of
their holes and in the flamelight plundered and reveled in
bacchanalian orgies like the infamous inmates of Javert in "Les
Miserables." These denizens of the sewer traps and purlieus of "The
Barbary Coast" exulted in unhindered joy of doing evil.

Sitting crouched among the ruins or sprawling on the still warm
pavement they could be seen brutally drunk. A demijohn of wine placed
on a convenient corner of some ruin was a shrine at which they
worshiped. They toasted chunks of sausage over the dying coals of the
cooling ruin even as they drank, and their songs of revelry were
echoed from wall to wall down in the burnt Mission district.

Some of the bedizened women of the half world erected tents and
champagne could be had for the asking, although water had its price.
One of these women, dressed in pink silk with high heeled satin
slippers on her feet, walked down the length of what had been Natoma
street with a bucket of water and a dipper, and she gave the precious
fluid freely to those stricken ones huddled there by their household
goods and who had not tasted water in twenty-four hours.

"Let them drink and be happy," said she, "water tastes better than
beer to them now."

       *       *       *       *       *

Soon after the earthquake San Francisco was practically placed under
martial law with Gen. Fred Funston commanding and later Gen. Greely.
The regiment has proven effective in subduing anarchy and preventing
the depredations of looters. A detail of troops helped the police to
guard the streets and remove people to places of safety.

The martial law dispensed was of the sternest. They have no records
existing of the number of executions which had been meted out to
offenders. It is known that more than one sneaking vandal suffered for
disobedience of the injunction given against entering deserted houses.

There was a sharp, businesslike precision about the American soldier
that stood San Francisco in good stead. The San Francisco water rat
thug and "Barbary Coast" pirate might flout a policeman, but he
discovered that he could not disobey a man who wears Uncle Sam's
uniform without imminent risk of being counted in that abstract
mortuary list usually designated as "unknown dead."

For instance: When Nob Hill was the crest of a huge wave of flame,
soldiers were directing the work of saving the priceless art treasures
from the Mark Hopkins institute.

Lieut. C. C. McMillan of the revenue cutter Bear impressed volunteers
at the point of a pistol to assist in saving the priceless art
treasures which the building housed.

"Here you," barked Lieutenant McMillan to the great crowd of dazed
men, "get in there and carry out those paintings."

"What business have you got to order us about?" said a burly citizen
with the jowl of a Bill Sykes.

The lieutenant gave a significant hitch to his arm and the burly man
saw a revolver was hanging from the forefinger of the lieutenant's
right hand.

"Look here," said the lieutenant. "You see this gun? Well, I think it
is aimed at your right eye. Now, come here. I want to have a little
talk with you."

The tough stared for a moment and then the shade of fear crept over
his face, and with an "All right, boss," he started in upon the labor
of recovering the art treasures from the institute.

"This is martial law," said the determined lieutenant. "I don't like
it, you may not like it, but it goes. I think that is understood."

       *       *       *       *       *

John H. Ryan and wife of Chicago after spending their honeymoon in
Honolulu and Jamaica reached San Francisco just before the earthquake.
They were stopping at the St. Francis Hotel, which was destroyed
partially by the earthquake and totally by the fire following the
shock. They lost many of their personal effects, but are thankful that
they escaped with their lives.

"When the first shock came," said Mr. Ryan, "I was out of bed in an
instant. I immediately was thrown to the floor. Arising, I held on by
a chair and by the door knob until I could get around the room to the
window to see if I could find out what was the matter. I saw people
running and heard them in the corridors of the hotel. I also heard
women screaming. I hastily called one of my friends and he and myself
threw on our overcoats, stuck our feet into our shoes and ran
downstairs. I ran back to tell my wife, when I found her coming down
the stairs.

"The first shock lasted, according to a professor in the university,
sixty seconds. I thought it lasted about as many days.

"At the second shock all the guests piled into the streets. We stood
in the bitter cold street for fully a quarter of an hour with nothing
about us but our spring overcoats. I said 'bitter cold.' So it was.
People there said it was the coldest spell that has struck Frisco in

"After standing in the streets for a while my friend and myself, with
my wife, started back into the hotel to get our clothes. The guard was
at the foot of the stairs and he told us that we would not be allowed
to go to our rooms. I told him we merely wanted to get some clothes on
so we would not freeze to death and he told us to go up, but to come
right down as soon as possible, for there was no telling what would
happen. We rushed into our rooms and hurriedly threw on our clothes,
and started out to reconnoiter. We stopped near a small building. Just
then a policeman on guard came up and ordered everybody to assist in
rescuing the persons within. We did not hesitate, but rushed into the
building heedless of the impending falling of the walls. We found
there a man lying unconscious on the floor. He revived sufficiently to
make us understand that his wife and child were in the building and
that he thought they were dead. We looked and finally found them,

"We saw ambulances and undertakers' wagons by the score racing down
Market street. They were filled with the bodies of the injured and in
many cases with dead. The injured were piled into the wagons
indiscriminately without respect for any consequences in the future of
the patients."

       *       *       *       *       *

R. F. Lund of Canal Dover, O., was asleep in apartments when the shock
rent the city. "I awoke to find myself on the floor," said Mr. Lund.
"The building to me seemed to pitch to the right, then to the left,
and finally to straighten itself and sink. I had the sensation of
pitching down in an elevator shaft--that sudden, sickening wave that
sweeps over you and leaves you breathless.

"I got into my clothes and with some difficulty wrenched open the door
of my room. Screams of women were piercing the air. Together with a
dozen other men, inmates of the apartments, I assembled the women
guests and we finally got them into the streets. Few of them tarried
long enough to dress. We went back again and then returned with more

"In one room particularly there was great commotion. It was occupied
by two women and they were in a state of hysterical terror because
they could not open their door and get out. The sudden settling of the
building had twisted the jambs.

"Finally I put my two hundred and thirty pounds of weight against the
panels and smashed them through. I helped them wrap themselves in
quilts and half led, half carried them to the street.

"While passing through a narrow street in the rear of the Emporium I
came upon a tragedy. A rough fellow, evidently a south of Market
street thug, was bending over the unconscious form of a woman. She was
clothed in a kimono and lay upon the sidewalk near the curb. His back
was toward me. He was trying to wrench a ring from her finger and he
held her right wrist in his left hand. A soldier suddenly approached.
He held a rifle thrust forward and his eyes were on the wretch.

"Involuntarily I stopped and involuntarily my hand went to my hip
pocket. I remember only this, that it seemed in that moment a good
thing to me to take a life. The soldier's rifle came to his shoulder.
There was a sharp report and I saw the smoke spurt from the muzzle.
The thug straightened up with a wrench, he shot his right arm above
his head and pitched forward across the body of the woman. He died
with her wrist in his grasp. It may sound murderous, but the feeling I
experienced was one of disappointment. I wanted to kill him myself.

"Along in the afternoon in my walking I came upon a great hulking
fellow in the act of wresting food from an old woman and a young girl
who evidently had joined their fortunes. No soldiers were about and I
had the satisfaction of laying him out with the butt of my pistol. He
went down in a heap. I did not stay to see whether or not he came to."

"Strange is the scene where San Francisco's Chinatown stood," said
W. W. Overton, after reaching Los Angeles among the refugees. "No heap
of smoking ruins marks the site of the wooden warrens where the
slant-eyed men of the orient dwelt in thousands. The place is pitted
with deep holes and seared with dark passageways, from whose depths
come smoke wreaths. All the wood has gone and the winds are streaking
the ashes.

"Men, white men, never knew the depth of Chinatown's underground
city. They often talked of these subterranean runways. And many of
them had gone beneath the street levels, two and three stories. But
now that Chinatown has been unmasked, for the destroyed buildings were
only a mask, men from the hillside have looked on where its inner
secrets lay. In places they can see passages 100 feet deep.

"The fire swept this Mongolian section clean. It left no shred of the
painted wooden fabric. It ate down to the bare ground and this lies
stark, for the breezes have taken away the light ashes. Joss houses
and mission schools, grocery stores and opium dens, gambling hells and
theaters--all of them went. The buildings blazed up like tissue paper
lanterns used when the guttering candles touched their sides.

"From this place I, following the fire, saw hundreds of crazed yellow
men flee. In their arms they bore their opium pipes, their money bags,
their silks, and their children. Beside them ran the baggy trousered
women, and some of them hobbled painfully.

"These were the men and women of the surface. Far beneath the street
levels in those cellars and passageways were many others. Women who
never saw the day from their darkened prisons and their blinking
jailors were caught like rats in a huge trap. Their bones were eaten
by the flames.

"And now there remain only the holes. They pit the hillside like a
multitude of ground swallow nests. They go to depths which the police
never penetrated. The secrets of those burrows will never be known,
for into them the hungry fire first sifted its red coals and then
licked eagerly in tongues of creeping flames, finally obliterating
everything except the earth itself."

"The scenes to be witnessed in San Francisco were beyond description,"
said Mr. Oliver Posey, Jr.

"Not alone did the soldiers execute the law. One afternoon, in front
of the Palace Hotel, a crowd of workers in the ruins discovered a
miscreant in the act of robbing a corpse of its jewels. Without delay
he was seized, a rope was procured, and he was immediately strung up
to a beam which was left standing in the ruined entrance of the Palace

"No sooner had he been hoisted up and a hitch taken in the rope than
one of his fellow criminals was captured. Stopping only to secure a
few yards of hemp, a knot was quickly tied and the wretch was soon
adorning the hotel entrance by the side of the other dastard."

Jack Spencer, well known here, also returned home yesterday, and had
much to say of the treatment of those caught in the act of rifling the
dead of their jewels.

"At the corner of Market and Third streets on Wednesday," said Mr.
Spencer of Los Angeles, "I saw a man attempting to cut the fingers
from the hand of a dead woman in order to secure the rings. Three
soldiers witnessed the deed at the same time and ordered the man to
throw up his hands. Instead of obeying he drew a revolver from his
pocket and began to fire without warning.

"The three soldiers, reinforced by half a dozen uniformed patrolmen,
raised their rifles to their shoulders and fired. With the first shots
the man fell, and when the soldiers went to the body to dump it into
an alley eleven bullets were found to have entered it."

Here is an experience typical of hundreds told by Sam Wolf, a guest at
the Grand Hotel:

"When I awakened the house was shaken as a terrier would shake a rat.
I dressed and made for the street which seemed to move like waves of
water. On my way down Market street the whole side of a building fell
out and came so near me that I was covered and blinded by the dust.
Then I saw the first dead come by. They were piled up in an automobile
like carcasses in a butcher's wagon, all over blood, with crushed
skulls and broken limbs, and bloody faces.

"A man cried out to me, 'Look out for that live wire.' I just had time
to sidestep certain death. On each side of me the fires were burning
fiercely. I finally got into the open space before the ferry. The
ground was still shaking and gaping open in places. Women and children
knelt on the cold asphalt and prayed God would be merciful to them. At
last we got on the boat. Not a woman in that crowd had enough clothing
to keep her warm, let alone the money for fare. I took off my hat, put
a little money in it, and we got enough money right there to pay all
their fares."

W. H. Sanders, consulting engineer of the United States geological
survey, insisted on paying his hotel bill before he left the St.
Francis. He says:

"Before leaving my room I made my toilet and packed my grip. The other
guests had left the house. As I hurried down the lobby I met the clerk
who had rushed in to get something. I told him I wanted to pay my
bill. 'I guess not,' he said, 'this is no time for settlement.'

"As he ran into the office I cornered him, paid him the money, and got
his receipt hurriedly stamped."

Dr. Taggart of Los Angeles, a leader of the Los Angeles relief bureau,
accidentally shot himself while entering a hospital at the corner of
Page and Baker streets, Saturday, April 21. He was mounting the
stairs, stumbled and fell. A pistol which he carried in his inside
coat pocket was discharged, the bullet entering near the heart. He
rose to his feet and cried, "I am dying," and fell into the arms of a
physician on the step below. Death was almost instantaneous.

Mrs. Lucien Shaw, of Los Angeles, wife of Judge Shaw of the State
Supreme Court, disappeared in the war of the elements that raged in
San Francisco.

At day dawn Thursday morning, April 19, the Shaw apartments, on Pope
street, San Francisco, were burned. Mrs. Shaw fled with the refugees
to the hills.

Judge Lucien Shaw went north on that first special on Wednesday that
cleared for the Oakland mole.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  The most welcome visitor to the Mission district.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Handing out clothes to all who need them.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  The earthquake shook down wires and poles.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  View in Golden Gate Park. Too much praise cannot be given our

Thursday morning at daybreak he reached his apartments on Pope
street. Flames were burning fiercely. A friend told him that his wife
had fled less than fifteen minutes before. She carried only a few
articles in a hand satchel.

For two days and nights Judge Shaw wandered over hills and through the
parks about San Francisco seeking among the 200,000 refugees for his

During that heart-breaking quest, according to his own words, he had
"no sleep, little food and less water." At noon Saturday he gave up
the search and hurried back to Los Angeles, hoping to find that she
had arrived before him. He hastened to his home on West Fourth street.

"Where's mother?" was the first greeting from his son, Hartley Shaw.

Judge Shaw sank fainting on his own doorstep. The search for the
missing woman was continued but proved fruitless.

One of the beautiful little features on the human side of the disaster
was the devotion of the Chinese servants to the children of the
families which they served. And this was not the only thing, for often
a Chinaman acted as the only man in families of homeless women and
children. Except for the inevitable panic of the first morning, when
the Chinese tore into Portsmouth square and fought with the Italians
for a place of safety, the Chinese were orderly, easy to manage, and
philosophical. They staggered around under loads of household goods
which would have broken the back of a horse, and they took hard the
order of the troops which commanded all passengers to leave their
bundles at the ferry.

A letter to a friend in Fond du Lac, Wis., from Mrs. Bragg, wife of
General E. S. Bragg, late consul general at Hong Kong, and one-time
commander of the Iron Brigade, gave the following account of the
escape of the Braggs in the Frisco quake. Mrs. Bragg says under date
of April 20:

"We reached San Francisco a week ago today, but it seems a month, so
much have we been through. We were going over to Oakland the very
morning of the earthquake, so, of course, we never went, as it is as
bad there as here.

"General Bragg had to wait to collect some money on a draft, but the
banks were all destroyed. The chimneys fell in and all hotels were
burned as well as public buildings. There was no water to put out the
fires which raged for blocks in every square and provisions were
running low everywhere. Eggs were $5 a dozen, etc.; no telegraph, no

"We went from the Occidental to the Plymouth and from there to the
Park Nob hill, where we lay, not slept, all Wednesday night, the day
of the earthquake. From there we took refuge on the Pacific with
friends who were obliged to get out also and we all came over together
to Fort Mason, leaving there last night. We came from there to the
flagship Chicago, the admiral having sent a boat for us.

"General Bragg is very well and we have both stood it wonderfully. The
Chicago fire was bad enough, but this is worse in our old age. May we
live till we reach home. So many here have lost everything, homes as
well, we consider ourselves quite fortunate. May I never live to see
another earthquake.

"The General had a very narrow escape from falling plaster; never
thought to leave the first hotel alive. Many were killed or burned.
God is good to us. Our baggage was rescued by our nephews alone. No
one else's was to be got out for love or money. The baggage was sent
to the Presidio, not four miles from us."



    =Scenes of Horror and Panic Described by Victims of the
    Quake Who Escaped--How Helpless People Were Crushed to
    Death by Falling Buildings and Debris--Some Marvelous

The stories of hundreds who experienced the earthquake shock but
escaped with life and limb constitute a series of thrilling stories
unrivalled outside of fiction. Those that contain the most marvellous
features are herewith narrated:

       *       *       *       *       *

Albert H. Gould, of Chicago, describes the scene in the Palace Hotel
following the first quake:

"I was asleep on the seventh floor of the Palace Hotel," he said, "at
the time of the first quake. I was thrown out of my bed and half way
across the room.

"Immediately realizing the import of the occurrence, and fearing that
the building was about to collapse, I made my way down the six flights
of stairs and into the main corridor.

"I was the first guest to appear. The clerks and hotel employes were
running about as if they were mad. Within two minutes after I had
appeared other guests began to flock into the corridor. Few if any of
them wore other than their night clothing. Men, women, and children
with blanched faces stood as if fixed. Children and women cried, and
the men were little less affected.

"I returned to my room and got my clothing, then walked to the office
of the Western Union in my pajamas and bare feet to telegraph to my
wife in Los Angeles. I found the telegraphers there, but all the wires
were down. I sat down on the sidewalk, picked the broken glass out of
the soles of my feet, and put on my clothes.

"All this, I suppose, took little more than twenty minutes. Within
that time, below the Palace the buildings for more than three blocks
were a mass of flames, which quickly communicated to other buildings.
The scene was a terrible one. Billows of fire seemed to roll from the
business blocks soon half consumed to other blocks in the vicinity,
only to climb and loom again.

"The Call building at the corner of Third and Market streets, as I
passed, I saw to be more than a foot out of plumb and hanging over the
street like the leaning tower of Pisa.

"I remained in San Francisco until 8 o'clock and then took a ferry for
Oakland, but returned to the burning city an hour and a half later. At
that time the city seemed doomed. I remained but for a few minutes;
then made my way back to the ferry station.

"I hope I may never be called upon to pass through such an experience
again. People by the thousands and seemingly devoid of reason were
crowded around the ferry station. At the iron gates they clawed with
their hands as so many maniacs. They sought to break the bars, and
failing in that turned upon each other. Fighting my way to the gate
like the others the thought came into my mind of what rats in a trap
were. Had I not been a strong man I should certainly have been killed.

"When the ferry drew up to the slip, and the gates were thrown open
the rush to safety was tremendous. The people flowed through the
passageway like a mountain torrent that, meeting rocks in its path,
dashes over them. Those who fell saved themselves as best they could.

"I left Oakland at about 5 o'clock. At that time San Francisco was
hidden in a pall of smoke. The sun shone brightly upon it without any
seeming penetration. Flames at times cleft the darkness. This cloud
was five miles in height, and at its top changed into a milk white."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Agnes Zink, Hotel Broadway, said:

"I was stopping at 35 Fifth street, San Francisco. The rear of that
house collapsed and the landlady and about thirty of her roomers were
killed. I escaped simply because I had a front room and because I got
out on the roof, as the stairway had collapsed in the rear. Out in the
street it was impossible to find a clear pathway. I saw another
lodging house near ours collapse--I think it must have been 39 Fifth
street--and I know all the inmates were killed, for its wreck was
complete. In ten minutes the entire block to Mission street was in

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. J. P. Anthony, a business man who escaped from the doomed city in
an automobile tells a graphic story:

Mr. Anthony says that he was sleeping in his room at the Romona hotel
on Ellis street, near Macon, and was suddenly awakened at 5:23 in the
morning. The first shock that brought him out of bed, he says, was
appalling in its terrible force. The whole earth seemed to heave and
fall. The building where he was housed, which is six stories high, was
lifted from its foundation and the roof caved in. A score or more of
guests, men and women, immediately made their way to the street, which
was soon filled with people, and a perfect panic ensued. Debris
showered into the street from the buildings on every side.

As a result, Mr. Anthony says, he saw a score or more of people
killed. Women became hysterical and prayed in the streets, while men
sat on the curbing, appearing to be dazed. It was twenty minutes
before those in the vicinity seemed to realize the enormity of the
catastrophe. The crowds became larger and in the public squares of the
city and in empty lots thousands of people gathered.

It was 9 o'clock before the police were in control of the situation.
When they finally resumed charge, the officers directed their energy
toward warning the people in the streets away from danger. Buildings
were on the brink of toppling over.

Mr. Anthony says he was walking on Market street, near the Emporium,
about 9 a. m., when a severe shock was felt. At once the street filled
again with excited persons, and thousands were soon gathered in the
vicinity, paralyzed with fear. Before the spectators could realize
what had happened, the walls of the building swayed a distance of
three feet. The thousands of bystanders stood as if paralyzed,
expecting every moment that they would be crushed, but another tremor
seemed to restore the big building to its natural position.

Mr. Anthony said that he momentarily expected that, with thousands of
others who were in the neighborhood, he would be crushed to death in a
few moments. He made his way down Market street as far as the Call
building, from which flames were issuing at every window, with the
blaze shooting through the roof. A similar condition prevailed in the
Examiner building, across the street.

He then started for the depot, at Third and Townsend streets,
determined to leave the city. He found a procession of several
thousand other persons headed in the same direction.

All south of Market street about that time was a crackling mass of
flames. Mr. Anthony made his way to Eighth and Market, thence down
Eighth to Townsend and to Third street, and the entire section which
he traversed was afire, making it impossible for him to reach his
destination. He attempted to back track, but found that his retreat
had been cut off by the flames. He then went to Twelfth street and
reached Market again by the city hall. San Francisco's magnificent
municipal building had concaved like an egg shell. The steel dome was
still standing, but the rest of the $3,000,000 structure was a mass of
charred ruins.

It was not yet noon, but the city's hospitals were already filled with
dead and injured, and all available storerooms were being pressed into
service. Dead bodies were being carried from the streets in garbage
wagons. In every direction hysterical women were seen. Men walked
through the streets, weeping, and others wore blanched faces. Transfer
men were being offered fabulous sums to remove household goods, even
for a block distant. Horses had been turned loose and were running at
large to prevent their being incinerated in the burning buildings.
Women had loaded their personal belongings on carts and were pulling
them through the city, the property being huddled in the public

"The Grand Hotel tossed like a ship at sea. There was a wavelike
motion, accompanied by a severe up and down shake," said J. R. Hand of
the Hand Fruit Company of Los Angeles. "The shock was accompanied by a
terrific roar that is indescribable. An upright beam came through the
floor of my room and the walls bulged in. I thought I should not get
out alive. All my baggage was lost, but I still have the key to my
room as a souvenir, No. 249.

"I was on the third story of the hotel and got the last vacant room.
No one in any of the stronger built hotels was killed, to the best of
my knowledge. These hotels were destroyed by fire after being severely
wrecked. I reached the ferry station by a trip of about six miles
around by the Fairmount Hotel and thence to the water front.

"The Examiner Building went up like a flash. I was standing in front
of the Crocker Building and saw the first smoke. Just then the
soldiers ran us out. We went around two blocks and the next view we
had the building was a mass of flames. The burning of the Palace was a
beautiful sight from the bay."

F. O. Popenie, manager of the Pacific Monthly, was asleep in the
Terminus hotel, near the Southern Pacific ferry station, when the
first tremble came.

"The Terminus hotel did not go down at the first shock," he said. "We
were sleeping on the third floor when the quake came. The walls of the
hotel began falling, but the guests had time to run outside before the
building fell in.

"I started for San Jose on foot. When I reached the Potrero I looked
back and saw the business section a furnace. Fires had started up in
many places and were blazing fiercely. Finally a man driving a single
rig overtook me. He was headed for San Jose and he took me in. After a
distance of fifteen miles we took the train and went on."

The Terminus hotel was a six-story structure with stone and brick
sides. It collapsed soon after the first shock.

Among the refugees who found themselves stranded were John Singleton,
a Los Angeles millionaire, his wife and her sister. The Singletons
were staying at the Palace hotel when the earthquake shock occurred.

Mr. Singleton gives 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

"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."

"I was asleep in the Hotel Dangham, Ellis and Mason streets, when the
shock came," said Miss Bessie Tannehill of the Tivoli Theatre. "There
were at least 100 persons in the building at the time. At the first
shock I leaped from the bed and ran to the window. Another upheaval
came and I was thrown off my feet. I groped my way out of the room and
down the dark stairway. Men, women and children, almost without
clothing, crowded the place, crying and praying as they rushed out.

"When outside I saw the streets filled with people who rushed about
wringing their hands and crying. Proprietor Lisser of the hotel
offered a cabman $50 to take himself and his wife to the Presidio
heights, but he refused. He wanted more money. We finally secured a
carriage by paying $100. Fire was raging at this time and people were

"After getting outside of the danger region I walked back, hoping to
aid some of the unfortunates. I have heard about big prices charged
for food. I wish to testify that the merchants on upper Market street
and in nearby districts threw open their stores and invited the crowds
to help themselves. The mobs rushed into every place, carrying out all
the goods possible.

"I saw many looters and pickpockets at work. On Mason street a gang of
thieves was at work. They were pursued by troops, but escaped in an

The members of the Metropolitan opera company of New York were all
victims of the great disaster, including Mme. Sembrich, Signor Caruso,
Campanari, Dippel, Conductor Hertz and Bars.

All of the splendid scenery, stage fittings, costumes and musical
instruments were lost in the fire which destroyed the Grand Opera
House, where their season had just opened.

No one of the company was injured, but nearly all of them lost their
personal effects. Mme. Sembrich placed the loss by the destruction of
her elegant costumes at $20,000. She was fortunate enough to save her
valuable jewels. The total loss to the organization was $150,000.

On the morning of the earthquake the members of the company were
distributed among the different hotels.

The sudden shock brought all out of their bedrooms in all kinds of
attire. The women were in their night dresses, the men in pajamas,
none pausing to dress, all convinced that their last hour had come.
Ten minutes later Caruso was seen seated on his valise in the middle
of the street. Many of the others had rushed to open squares or other
places of supposed safety. Even then it was difficult to avoid the
debris falling from the crumbling walls.

Several of those stopping at the Oaks were awakened by plaster from
the ceilings falling on their bed and had barely time to flee for
their lives. One singer was seen standing in the street, barefoot, and
clad only in his underwear, but clutching a favorite violin which he
carried with him in his flight. Rossi, though almost in tears, was
heard trying his voice at a corner near the Palace hotel.

       *       *       *       *       *

A. W. Hussey, who went to the Hall of Justice on the morning of the
disaster, told how at the direction of a policeman whom he did not
know, he had cut the arteries in the wrists of a man pinioned under
timbers at St. Katherine hotel.

According to the statement made by Hussey the man was begging to be
killed and the policeman shot at him, but his aim was defective and
the bullet went wide of the mark. The officer then handed Hussey a
knife with instructions to cut the veins in the suffering man's
wrists, and Hussey obeyed orders to the letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

A story was told of one young girl who had followed for two days the
body of her father, her only relative. It had been taken from a house
in Mission street to an undertaker's shop just after the quake. The
fire drove her out with her charge, and it was placed in Mechanics'

That went, and it had rested for a day at the Presidio, waiting
burial. With many others she wept on the border of the burial area,
while the women cared for her. That was truly a tragic and pathetic

In the commission house of C. D. Bunker a rescuer named Baker was
killed while trying to get a dead body from the ruins. Other rescuers
heard the pitiful wail of a little child, but were unable to get near
the point from which the cry issued. Soon the onrushing fire ended the
cry and the men turned to other tasks.

Hundreds of firemen and rescuers were prostrated, the strain of the
continued fight in the face of the awful calamity proving more than
any man could stand. In the crowds at many points people fainted and
in some instances dropped dead as the result of the reaction following
the unprecedented shock.

At Mechanics' Pavilion scenes of heroism and later of panic were
enacted. The great frame building was turned into a hospital for the
care of the injured and here a corps of fifty physicians rendered aid.
Nurses volunteered their services and also girls from the Red Cross
ship that steamed in from the government yards at Mare island and
contributed doctors and supplies.

While the ambulances and automobiles were unloading their maimed and
wounded at the building the march of the conflagration up Market
street gave warning that the injured would have to be removed at once.

This work was undertaken and every available vehicle was pressed into
service to get the stricken into the hospitals and private houses of
the western addition. A few minutes after the last of the wounded had
been carried through the door, some on cots, others in strong arms and
on stretchers, shafts of fire shot from the roof and the structure
burst into a whirlwind of flame.

One of the most thrilling of all stories related of adventures in
stricken San Francisco during the days of horror and nights of terror
is that of a party of four, two women and two men, who arrived at Los
Angeles April 20, after having spent a night and the greater portion
of two days on the hills about Golden Gate Park.

This party was composed of Mrs. Francis Winter, Miss Bessie Marley,
Dr. Ernest W. Fleming, and Oliver Posey, all of Los Angeles.

"I was sleeping in a room on the third floor of the hotel," said Dr.
Fleming, "when the first shock occurred. An earthquake in San
Francisco was no new sensation to me. I was there in 1868, when a boy
ten years old, when the first great earthquake came. But that was a
gentle rocking of a cradle to the one of Wednesday.

"I awoke to the groaning of timbers, the grinding, creaking sound,
then came the roaring street. Plastering and wall decorations fell.
The sensation was as if the buildings were stretching and writhing
like a snake. The darkness was intense. Shrieks of women, higher,
shriller than that of the creaking timbers, cut the air. I tumbled
from the bed and crawled, scrambling toward the door. The twisting and
writhing appeared to increase. The air was oppressive. I seemed to be
saying to myself, will it never, never stop? I wrenched the lock; the
door of the room swung back against my shoulder. Just then the
building seemed to breathe, stagger and right itself.

"But I fled from that building as from a falling wall. I could not
believe that it could endure such a shock and still stand.

"The next I remember I was standing in the street laughing at the
unholy appearance of half a hundred men clad in pajamas--and less.

"The women were in their night robes; they made a better appearance
than the men.

"The street was a rainbow of colors in the early morning light. There
was every stripe and hue of raiment never intended to be seen outside
the boudoir.

"I looked at a man at my side; he was laughing at me. Then for the
first time I became aware that I was in pajamas myself. I turned and
fled back to my room.

"There I dressed, packed my grip, and hastened back to the street. All
the big buildings on Market street toward the ferry were standing, but
I marked four separate fires. The fronts of the small buildings had
fallen out into the streets and at some places the debris had broken
through the sidewalk into cellars.

"I noticed two women near me. They were apparently without escort. One
said to the other, 'What wouldn't I give to be back in Los Angeles

"That awakened a kindred feeling and I proffered my assistance. I put
my overcoat on the stone steps of a building and told them to sit

"In less than two minutes those steps appeared to pitch everything
forward, to be flying at me. The groaning and writhing started afresh.

"But I was just stunned. I stood there in the street with debris
falling about me. It seemed the natural thing for the tops of
buildings to careen over and for fronts to fall out. I do not even
recall that the women screamed.

"The street gave a convulsive shudder and the buildings somehow
righted themselves again. I thought they had crashed together above my

"The air was filled with the roar of explosions. They were dynamiting
great blocks. Sailors were training guns to rake rows of residences.

"All the while we were moving onward with the crowd. Cinders were
falling about us. At times our clothing caught fire, just little
embers that smoked and went out. The sting burned our faces and we
used our handkerchiefs for veils.

"Everybody around us was using some kind of cloth to shield their
eyes. It looked curious to see expressmen and teamsters wearing those

"Quite naturally we seemed to come to Golden Gate Park. It seemed as
if we had started for there. By this time the darkness was settling.
But it was a weird twilight. The glare from the burning city threw a
kind of red flame and shadow about us. It seemed uncanny; the figures
about us moved like ghosts.

"The wind and fog blew chill from the ocean and we walked about to
keep warm. Thousands were walking about, too, but there was no

"Families trudged along there. There was no hurry. All appeared to
have time to spare. The streets, walks, and lawns were wiggling with
little parties, one or two families in each. The men had brought
bedding and blankets and they made impromptu shelters to keep off the

"The cinders still kept falling. They seemed at times to come down
right against the wind. They stung my face and made me restless.

"All night we moved about the hills. Thousands were moving with us. As
the night wore on the crowd grew.

"Near daylight the soldiers came to the park. They were still moving
in front of the fire.

"I had brought a little store of provisions before nightfall and
somehow we had kept them. It seemed easy to keep things there. I
walked over to the fire made by one squad of soldiers and picked up a
tin bucket. They looked at me but made no move. I went to a faucet and
turned it on. Water was there. Not much, but a trickling little
stream. There was water in the park all night. I boiled some eggs and
we ate our breakfast. Then we concluded to try to make our way back to
the water front. We did this because the soldiers were driving us from
that part of the hills. The flames were still after us.

"The dumb horror of it seemed to reach right into one's heart. Walking
and resting, we reached the ferry near sunset. We had come back
through a burned district some four miles. I do not understand how the
people stood it.

"Other parties staggered past us. They were reeling, but not from
wine. It was here that the pangs of thirst caught us. But the end came
at last. We reached the ferry and the boats were running. The soldiers
were there, too. They seemed to be everywhere. They were offering milk
to the women and children.

"We are in Los Angeles now. It hardly seems real. If it were not for
the sting of the cinders that still stick to my face and eyes I might
think it was all a nightmare."

       *       *       *       *       *

Adolphus Busch, the St. Louis brewer, gave this account of his
experiences in the earthquake:

"The earthquake which shook 'Frisco made all frantic, and was
undoubtedly the severest ever experienced in the United States. The
St. Francis hotel swayed from south to north like a tall poplar in a
storm; furniture, even pianos, was overturned, and people thrown from
their beds.

"I summoned my family and friends and urged them to escape to
Jefferson square, which we did.

"An awful sight met our eyes. Every building was either partly or
wholly wrecked, roofs and cornices falling from skyscrapers on lower
houses, crushing and burying the inmates.

"Fires started in all parts of the city, the main water pipes burst
and flooded the streets, one earthquake followed another, the people
became terrified, but all were wonderfully calm. Over 100,000 persons
without shelter were camping on the hills. There was no light, water,
nor food. Regular soldiers and the militia maintained order and
discipline, otherwise more horrors would have occurred and riots might
have prevailed. Then the worst happened. The fire spread over
three-fourths of the city and could not be controlled, no water to
fight it, no light, and the earth still trembling.

"Building after building was dismantled to check the progress of the
flames, but all of no avail. We were fortunate to secure conveyances
and fled to Nob Hill, from which we witnessed the indescribable drama.
Block after block was devastated. The fires blazed like volcanoes, and
all business houses, hotels, theaters--in fact, the entire business
portion--lay in ruins, and two-thirds of the residences."



    =Hairbreadth Escapes from the Hotels Whose Walls
    Crumbled--Frantic Mothers Seek Children from Whom They
    Were Torn by the Quake--Reckless Use of Firearms by
    Cadet Militia--Tales of Heroism and Suffering.=

For two weeks or more tragedy, romance and comedy crowded the lives of
women and children survivors homeless in the city of ashes and in
Oakland, across the bay, the city of refuge. In this latter place
thousands separated from their loved ones were tearfully awaiting
developments, and every hour in the day members of families were
restored to each other who had been lost.

On record in the Chamber of Commerce at Oakland, which was the
headquarters of the Oakland Relief Committee, some queer stories were
told. Not a day passed but there were from two to eight marriages in
that office. Homeless young couples met each other, compared notes and
finally agreed to marry.

At the registry bureau in Oakland scores of women, young and old,
worked gratis. One applied for work to relieve her mind. She said she
had seen her husband and eldest son killed and had fled with her baby.
During the rush of people she lost her baby.

One of her first duties was to copy names of the lost and found. In
one of the lists she believed she recognized the description of her
baby. An investigation was made and the child proved to be hers.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  A familiar scene in San Francisco after the disaster.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Two policemen were buried under walls.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  A view showing a drove of cattle killed by falling walls.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Mission Street looking west.]

A grief-stricken mother came in crying for her child, which she had
not seen since the day of the disaster. A member of the relief
committee was detailed on the case and he found the baby. The same
day, while walking on the street, he saw a woman carrying a baby in
a pillow slip thrown over her shoulder. Two hours later he again met
the woman. The pillow slip had ripped and the baby had fallen out
unknown to the mother. When her attention was called to this fact the
mother fainted.

Again the young man set to work and found the baby two blocks away,
but upon returning could not find the mother.

One man escaped with his two babes as he saw his wife killed in a
falling building. He seized two suit cases and placed a baby in each
and started for the ferry. When he reached Oakland he found both
smothered. He became violently insane and was put in a strait-jacket.

Hermann Oelrichs of New York, ten times a millionaire and husband of
the eldest daughter of the late Senator Fair of California, arrived in
Chicago on a scrap of paper on which was written a pass over all
railroad lines. The scrap of paper was roughly torn, was two inches
square, but upon it in lead pencil were written these magic words:

"Pass Hermann Oelrichs and servant to Chicago upon all lines. This
paper to serve in lieu of tickets.--E. H. Harriman."

Mr. Oelrichs described some of his experiences after he was driven
from his quarters in the St. Francis Hotel by the earthquake. He said:

"It was heaven and hell combined to produce chaos. I have a bad foot,
but I forgot it and walked twenty miles that day, helping all I could.
Mayor Schmitz had a meeting in the afternoon at the shaking Hall of
Justice and appointed a committee of fifty, of which I was one. He
gave me a commission as a member of the Committee of Law and Order,
which, together with my policeman's star and club, I shall hand down
to my son as heirlooms."

"I am proud of that," said Mr. Oelrichs. "That is the Mayor's own
signature and he has proved himself every inch a man. Lots of people
thought the Mayor was just a fiddler, but they think differently now.

"The regulars saved San Francisco. The militia got drunk and killed
people. The hoodlums south of Market street were all burned out and
they swarmed up in the swell quarter. The report was that they meant
to fire the houses of the rich which had not been destroyed. Every
night a west wind blows from the Pacific, and they meant to start the
fire at the west end. That had to be guarded against."

Mr. Oelrichs had fitted up apartments in the St. Francis, packed with
curios and rarities to the extent of $20,000. These were all burned.

The operators and officials of the Postal Telegraph Company remained
in the main office of the company at the corner of Market and
Montgomery streets, opposite the Palace Hotel, until they were ordered
out of the building because of the danger from the dynamite explosions
in the immediate vicinity. The men proceeded to Oakland, across the
bay, and took possession of the office there.

Before the offices of the telegraph companies in hundreds of cities
excited crowds of men and women surged back and forth the morning of
the catastrophe, all imploring the officials to send a message through
for them to the stricken city to bring back some word from dear ones
in peril there. It was explained that there was only one wire in
operation and that imperative orders had been received that it was to
be used solely for company purposes, press dispatches and general

Mr. Sternberger of New York was on the fourth floor of the St.
Francis, with his wife, son and a maid. After hurriedly dressing he
and his family rushed into Union square.

"We had hardly got seated," said Mr. Sternberger, "when firemen came
along asking for volunteers to take bodies from the ruins just above
the hotel. There was a ready and willing response. It was a low
building on which had toppled a lofty one, and all in the former were
buried in the debris. We heard the stifled cries and prayers, 'For
God's sake, come this way,' 'O, lift this off my back,' 'My God, I'm
dying,' and others, nerving us to greater efforts.

"Finally we got to some of them. Bruised, bleeding, blinded by smoke
and dust, terrified past reason, the poor fellows who fell in the
street fell from utter exhaustion. Those that were penned away below
we could not reach, and their seeming far-off cries for mercy and life
will ring in my ears till death."

Henry Herz, a New York traveling man, after a terrible experience,
made his escape and constituted himself a traveling relief committee.
At Sacramento he organized a shipment of eggs. At Reno he set the
housewives to baking bread, and in Salt Lake City he had raised a
potato fund of $400. Mr. Herz crossed the bay in a launch. The boatman
asked him how much money he had, and when he replied, with a mental
reservation, $46.60, the boatman charged him $46.60 and collected the
money in advance.

Worn by the exposure, hardships, and terrors of a two days' effort to
escape from the stricken city, Mrs. D. M. Johnson of Utica, N. Y., and
Miss Martha Stibbals of Erie, Pa., passed through Denver.

"The first that we knew of the earthquake was when we were awakened in
our room at the Randolph Hotel by a terrific shaking which broke loose
fragments of the ceiling," said Miss Stibbals. "There followed a
tremendous shock which shook the building sideways and tossed it about
with something like a spiral motion. When we reached the street people
were running hither and thither.

"Fire was breaking out in hundreds of places over the city and the
streets were becoming crowded with hurrying refugees. Where they were
unable to procure horses, men and women had harnessed themselves to
carriages and were drawing their belongings to places of safety. As we
passed through the residence district where wealthy people lived we
saw automobiles drawn up and loaded down before houses. Their owners
remained until the flames came too near, and then, getting into the
machines, made for the hills.

"We saw one man pay $2,000 for an automobile in which to take his
family to a place of safety."

"I climbed over bodies, picked my way around flaming debris, and went
over almost insurmountable obstacles to get out of San Francisco,"
said C. C. Kendall, a retired Omaha capitalist, upon his arrival home.

"I arrived in San Francisco the night previous to the earthquake. I
was awakened about 5:15 in the morning by being thrown out of my bed
in the Palace Annex. I rushed to the window and looked out. The houses
were reeling and tumbling like playthings. I hurried on clothing and
ran into the street. Here I saw many dead and the debris was piled up
along Market street.

"I went to the office of the Palace Hotel and there men, women, and
children were rushing about, crazed and frantic in their night
clothes. The first shock lasted only twenty-eight seconds, but it
seemed to me two hours.

"A few minutes after I reached the Palace Hotel office the second
shock came. It was light, compared with the first, but it brought to
the ground many of the buildings that the first shock had unsettled.

"Fires were breaking out in every direction. Market street had sunk at
least four feet. I started for the ferry. It is only a few blocks from
the Palace Annex to the ferry, but it took me from 6 a. m. to 10:15
a. m. to cover the space.

"Men and women fought about the entrance of the ferry like a band of
infuriated animals.

"I made my escape--I do not remember how, for I was as desperate as
any of them. As the boat pulled over the bay the smoke and flame rose
sky high and the roar of falling buildings and the cries of the people
rent the air."

J. C. Gill, of Philadelphia, told his experiences as follows: "Mrs.
Gill and myself were in a room on the third floor of the hotel. We
were awakened by the rocking of our beds. Then they seemed to be
lifted from their legs, suspended in the air, and as suddenly dropped,
while the plaster began cracking and falling. We arose and left our
room after putting on a few clothes. We felt that with every step we
were treading on glass and that the ten stories above us would fall,
not allowing us to escape alive. But once outside the building and
with our friends I began to realize what had happened.

"I made my way back to the room and carefully packed our suit cases. I
came across a valuable necklace and pearls that my wife in her haste
had left behind.

"With hundreds of others we roamed in the park in front of the hotel
several hours. When we saw the fire was hemming in the lower part of
the city we walked toward the outskirts. Early next morning we decided
to leave the city, and started to the ferry. Policemen would stop us,
and it was with difficulty and much trepidation that we walked through
the burned district, and arrived at the wharf at 5:15, just fifteen
minutes before the boat left.

"The scenes we passed through were sickening and indescribable. I
fancy that scores of men, wharf rats, who had looted wholesale liquor
houses and were maudlin drunk, were burned to death without being the
wiser, because of their condition."

"I had been stopping at the Metropole in Oakland," said Frederick
Lemon of New York, "and Tuesday night went to Frisco, where I stopped
at the Terminal hotel, at the foot of Market street. The first shock
threw all the loose articles around my room and I attempted to run
unclad from the hotel. Just as I walked out the door I was struck by
some heavy beams. I was stunned and while I lay there some one from
the hotel brought me my clothing.

"At that time the streets were like bedlam. Soldiers were in control,
and while the regulars were almost perfect in their attempts to
maintain order the militia men lost their heads. They shot some men
without provocation, and never thought to cry 'halt' or 'who comes

Henry Kohn of Chicago told of a horrible experience he had. "I had a
room on the fifth floor of the Randolph Hotel, Mason and O'Farrell
streets," he said. "The first quake threw me out of bed. By the time I
reached the second floor the building had ceased shaking, and I went
back, got my clothes, and went into the street. In the building across
the street twelve persons were killed. About 11 o'clock in the morning
we were in the public square, with about 1,500 other refugees, when a
severe shock was felt. People became panic stricken; some prayed,
women fainted, and children shrieked and cried.

"The stream of people going up Nob and Telegraph hills all Wednesday
was a pitiful sight. Many were barefooted and lightly clad. There was
nothing to eat or drink."

Sol Allenberg, a New York bookmaker, was with Kohn at the St. Francis
Hotel. "I was sick in my room when the shock struck us," he said, "and
my friend helped me out to a boarding house on the hill. There I had
to pay $7 for a room for the rest of the day.

"It was two miles from the fire and I thought I was safe enough when I
got into my bed at noon, but about two hours later they awoke me to
tell me that the fire was only two blocks away, and we got out only a
short time before the house went up in flames.

"No exaggeration of the horrible scenes on the street is possible.
There was one poor fellow pinned to earth with a great iron girder
across his chest. It in turn was weighted down by a mass of wreckage
that could not be moved. He could not be saved from the flames that
were sweeping toward him, and begged a policeman to shoot him.

"The officer fired at him and missed him, and then an old man crawled
through the debris and cut the arteries in the man's wrists. The crowd
hurried on and left him to die alone."



    =A Graphic Pen Picture of San Francisco in Flames and
    in Ruins--Scenes and Stories of Human Interest where
    Millionaires and Paupers Mingled in a Common
    Brotherhood--A Harrowing Trip in an Automobile.=

Among the most graphic and interesting pen pictures of scenes within
and without the stricken city were those of Harry C. Carr, a newspaper
photographer and correspondent of Los Angeles. This is his personal

I started from Los Angeles for the stricken city on that pitiful first
train whose passengers were nearly all San Francisco men trying
frantically to get back to their wives and children, whose fate they
could only imagine.

All one terrible day I walked about through the lanes of the charred
ruins that had once been San Francisco. I was one of the hungry who
robbed grocery stores for their food; one of the parched thousands who
eagerly drank water out of the gutter leakage of the fire engines.

After hours of discouraging failure, of being turned back by the
sentries, with the sound of dynamited houses ringing in my ears, I
managed at last to join the long caravan of homeless families carrying
all the property left to them in the world in sheets.

Sometimes I walked with the daughter of a Van Ness avenue millionaire
lugging a bundle over her shoulder, and again with a Chinaman moaning
piteously over the loss of his laundry.

I came out of San Francisco on that broken-hearted first train
carrying refugees, whose faces streamed with tears as they took the
last look from the Pullman windows at the weirdly beautiful red fringe
of fire creeping along the ridges of the distant hills, burning the
remnants of San Francisco.

An hour after the first word reached Los Angeles on that fateful
Wednesday morning our train pulled out of the depot. There was an
ominous number of reservations for Santa Barbara on the chair car.
Most of the San Francisco men came on board there.

Beyond San Luis Obispo, two big freight trains were stalled by a
cave-in caused by the earthquake. They crawled out just in
time--before every one went mad.

At Salinas, about dark, the conductor came back, shaking his head; a
freight train ahead at Pajaro had been completely buried by a mountain
of earth hurled in the quake.

The men said it was likely to be a week before any train went through.

Three or four of us hurried into the town looking for an automobile.
One of the passengers on the train was Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson,
and the news had been kept from her until this delay.

Strange to say, there were a number of automobiles in town, but none
were to be had. One man was hurrying through from Los Angeles in his
own touring car with his three boys to find his wife, their mother,
who was somewhere in the burning city.

We were getting ready to hire saddle horses when the twin lights of an
automobile came glaring down the street. There were two New England
spinsters aboard. They had been in the Palace Hotel when the clerk
telephoned to their rooms to tell them the city was burning and that
the hotel was about to be blown up by dynamite by the soldiers of the
Engineer Corps.

They hired an auto to San Jose at an outrageous price and paid $75 to
be taken from there to Salinas. Had it not been for a bridge which
kind Heaven smashed, I guess they would have been going yet. As it
was, we persuaded them that the train was the place for them and
managed to hire the automobile back to San Jose. The cost was $20 a

Men came to us and begged like frightened children to be taken; but we
dared not risk a breakdown and had to refuse. But never shall I forget
the look that was in their eyes.

We started at 10:30 and rode all night. It was bitterly cold and we
suffered terribly, not having overcoats. The chauffeur had been using
his auto all that morning taking medicines to the demolished insane
asylum at Agnews.

His story of the scenes there was horrible. Scores of dead were lying
stretched on the lawns and others were walking about hideously
wounded. Amid this scene an insane woman was wandering, blithely
singing little songs of her own improvision about the earthquake and
the killing.

One giant maniac had broken his shackles and rescued one of the guards
from the building. He had just one sane moment; long enough to be a
hero. Then he fled howling into the hills.

It was just dawn when we got to San Jose. Sentries from the militia
and special officers were patrolling the streets. A dead line had been
established to keep persons away from wrecked buildings. There were
jewelry stores whose fronts had been entirely torn off; these would
have been plundered.

All through the city we saw people seated on beds on their front
lawns, their houses having tumbled. On the front lawn of the Hotel
Vendome was a bonfire about which were gathered twenty or thirty
people. Every guest of the house had spent the night there with a
blanket apiece.

We were just in time to catch the first train to go through to San
Francisco. All along the route through such towns as Palo Alto and
Belmont, we saw shattered buildings, warehouses with whole sides
neatly cut off as though with a knife. One big warehouse of brick had
completely buried a freight train standing on a siding.

During the night we could see the dull red glow that came from the
burning city. Now we could see the huge copper-colored clouds that
almost hid the sun. As we came nearer the city we could hear the
distant explosions of the dynamite with which the soldiers were
wrecking the buildings. They came to us in dull but quick thumps.

The train got no further than Valencia street. As soon as we got off
we saw the first stragglers of the great army of the homeless and

Sentries stopped us before we had gone a block, so a cheerful
good-looking young fellow, who had seen first his home and his tailor
shop utterly destroyed that morning, offered to be our guide.

He took us past the Hotel Valencia, which was the worst sufferer from
the earthquake. The big building had been literally poured out into
the street in a stream of splintered wood. No one knows how many
people perished in it.

On the corner next the Valencia was a new set of three-story flats,
just completed, and most of the flats not yet occupied. As though some
one had struck it on top with a giant hammer, the entire building had
sunk one story into the ground; you could walk right in at the second

Turning down into Steiner street, we were caught in the flood of the
strangest tide the world ever saw. There never was anything like this

These were people warned to leave their homes from some district newly
doomed to the Fire God.

They were trekking, in a long, motley procession, to find some park
not already crowded to overflowing.

One of the first that I met was a little family beginning life over
again. What they had been able to rescue before the flames came was
packed in a little express wagon. The elderly husband was drawing
this. Behind him came his wife. With the forethought of a woman, she
had either bought or stolen two packages of breakfast food--all that
stood between them and starvation. They looked drawn and anxious; and
were rather peculiar in this regard.

Most of the refugees leaving their homes were cheerful.

I saw a pretty "tailor-made girl" meeting her friend on the street.
One of them had a little bundle of things tied in a handkerchief.

"That's everything I own in this world," she said,
grinning--positively grinning.

"That's nothing," said the other girl, smiling back, "I haven't a rag
to my back or a cent of money, and I've lost track of my family
somewhere in this crowd."

"Oh, well, what's the use of worrying?" And with that they parted.

Another touching little group was led by the father, who carried a
sheet tied up with what he could carry. The young mother was dragging
a child's express wagon laden mostly with provisions. Behind her
trooped two sweet little girls. One was wrapped up in a big shawl
(this was just after sunrise.) A kitten, which she held in her arms,
was poking its nose protestingly out from the shawl. Bringing up the
rear was the other little tot, hugging a doll under each arm.

A fine looking young fellow in khaki trousers and a fashionable coat
was packing an enormous clothes bundle. His young wife was clinging to
his arm. It was everything they had left in the world, probably out of
years of hard saving, but they were both almost going along with good

A little further up the street, I saw a refined looking young girl
cooking breakfast in the gutter. She wore a handsomely made but badly
torn skirt and had a remarkably fine bracelet on one wrist. Her oven
was made of two bricks and a toasting grill. A young man was bringing
her bits of fire wood and they were consulting together over the
frying of bacon.

Further on were two other women doing the same thing and having fun
out of it between themselves.

"Is it so very much farther?" was the only complaint that came from
one tired little woman who looked ready to faint. She was staggering
under the weight of a huge bundle. She looked unused to work and her
lips were white and trembling with exhaustion. She rested just a
minute, then staggered on without another word of complaint.

Men spoke kindly to her, but none offered to help her, because Woe was
the great leveler and all were on the same footing. All the day I
spent in San Francisco, I only heard one person speak unkindly to
another. I wish I had that young man's name, just as a curiosity. He
had been hired by a woman to drag a big Roman chair filled with
treasures up the street.

"There," he said, insolently, "I have earned all the money I got for
that; now take it along yourself."

Without a word, the woman took the chair from him and wheeled it on

One rather amusing group was wheeling an immense and very handsome
dining-room table. The young man who was pulling from the front was
protesting vigorously; but the two young girls who shoved from behind,
digging their stubby fashionable little oxford ties in the dirt for
foothold, urged him peremptorily on. Following them was a half-grown
hobbledehoy boy, strong enough to have packed an ox, who was doing his
heavy share by carrying a little glass vase.

In a doorway half way up the hill, I saw an old Chinaman sitting with
his bundle, which was all he had been able to save. He was just
saying, "Oh, oh, oh," in a curious, half-sobbing moan that never
seemed to cease.

The young tailor with me said the Chinaman had lost his laundry and
was terror-stricken lest the white people should make him pay for
their clothes.

While his own tailor shop was burning, the young tailor said that he
was out trying to rescue the trapped victims in the burning Hotel

He could only get hold of one living man. He seemed to be caught in
the wreckage, the smoke being too thick to permit one to see just how.
Strong hands caught his feet and pulled desperately. When they dragged
him out at last, they found that he had been caught under the chin. In
pulling him out they cut his throat almost from ear to ear.

As we gained the top of the hill on Steiner street, a San Francisco
man who came in with me on the train stopped dead still. "My God; look
there!" he said, his voice catching with a sob.

Through the rift of the buildings we caught our first glimpse of the
dying city.

"That was Market street," said the San Francisco man, softly.

He pointed across a vast black plain, hundreds of acres in extent, to
a row of haggard, gaunt specters that did seem to be in two lines like
a street.

"There's the City Hall," he said, tremulously, pointing to a large
dome surmounting a pile of ruins and surrounded like some hellish
island with vast stretches of smouldering ashes and twisted iron

The San Francisco man found a tottering, blackened pile of wall that
he said was Mechanic's Pavilion, and a sort of thin peak of brick that
he said was the new Bell Theater. He would go over the town from the
top of the hill and torture himself trying to locate San Francisco's
splendid landmarks in these acres of ash heaps.

Down in the middle of the city I found two young men in a violent
argument over the location of Market street in the ashes.

At the pretty little park, Fell and Steiner streets, we came upon one
of the strange little cities of refugees. I should pronounce this one
of the most select residence districts of San Francisco now. It is the
only home of hundreds upon hundreds of once well-to-do San Francisco
people now ruined.

It was heart-rending to see the women tidying things up and trying to
invent new ideas for attractive homes--trying to make their homes
look better than their neighbors', just as they did before.

Some women made odd little bowers of two blankets and a sheet tent.

I passed one tent where a young mother was lying at ease with her
little girl, under a parasol. Just as I was going by, the little girl
demanded "another." The mother laughed happily and began, "Well, once
upon a time----"

As though one of the stories of all the ages was not going on down the
hill below her!

To one of the groups on the lawn came a young man grinning all over
and positively swaggering. He was received with shrieks of joy. He had
six cans of sardines. He brought them to people who would have been
insulted at the idea two days ago.

The San Francisco man invited me into his house, where we saw the
wreck of his cut glass and library. But he forgot it all over a rare
piece of good fortune that had befallen. The maid had managed to get a
whole tea kettle of water. It was vile and muddy; but it was water.

The young tailor told me that he had gone from daylight until 11:30,
parching for a drink. The saloons were closed by order of Gen.
Funston, but he managed to get beer from a saloon man.

In some parts of the city there is plenty of water. But I saw people
rushing eagerly with buckets to catch the water out of gutters where
it had leaked from a fire hose. In the first terrible water famine,
the firemen broke into sewers and threw sewer water on the fires.

The dramatic moments came as one neighborhood after another was told
to pack up and move out. It was the sounding of doom. I saw several of
these sorrowful dramas.

One was in an old-fashioned street where old southern houses with iron
dogs planted about the lawns had been pressed in upon by
lodging-houses and corner groceries. It seemed mockery to think how
the people in the aristocratic old houses must have raged at the
intrusion of the corner stores. How futile it seemed now!

Came a dapper young cavalry lieutenant into the street. From their
porches people watched him with pathetic anxiety. They could see the
sentry's heels click together and his carbine snap down to a present.
With a few words the officer would hurry on.

Making a megaphone of his hands, the sentry would turn and bawl these
words up the otherwise silent street: "This street is going to be
dynamited; if you want anything in the grocery store, go to it!"

The balance of his remarks, if there were any, would be lost in a
shout of applause from the crowds that seemed to smell such things. A
rush for the grocery store would follow.

Men would come out laden to staggering with loot--canned goods, flour,
bacon, hams, coffee--as much as they could possibly pack.

I saw one little girl not over four. This was the day she always had
been dreaming of. Hugged to her heart was an enormous jar of stick
candy, big enough to give her stomach-ache for the rest of her life.
She could hardly lift it; but she put it down to rest, then went
panting on.

At the warning of the sentry, the whole family in each house would
rush back through the front door to rescue whatever treasure lay
nearest their hearts. They only had four or five minutes. Men would
come dragging bureaus and lounges. Often a man would be pulling along
the family pride, the woman shoving from behind.

In one thrilling rescue I had the distinction of participating. An
elderly woman grabbed me excitedly by the arms and gasped, "Catch it."

She pointed to a dejected canary perched on a window sill. I shinned
gallantly up the side of a dead wall; just touched the canary bird
with the tips of my fingers. It flew and a lady caught it triumphantly
like a baseball as it came down. She went away "mothering" it.

Presently, the sentry would shout another warning and the people would
scurry away, peeking out from behind safe corners. As if by magic, the
streets would be thick with soldiers. The engineers would place the
dynamite and they would all hurry out of danger.

Bang! And the grocery store would go scattering into the air.

It must be confessed that the dynamiting did very little good. It
seemed to provide fine splintered timber as kindling for fiercer
flames which jumped the gap supposed to check them.

The sound of the explosions was to be heard all day long almost like
minute guns.

Let a word be interjected here about those splendid boys in blue
uniform hurried into the city from the forts about San Francisco. They
make one proud of the army. No more superbly policed city ever existed
than the burning and stricken San Francisco.

Soldiers seemed to be everywhere. Almost at every street corner with
fixed bayonet and ominous cartridge belt. Infantry, cavalry (some
mounted infantry) and engineers, all doing sentry duty.

Gen. Funston was in personal command--not from his office, either. He
went plowing around the most perilous streets soaked to the skin from
the fire engines.

San Francisco in this time of panic and distress was more quiet and
orderly than ever before. I saw not a single disturbance of the peace.
With it all, the soldiers were polite, and seemed to try in every way
to show courtesy and consideration. When they had to order people
back, they did it in a quiet and gentlemanly way.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Cooking in Baseball Park.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Another view in Golden Gate Park.]


  The prompt help in relief work rendered by Gov. Pardee stamps him as
  one of the greatest humanitarians of the present day.]

[Illustration: Copyright, Clinedinst, Washington.


  Commander of the Pacific Division of the U. S. Army in the earthquake
  district. General Greely is well known for his Arctic expedition.]

I met men who claimed to have seen men shot down by the soldiers
for defying orders for unlicensed looting. Also there is a story of a
negro being shot dead by a policeman for robbing a dead body.

One story I would like to believe--that a poor wretch pinned in among
the blazing ruins roasting to death begged to be shot and some cavalry
trooper had the moral courage to send a bullet through his brain.

Although I walked probably fifteen miles back and forth through the
city, I saw very little unlicensed looting. Many grocery stores which
did not seem to be in immediate danger, were thrown open; one very
oddly. The proprietor nailed up one window with slats about four
inches wide. He made the refugees line up, and each was privileged to
take all he could reach through the window slats.

Some grocers and tradesmen were not so charitable. In other places I
saw them demanding from people in danger of starving, 75 cents a loaf
for bread.

Bread was the scarcest article except water.

The last of the tragedy that I witnessed was not only the most
dramatic but the most tremendous.

It should be called the "Exodus," for it was a Biblical scene. It was
the headlong flight of those who were most terror-stricken to get out
of the doomed city.

All day long a procession of almost countless thousands was to be seen
hurrying with all the possessions they could carry. There were people
with bundles, packs, laden express wagons, hacks bulging with plunder,
brewery wagons pressed into service, automobiles, push carts, even
fire hose wagons.

I happened along at a crucial moment. One of the lieutenants whose
peculiar and melancholy function seemed to be to pronounce the doom of
one section after another, had just sent warning to Nob Hill, the
center of fashion in San Francisco.

For hours I had been working my way toward the Oakland ferries. As a
last hope, some one told me I might get there by going over these
hills and following the line of the water front.

I got there after the warning had been given. It was San Francisco's
wealthiest and most exclusive society who had to pack and sling their
bundles over their shoulders.

And they did it with just as good grace and courage as the others. All
were making a frantic attempt to hire expressmen with any kind of
vehicle that would move, and most of them were failing.

During the first of the fire, some young society women with very poor
taste, went autoing around the stricken districts as though it were a
circus. They were stopped by a sentry and were made to get out of
their car and hand it over to a posse of special officers being
hurried to some district in new peril.

As I gained the top of Nob Hill and turned to look back, it was clear
why the warning had been given. In one direction, hospitals were
burning south of Market street.

In the center distance the big car barns were on fire and roaring with
flames. Ordinarily this would have been a sensation of a week. Now it
wasn't even considered worth while to send fire engines and nobody
stopped to look as they walked by.

The main streets, where the business part of the city had been, were
black with an immense throng of people who were walking up and down
among the ruins.

Looking toward the ferries, I could count nine big skyscrapers, all
crowned with fire, outlined in a lurid row against the sky line. The
flames were creeping slowly, but with deadly persistence, toward Nob
Hill, with several lesser fires blazing in between.

It was high time Nob Hill was moving.

One old man had chartered an express wagon, and was on top of the
wagon frantically interfering with the work of removing the goods from
a big, aristocratic-looking house.

"The books!" he shrieked, "Why in heaven's sake don't you bring the

A swagger young woman came to the door with a handsome mantel clock
and walked calmly down the stairs. "Please put this in some especially
safe place, please," she said, as composedly as though this were
nothing more than any ordinary moving day.

Down the street I saw a woman with the bearing of a patrician shoving
at the rear of a push cart, loaded with all of the few things she
could save; a servant was drawing it.

Behind came a young girl, who half turned for a last look at the
house, and burst out crying. Her mother left the load for a moment and
comforted her. "Never mind, dear," she said. "Don't cry! See, mamma
isn't crying."

"Mamma" knew that in a few minutes her home and all the property she
had in the world would die in the fire just as her husband's business
had already done; but mamma wasn't crying.

On the corner of Van Ness avenue and Broadway, I saw a girl well
dressed, who had evidently been driven out from there. All she had
saved was a bed tick filled with something. As it was very hot, and
she was very tired, she had spread it on the pavement, and was
watching the throng from under her parasol.

I saw another girl in a trig outing suit and little patent-leather
shoes, toss a bundle, done up in a sheet, over her shoulder and walk
away in the procession with the most fascinating nonchalance.

One woman I saw going away in an elegantly-fitted private carriage. It
was drawn by two horses with tails about two inches long and soaring;
so she must have been near the top of the Upper Crust.

She, too, joined in the flight. Just as she got to the bottom of the
hill she had the driver stop. I saw her turn and take a last wistful
look from her carriage window at her doomed home. She was not
attempting to take anything with her. Like many others, she had simply
locked her door and gone.

Many of these people, rich one day, are practically paupers on the
morrow. Many of them slept outdoors in the parks under a blanket,
afraid to sleep in their own palatial homes.

What I call the "Exodus" fled down Van Ness avenue to the water front,
thence along the Barbary Coast and tough water front by an enormously
long detour to the ferries; it was the only way, the town streets
being on fire and closed by the military.

The farther you went along the more conglomerate the throng became.
The inhabitants of the foreign quarters began pouring out to join the

I was so tired with a long day spent walking about the burning city
that it seemed an impossibility that I should keep on. Every step was
actual physical pain.

Twenty passing cabs, returning from the ferries, I stopped and tried
to charter. The drivers, after bigger game, would wave me aside and
say "Nothin' doin'."

One cabby said that he had to hurry out to the other end of the city
to rescue his own family who were in danger. Another young autocrat on
the cabby's box took a long puff on his cigarette before he replied to
my appeal.

"Fellow, you couldn't hire this hack for a million dollars," he said.

There was one amusing feature in the terrible procession. She was a
haughty dame from Van Ness avenue. All that she could save she had
stuffed into a big striped bed tick. She was trying to drag this
along, and at the same time trying to maintain the dignity of a
perfect lady. Candidly, it was not a success. One can stick pretty
nearly everything into a striped bed quilt, but not dignity.

All along the way were women who had dropped out from exhaustion and
were sitting there with their bundles in utter despair.



    =Government Appropriates Millions and Chicago Leads All
    Other Cities with a Round Million of Dollars--People in
    All Ranks of Life from President Roosevelt to the
    Humblest Wage Earner Give Promptly and Freely.=

The fiery destruction of the beautiful city and the pitiable plight of
the survivors who escaped annihilation from quake and fire only to
face death in the equally horrible forms of starvation and exposure
touched the heartstrings of humanity. The response to the needs of the
stricken city and its people was so prompt, so universal and so
generous that forever it will appeal to the admiration of mankind. It
was a response that did not wait to be asked but in the moment when
the need became known voluntarily turned the tide of the abundance of
the unstricken to the help of the unfortunate before they had even
breath to voice their need.

All over our own land, from every state and city and hamlet, from the
president and the assembled congress, dropping all else to turn the
nation's resources generously to the rescue, through all grades of the
people the response broke forth spontaneously, generously, warmly,
without stint and with such practical promptness that relief for
unexampled distress was already on the way before the close of the
first fateful day.

From all the seeming sordidness of daily life one turns to this as
proof incontestable that humanity is at heart infinitely kinder and
better and less selfish than it esteems itself. Even other lands and
other peoples when the horror of the calamity became known to them,
added to the stream of gold, which had its beginning in the
sympathetic hearts of the American people and its ending in the
stricken and despairing city. Once more were the lines of the
geographer and politician obliterated and there was in the lurid light
of the awful hours no north, no south, no east, no west. Once more did
those in charge of the coffers of the municipalities raise high the
lid and contribute to relieve the woe.

And Chicago, as became the Queen City of the Lakes, and which once in
an almost equally dire calamity was, herself, the recipient of
generous aid, was among the very first which recognized the need of
prompt and generous aid. Almost as soon as the news of the direful
plight of the city by the Golden Gate had been flashed over the wires,
the Merchants' Association of Chicago telegraphed to the authorities
of San Francisco that it would be responsible for a relief fund of
$1,000,000, and that any portion of that sum could be drawn upon at
once. Then Mayor Dunne issued a call for a special relief meeting at
which a big committee of the leading men of the city was formed and
immediately went to work. Fraternal organizations, the newspapers and
the clubs became also active solicitors for aid.

For several days the streets of the city presented a peculiar
appearance. Upon the street corners stood boxes showing that funds
deposited within would reach the homeless of the Pacific coast.
Smaller boxes stood in the hotels that the strangers in the city might
have an opportunity to contribute. Within the large stores in the
business center were other boxes that the shoppers might have an
opportunity of displaying their sympathy in something more tangible
than words. Upon other corners stood the men and women of the
Volunteers of America and the inscriptions above their boxes told that
all pennies, nickels and dimes would eventually find their way to the
stricken of San Francisco.

But while Chicago was the first of distant cities to pledge a big
contribution, other cities throughout the country were not far behind.
In Faneuil Hall, Boston, a meeting which overcrowded that historic
temple of liberty was held, and Bishop Mallalieu of the Methodist
church, at the close of an eloquent address, had a motion
enthusiastically passed that the state of Massachusetts raise
$3,000,000 for the relief of the earthquake and fire victims of the
Pacific coast. In the meantime the city of Boston had already pledged
$500,000 of that amount.

The city of Philadelphia at a formal meeting of its council voted
$100,000, while the relief committee of the people there had secured
$125,000 for the sufferers of the stricken city.

And the congress of the United States, as became it, was prompt in
action. In the lower house a bill appropriating $1,000,000 was
introduced and passed at once, and a few days later a similar measure
of relief was adopted, making the contribution of the government
$2,000,000 altogether. This was about one-third as much as was
required to care for the thousands who were made homeless by the
Chicago disaster of 1871. President Roosevelt also sent a message to
congress urging a further contribution of $500,000, and in an address
to the public urged that they send contributions to the National Red
Cross society as the readiest means by which the afflicted could be
reached. Governor Deneen of Illinois also issued a proclamation to the
like effect. Secretary of War Taft, in his capacity of President of
the American National Red Cross society, issued a proclamation in
which he announced that the necessary work of organization to feed and
shelter the people was placed in the hands of the Red Cross society,
under the direction of General Funston, Commander of the Department of
the Pacific. In this way matters were made systematic and
authoritative and assurances given that the contributions of the
nation would be honestly and economically distributed to those in
need. Among other states and cities not already mentioned, whose
contributions were generous enough to deserve permanent record, were
the following--and the amounts named may be in most cases set down as
somewhat below the real final figures:

    Texas                                      $100,000
    Connecticut                                  30,000
    St. Louis, Mo.                              100,000
    Sacramento                                  100,000
    Seattle, Wash.                               90,000
    Victoria, B. C.                              25,000
    Spokane, Wash.                               30,000
    Milwaukee                                    30,000
    City of Mexico                               30,000
    Des Moines                                   10,000
    Jacksonville, Fla.                           10,000
    Los Angeles                                 200,000
    Cincinnati                                   75,000
    Omaha                                        10,000
    Providence, R. I.                            20,000
    Davenport, Iowa                              20,000
    Stockton, Cal.                               20,000
    Portland, Ore.                              130,000
    Sacramento, Cal.                            100,000
    Columbus, O.                                 20,000

Among individuals in this and other countries who promptly sent in
their contributions were the following:

    Russell Sage                               $  5,000
    London Americans                             12,500
    Clarence H. Mackay                          100,000
    Mrs. John W. Mackay                           5,000
    Robert Lebaudy                               10,000
    W. W. Astor                                 100,000
    President Roosevelt                           1,000
    Senator Knox                                    500
    C. J. Burrage, Boston oil dealer            100,000
    President Diaz, Mexico                      100,000
    E. H. Harriman (for his railroads)          200,000
    Andrew Carnegie                             100,000
    Charles Sweeney, New York                    10,000
    W. K. Vanderbilt                             25,000
    "Friend of Humanity," New York               25,000
    H. C. Frick                                  10,000
    Gordon Blanding                              10,000
    H. M. Bowers, Boston                         10,000
    Robert Schandy, France                       10,000

Among the corporations and organizations which lost no time in going
to the rescue of the afflicted and helpless were the following:

    Bank of Commerce, Toronto                  $ 25,000
    Columbus Board of Trade                      20,000
    National Carpenters' union                   10,000
    United States Steel Corporation             100,000
    Kuhn, Loeb & Co., New York                   25,000
    United Mineworkers of America                 1,000
    Standard Oil Company                        100,000
    North German Lloyd Steamship Company         25,000
    Wisconsin Masons                              5,000
    Carnegie Hero Fund                           25,000
    Heidelback-Ickleheimer, New York             10,000
    National Park bank, New York                  5,000
    New York Stock Exchange                     250,000
    Citizens' Relief Association, Philadelphia  100,000
    Detroit Board of Commerce                    10,000
    N. K. Fairbank Co.                            1,000
    National Biscuit Co.                          5,000
    Hamburg-American Steamship Line              25,000
    Canadian Parliament                         100,000



    =Citizens' Committee Takes Charge of the Distribution
    of Supplies, Aided by the Red Cross Society and the
    Army--Nearly Three-Fourths of the Entire Population
    Fed and Sheltered in Refuge Camps.=

President Roosevelt inaugurated the organized and systematic relief
work through the National Red Cross Society. Before the embers of the
conflagration had cooled he issued the following statement:

Washington, D. C., April 22.--The following statement was issued from
the White House this afternoon:

"To the public: After full consultation with Secretary Taft, the
president of the American National Red Cross Association, who also as
secretary of war is controlling the army work and the expenditure of
the money, probably two millions and a half, appropriated and to be
appropriated by congress for the relief of San Francisco, I wish to
make the following suggestion:

"Contributions both in money and in kind are being given most
generously for the relief of those who have suffered through this
appalling calamity. Unless there is a proper organization for handling
these contributions they will in large part be wasted and will in
large part fail to reach the people to whom it is most to be desired
they should reach.

"The American National Red Cross Association has sent out to take
charge of the relief work Dr. Edward Devine, general secretary of the
Charity Organization Society of New York, whose experience has been
large in work of this kind. Dr. Devine will work in conjunction with
Judge Morrow, United States Circuit judge of the Ninth circuit, and
the head of the California Red Cross Association. Gen. Funston already
has been directed to co-operate with Dr. Devine, and has advised the
secretary of war that he will do so.

"Secretary Metcalf, who is on his way to the Pacific slope, will at
once put himself in touch with Dr. Devine, as well as with the judge,
the governor of California, and the mayor of San Francisco, to see if
there is anything else the administration can do, and he will assist
in all possible ways the effort to systematize what is being done.

"I recommend that all charitable and relief organizations and
individuals who desire to contribute do so through the Red Cross
Association, and that where provisions and supplies be sent they be
consigned to Dr. Devine, Red Cross, San Francisco, and that Dr. Devine
be notified by telegraph of the consignments. At the same time Jacob
H. Schiff, the treasurer of the New York Red Cross Association, in New
York, may be notified that the consignments have been sent to Dr.
Devine, or else the notification can be sent to Charles H. Keep,
assistant secretary of the treasury, Washington, D. C., and treasurer
of the American National Red Cross Association.

"I also suggest that all contributions that already have been
forwarded be brought to the attention of Dr. Devine by telegraph,
which telegram should state the name and address of the consignee and
the amount and nature of the consignment. It is better to send all
moneys to Mr. Keep or Mr. Schiff; they will then be telegraphed to Dr.
Devine as the money is needed.

"The White House, April 22, 1906. Theodore Roosevelt."

       *       *       *       *       *

At the time the foregoing was issued the President was not aware that
the Citizens' Committee of San Francisco headed by ex-Mayor James D.
Phelan was completely organized for relief work and was at the time
directing the succor of the victims.

Upon learning this fact he speedily endorsed the committee and its
work, and instructed the Red Cross Society to co-operate with the
Citizens' Committee.

President Roosevelt aroused criticism in some directions by declining
aid from foreign countries. The first tenders of aid from abroad came
from foreign steamship companies and later several foreign governments
expressed a desire to contribute. The President took the ground that
the United States was able to provide all the relief necessary. The
justification for his attitude was expressed in an address by General
Stewart L. Woodford, former minister to Spain, speaking with the
authority of the President. He said:

"The President, in the midst of the horrors of San Francisco kindly
but firmly declined the assistance offered by the other nations, and
especially, through St. George's society, the assistance of England.
The President meant simply that, bowed as the American people were
under their load, it was his wish that the American people show to the
world that under such an adversity the United States would take care
of its own; would rise equal to the terrible occasion; would feed
their own hungry, would clothe their own naked, and, spurred on by the
indomitable courage which this people always have exhibited under
stress of distracting calamity, set up their flag and move to the
assistance of 'the city that once was,' and build a new city, even
though the earth shook beneath its foundations.

"In doing this--in refusing your great beneficence, the President
still feels that he is greatly honored, as the American people are, in
that England and the other great nations not only sent messages of
regret, but offers of substantial material aid. He felt that the
nation, as a nation, would set an example to other nations."

All funds and supplies were dispensed through the Citizens' Committee
or general relief committee as it was known, with the co-operation of
the army and the Red Cross. Money, food, shelter and clothing poured
in from every quarter. On the Monday succeeding the fire the food
problem had been solved and its distribution reduced to a system. The
people were fed thereafter in a thoroughly businesslike manner. From
the water front, where the boatloads of provisions docked, there was
an endless procession of carts and drays carrying food to the scores
of substations established throughout the city and the parks. At these
stations food and drink, comprising bread, prepared meats, and canned
goods, milk, and a limited amount of hot coffee, was served to all
those who applied. About 1,500 tons of provisions were being moved
daily from the water front.

The food supply committee had fifty-two food depots in operation.
Plain food of every description was plentiful.

The troops who dispensed the food played no favorites. Sometimes it
took two or three hours to get through the lines, and with three meals
a day a man living in the parks passed a good part of his time
standing for his food.

The Red Cross saw that weak women and children were provided for
without waiting in line. Even the people living in houses had to take
their chances with the rest of the crowd in the parks near by.

Fully 30,000 refugees were fed by the government at the Presidio and
North beach. Provisions were bountifully supplied to all who made
application, and there was no suffering from hunger. Over 10,000 tents
were given and the authorities distributed them as long as the supply

Barracks were erected in Golden Gate Park to accommodate 15,000
persons. The buildings contained thirty rooms, in two room apartments,
with kitchen arranged so as to suit a family or be divided for the use
of single men.

By great luck a lot of lumber yards along the water front escaped.
Their stock was appropriated and used for barracks. Two or three
lumber schooners arriving from the northern forest country were seized
and the stocks used for the same purpose.

Further, the Red Cross, with the approval of Funston, went through
the standing residence district and made every householder give over
his spare room to refugees. Here, generosity was its own reward. Those
residents of the western addition who took in burned out friends or
chance acquaintances on the first day had a chance to pick their
company. Those who were selfish about it had to take whomsoever the
Red Cross sent, even Chinese and new arrivals from Hungary.

The Red Cross people enjoyed the grim joke of this. They trotted ten
refugees up to the door of a Pacific Heights residence. The woman of
the house came to the door. The sergeant in charge made brief

"Heavens," she said, looking them over. "You have brought me two of my
discharged cooks."

"See that the guests are quartered in the parlor," said the sergeant
briefly to his high private.

What with tents, barracks, the exodus to other parts of California,
the plan of concentration in the standing houses of the western
addition, there was shelter for everyone.

The water supply improved every day. Nearly everywhere the order to
boil drinking water was enforced.

All vacant houses in the unburned district were seized. Many vacant
flats were taken where the homeless are housed and the sick found good
accommodations. Churches, and other buildings, including schoolhouses,
were turned into living rooms for the homeless.

In some of the provisional camps established for refugees near the
foot of Van Ness avenue and near Fort Mason it was difficult to
distinguish men from women. The supply of women's clothing had been
exhausted, and many women could be seen dressed in ordinary soft
shirts and overalls. In that garb they walked about their tents

It was no time for false modesty and those who were able to make
themselves comfortable in any sort of clothing were indeed fortunate.

Within a week conditions had improved so rapidly that there was
enough water in the mains to justify the removal of the restrictions
on washing. Up to that time the only way to get a bath was to dip into
the bay. Lights, only candles, of course, were allowed up to 10 p. m.

An idea of the Titanic task of feeding the refugees may be gained from
the figures of the number of hungry people fed in one day. Throughout
the city rations for 349,440 persons were distributed. At one point
provisions were given out to 672 people in an hour for ten hours.

Two thousand persons were fed daily at St. Mary's cathedral on Van
Ness avenue, a relief station organized by the Rev. Father Hannigan
and headed by him as chairman of the committee. This was perhaps the
best organized and most systematically conducted private station in
the city. The committee has a completed directory of the fifty square
blocks in the district, and so perfect was the system that there is no
duplicating and wrangling. Nine substations gave out orders, and it
was arranged for those stations to give out food also. Fourteen
members of the clergy were in charge of the various branches of the

The emergency hospitals were well organized under direction of army
medical officers, and there were plenty of doctors and nurses after
the second day.

The only complaint that really existed at that time was the lack of
bedding. Though the army and navy were called upon for blankets,
quilts, and the like, the supply furnished by those departments was
not enough to relieve immediate needs.

Only 30 patients were quartered in the territory that comprised the
park emergency hospital at the end of the first week. Considering that
over 500 injured people received attention at the park during that
time the record was remarkable.

More than 100 physicians and attendants were serving in the park
within forty-eight hours after the first shock.

Among the many pathetic scenes connected with the work of relief were
others that illustrated the saving sense of humor which keeps people
from going insane in times of great calamity and mental stress.

In the vestibule of a church they were giving away clothes. One
shivering woman was being fitted out. "Here, dear," said the woman in
charge, "here is a nice, good warm waist." "Oh, I couldn't wear it,"
she answered. "You know, I'm in mourning."

Another girl near by said: "Yes, please, I want a waist. I want pink
and white, you know; they're my favorite colors."

Quite suddenly the smile died on our lips. A little mother came up. "I
want clothes for my baby; it's cold," she said.

They took the baby from her, and a man near by said to another: "The
child is dead."

We went down to Broadway to look for friends. Some people were so
dazed they would make no effort to reach the homes of their friends.
On the corner was a dapper youth whom we have long known.

A helpful feature of the relief work was the establishment by the
Southern Pacific company of a chain of information kept by bureaus,
which was served by relays of pony riders carrying the latest
bulletins and instructions relative to transportation facilities,
provided to relieve the congestion in San Francisco.

A committee sent by the Japanese consul, representing the Japanese
relief society, cared for many of the stricken Japanese who still
remain in the city. They rendered assistance to white people wherever
required. They wired to every large city on the coast asking for
supplies to be sent by the Japanese.

It was the desire of President Roosevelt that the work of the Red
Cross in alleviating the distress in San Francisco should be done
wholly without regard to the person and just as much for the Chinese
as for any others.

[Illustration: Copyright by R. L. Forrest 1906.


  These people sought a safe place and are watching their houses and
  the city burning. Many of them carried bedding, pictures, relics,
  etc., with them--all they could carry and get to a safe place with
  their lives.]




    =United States Troops at the Presidio and Fort Mason
    Under Command of General Funston Bring Order Out of
    Chaos and Save City from Pestilence--San Francisco
    Said "Thank God for the Boys in Blue"--Stricken City
    Patrolled by Soldiers.=

"Thank god for the Boys in Blue!" was the ardent and praiseful
exclamation of the people of San Francisco during and after the
terrible days that rent by shock and consumed by fire their beautiful
city. And as their courage and devotion to save and protect, and their
tenderness towards the dying and the dead became known the entire
country re-echoed the tribute. For it was the soldiers of Uncle Sam,
untiring and unafraid amidst horrors and dangers seen and unseen, that
stood between half-crazed refugees from the quake and the fire and
downright starvation and anarchy.

When the catastrophe occurred Major General A. W. Greely, in command
of the military department of the Pacific, was on his way east to
attend the marriage of his daughter, and so the command of the troops
and of the department devolved on Brigadier General Frederick Funston;
and as on previous occasions when pluck and wise decision were
required he showed himself equal to the emergency. The first thing
that was done was to divide that portion of the city where order and
protection were most needed into six districts, four of them being
guarded by the military, one by the marine and one by the navy. Other
portions of the city were patrolled by the National Guard and by the
city's police force. Because of these arrangements there was
thereafter but little trouble, and practically no more looting.
During the fire General Funston established his headquarters at Fort
Mason on the cliffs of Black Point, and at once it became the busiest
and most picturesque spot in San Francisco. There was an awe-inspiring
dignity about the place, with its many guards, military ensemble and
the businesslike movements of officers and men. Few were allowed to
enter within its gates, and the missions of those who did find their
way within were disposed of with that accuracy and dispatch peculiar
to government headquarters. Scores of automobiles rushed in and out of
the gate, and each car contained an armed guardsman in the front seat
furiously blowing a sentry whistle to clear the roadway. At the sound
of that tremolo the crowds scattered as if by magic. San Francisco was
virtually under martial law, and order was wrought from chaos.

After the quake the President and Secretary Taft were chiefly
concerned at first with getting supplies, and that work was performed
with extraordinary expedition and thoroughness. At the same time they
were rushing troops, marines, and sailors to guard the devastated

The marvelous work done by the soldiers, from General Funston down to
the newest recruit, won the admiration and congratulations of the
entire country. The sentiment everywhere was and is that the army has
demonstrated its splendid capacity not only to preserve peace in the
face of armed resistance, but to take charge of affairs in a stricken
city at a time when intelligent discipline was more needed than
everything else.

Secretary Taft expressed the belief that congress would have to give
him absolution for the violence he had done the constitution in those
terrible days. He ordered General Funston to take complete command of
the city, to put martial law into effect, and to enforce sanitary
regulations without regard to the wishes of the people.

The war department had been morally responsible for the unhesitating
way in which the troops shot down looters and the people who refused
to understand that great situations must be controlled without regard
to law.

It was the soldiers apparently who brought order out of chaos. They
headed the unfortunate refugees farther and farther on ahead of the
flames, until finally they had located the vast homeless mob in the
Presidio, in the Golden Gate Park, and in other wide expanses. General
Funston had not exceeded his orders. He was given full discretion to
employ his forces as he saw fit. He turned loose the soldiers under
him with general instructions to act as their own good sense dictated,
and it is to the eternal credit of the noncommissioned officers and
the privates that every report sent to the war department and all the
descriptions in the press reports indicated that the army had saved
the situation in San Francisco.

When a sturdy sergeant brought down the butt of his musket on the
counter of a bake shop where they were beginning to sell bread at 75
cents a loaf, and announced that bread thereafter in that concern
would be sold at 10 cents a loaf or there would be one less baker in
the world, he was guilty of an act which in any other time might have
landed him in prison.

If he is punished for it now, it will only be after the Secretary of
War and the President are impeached, because he was only obeying the
spirit if not the letter of their instructions to General Funston.

Soldiers guarded the water wagons, which were driven about the
streets, and this show of force was necessary, so that the scanty
supplies might be distributed with even-handed justice. In the same
way, when General Funston issued orders as the result of which the
soldiers compelled citizens to dig graves for the temporary interment
of the dead, he violated the law most flagrantly, but he acted as the
emergency demanded, and the incident contributed with other things to
make the army organization of the United States a little bit the most
popular thing in the country in these days.

When the army was reduced at the close of the Philippine
insurrection, the machinery was left intact. In this way, although the
quartermasters' stores in San Francisco were wiped out of existence,
it was possible to hurry supplies to San Francisco. They began
arriving there promptly and the danger of famine was averted.

It is the purpose of the war department to continue practical martial
law in San Francisco.

It is believed the greatest work of the soldiers, in which term of
course are to be included the marines and sailors as well, was in the
prevention of pestilence. Practically all of the house to house sewage
system of San Francisco had been destroyed. An army of two or three
hundred thousand men encamped in the suburbs of a great city would
ordinarily die like flies unless it provided itself with proper
facilities for the removal of garbage and the general sanitary
cleansing of the immense camp. Even with trained soldiers under strict
discipline it was an extremely difficult thing to enforce sanitary

Immense supplies of medical necessities already had been forwarded
from the bureau at St. Louis, and General Funston organized at once a
series of camps on military lines. The refugees were compelled to live
up to sanitary rules whether they liked it or not. Those who refused
felt the pick of a bayonet.

Furthermore, out of the tens of thousands of homeless people the
soldiers forced as many as were needed to go to work for the common
good, putting up shelters, erecting tents, devising store-houses, and,
above all, creating the necessary sanitary appliances and safeguards
to prevent the outbreak of pestilence.

It required the utmost vigilance on the part of the army officers and
the most constant attention by the medical corps to prevent an
outbreak of typhoid, dysentery, and the ordinary train of nearly fatal
diseases which are common to large military camps, and which are
almost inevitable when dealing with an unorganized and unintelligent

Efforts were made to compel every man, woman, and child to obey
constantly the strict sanitary regulations which the army provides for
its own protection.

Every medical officer and every man in the hospital corps within a
wide range of San Francisco had been ordered to report at once for
duty under General Funston. With the flames practically under control
and with millions of army rations on the grounds or actually in sight
of the people, the efforts of the War Department became directed to
the preservation of health and in a secondary degree to the location
and registration of the dead, the wounded, and the saved.

Following close upon the heels of the rations and the tents there came
tons upon tons of disinfectants unloaded at Oakland and every possible
device was being employed by the medical bureau to make as good a
record in this regard as the quartermaster and commissary departments
had already produced in supplying food and shelter.

Meanwhile the ever-ready American private soldier and his splendid
executive officer, the American noncom., were really the rulers at San
Francisco. They defied the law every minute, but evidently they acted
with characteristic good sense. The price of bread was kept down, the
mob was being systematized and taught to respect authority, and enough
thieves had summarily been shot in San Francisco to render looting a
dangerous and an unprofitable avocation.

People who went through the great fire at Chicago in 1871 remember
that when Gen. Sheridan brought in regular soldiers he established
order within a brief period of time, and there was a feeling of relief
when men under his command began to blow up houses in the vicinity of
Wabash avenue and Congress street.

The laws of the United States had been violated every minute. Supplies
were purchased in the open market, government property had been handed
out without receipts to anybody who seemed to have authority to
receive it, and the distribution of supplies had been wholly free
from the slightest suspicion of red tape.

In spite of these facts, the President and Secretary Taft felt proud
of the fact that the army organization had proved itself able to
withstand the sudden strain put upon it, while the enlisted man showed
his ability to act at a distance from his commissioned officer with an
intelligence and an initiative which would be impossible in the
European armies.

As during the days of disaster and terror stricken San Francisco was
absolutely under the control of General Funston, a few facts about his
career will be appropriate here. Red-headed, red-blooded; a pygmy in
stature, a giant in experience; true son of Romany in peace and of
Erin in war--the capture of Aguinaldo in the wilds of North Luzon and
his control of affairs in San Francisco fairly top off the adventurous
career of Frederick Funston, fighter.

General Funston was born in Ohio, but when he was two years old his
family moved to Kansas. After passing through the high school he
entered the University of Kansas. His father had been a congressman
for a number of years. His ambition was to enter West Point, but he
failed to pass its examination. He later broke into the newspaper
business, but his career in that field was short. In 1900 his father
secured him an appointment as botanist in the Department of
Agriculture. After a trip to Montana and the Dakotas he was attached
to the party which made the first Government survey of Death Valley,
the famous California death-trap. Seven months were spent in this
work, and Funston is the only man of the party alive and sane today.

In 1891-92 the Government sent him to make a botanical survey of
certain parts of the Alaskan coast, and in 1893 he returned to the
Arctic and made a similar survey of the Yukon. He negotiated Chilkoot
Pass, then an untrodden pathway. After trying to start a coffee
plantation in Central America and to fill a job with the Santa Fe
railroad, the torch of the Cuban revolution became a beacon to his
adventurous spirit. He joined a filibustering party which the
Dauntless landed at Camaguay in August, 1896. He was assigned by
Garcia to the artillery arm of the insurgent service.

Twenty-three battles in Cuba was his record with his guns. Once he was
captured and sentenced to death, but escaped. Later still a
steel-tipped Mauser bullet pierced his lungs. This healed, but the
fever struck him down, and compelled his return to the United States.
As he was preparing to return to Cuba the Maine was blown up and in
his certainty that war with Spain would result he awaited the issue.
Governor Leedy, of Kansas, telegraphed for him, and he became Colonel
of the Twentieth Kansas. He went with General Miles to Cuba in June,
1898, and sailed with his regiment for Manila in October. Three weeks
before he sailed Colonel Funston met Miss Ella Blankhart of Oakland.
As impetuous in love as in war he wooed and won her, the marriage
taking place the day before the transport sailed.

Of his daring risks and feats in the Philippines and of his capture of
Aguinaldo the general public is so familiar as not to need
recapitulation here. Of his qualities as a fighting man pure and
simple, there can be no two opinions. Says General Harrison G. Otis:
"Funston is the greatest daredevil in the army, and would rather fight
than eat. I never saw a man who enjoyed fighting so much." Another
friend of his once said that Funston was a sixteenth-century hero,
born four hundred years or so too late, who had ever since been
seeking to remedy the chronological error of his birth.



    =Scenes of Destitution in the Parks Where the Homeless
    Were Gathered--Rich and Poor Share Food and Bed
    Alike--All Distinctions of Wealth and Social Position
    Wiped Out by the Great Calamity.=

Next to viewing the many square miles of ruins that once made San
Francisco a city, no better realization of the ruin can be gained than
from the refugee camps located in the districts which were untouched
by the flames. Golden Gate park was the mecca of the destitute. This
immense playground of the municipality was converted into a vast
mushroom city that bore striking resemblance to the fleeting towns
located on the border of a government reservation about to be opened
to public settlement.

The common destitution and suffering wiped out all social, financial
and racial distinctions. The man who before the fire had been a
prosperous merchant occupied with his family a little plot of ground
that adjoined the open-air home of a laborer. The white man of
California forgot his antipathy to the Asiatic race and maintained
friendly relations with his new Chinese and Japanese neighbors.

The society belle of the night before the fire, a butterfly of fashion
at the grand opera performance, assisted some factory girl in the
preparation of humble daily meals. Money had little value. The family
who had foresight to lay in the largest stock of foodstuffs on the
first day of the disaster was rated highest in the scale of wealth.

A few of the families who could secure willing expressmen possessed
cooking stoves, but over 95 per cent of the refugees had to do their
cooking on little camp fires made of brick or stone. Kitchen utensils
that a week before would have been regarded with contempt were
articles of high value.

Many of the homeless people were in possession of comfortable clothing
and bed covering. The grass was their bed and their daily clothing
their only protection against the penetrating fog of the ocean or the
chilling dew of the morning. Fresh meat disappeared the first day of
the catastrophe and canned foods and breadstuffs were the only
victuals in evidence.

Not alone were the parks the places of refuge. Every large vacant lot
in the safe zone was preempted and even the cemeteries were crowded.

A well-known young lady of social position when asked where she had
spent the night replied: "On a grave."

Throughout the entire western portion of the peninsular county of San
Francisco these camps were located.

Major McKeever of the United States Army was appointed commandant of
the camps and, with his staff of assistants, brought system and order
out of the chaotic situation. His first thought was to supply food and
water and then to arrange sanitary measures. The throngs of people who
crowded elbow to elbow in the open lots and fields without
conveniences that are naturally demanded were constantly threatened
with an epidemic of disease.

Good order and fellowship prevailed in these impromptu settlements and
the common ruin and poverty made all of the unfortunates akin.

In buildings close to the camps the police stored available foodstuffs
and bed clothing for convenient delivery. No distinctions were drawn
and but few favors shown in the distribution of supplies.

Although efforts of the various relief committees were bent to appease
the gnawing hunger of the destitute thousands--efforts that were in a
large measure entirely successful--there were many persons without
sufficient food or entirely without it.

The government officials took charge of every grocery store in that
part of the city still standing and gave out foodstuffs to all those
who were hungry. Broad lines were established at Fillmore and Turk
streets, at Golden Gate park and at the Presidio and every person who
stood in line was given a whole loaf. The line at Fillmore and Turk
streets was four blocks long all one afternoon and those at the parks
were even longer. A large supply of milk was received from Oakland in
the morning and this was distributed to women and children whenever
they were found in need. A great deal of this milk was used for the
exhausted women.

The breadlines at the parks furnished striking instances of the
absolute patience and fortitude that has marked the behavior of the
people throughout their trying experience. There were no disorders
when the hungry thousands were told to form a line and receive their
bread and canned goods. All were content to wait their turn.
Silk-hatted men followed good naturedly behind Chinese and took their
loaves from the same hand.

Soup kitchens were established in the streets of the unburned section,
no fires whatever being allowed indoors, and many hungry persons were
fed by these individual efforts.

At the ferry station there were some pathetic scenes among the hungry
people. When the boat came in from Stockton with tons of supplies a
number of small children were the first to spy a large box of
sandwiches with cries of delight. They made a rush for the food,
seized as much as they could hold and rushed to their mothers with
shouts of "Oh, mamma, mamma, look at the sandwiches!"

Seated around the ferry buildings sat hundreds of people sucking
canned fruits from the tins. Some were drinking condensed cream and
some were lucky enough to have sardines or cheese. At several places
along Market street scores of men were digging with their hands among
the still smoking debris of some large grocery house for canned goods.
When they secured it, which they did without molestation from
anybody, they broke the tins and drank the contents.

At Filbert and Van Ness avenue at 6 o'clock at night a wagon of
supplies conveyed by soldiers was besieged by a crowd of hungry
people. They appealed to the soldiers for food and their appeals were
quickly heeded. Seizing an ax a soldier smashed the boxes and tossed
the supplies to the crowd, which took time to cheer lustily.

Owing to the energetic efforts of General Funston and the officials of
the Spring 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.

The work of relief was started early on the second day of the
disaster. A big bakery in the saved district started its fires and
50,000 loaves were baked before night. The police and military were
present in force and each person was allowed only one loaf.

The destitution and suffering were indescribable. Women and children
who had comfortable, happy homes a few days before slept--if sleep
came at all--on hay on the wharves, on the sand lots near North beach,
some of them under the little tents made of sheeting which poorly
protected them from the chilling ocean winds. The people in the parks
were better provided in the matter of shelter, for they left their
homes better prepared.

Instructions were issued by Mayor Schmitz to break open every store
containing provisions and to distribute them to the thousands under
police supervision.

At one time bread sold as high as $1 a loaf and water at fifty cents a
glass, but the authorities at once put a stop to the extortion.

Among the many pathetic incidents of the fire in San Francisco was
that of a woman who sat at the foot of Van Ness avenue on the hot
sands on the hillside overlooking the bay east of Fort Mason with four
little children, the youngest a girl of three, the eldest a boy of

They were destitute of water, food and money. The woman had fled with
her children from a home in flames in the Mission street district and
tramped to the bay in the hope of sighting the ship, which she said
was about due, of which her husband was the captain.

"He would know me anywhere," she said. And she would not move,
although a young fellow gallantly offered his tent back on a vacant
lot in which to shelter her children.

Among the refugees who found themselves stranded were John Singleton,
a Los Angeles millionaire, his wife and her sister. The Singletons
were staying at the Palace Hotel when the earthquake shock occurred on
Wednesday morning.

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 the first
night. On the following 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."

Mr. Singleton, like thousands of other people, found himself without
funds and he had difficulty in securing cash until he met some one who
knew him.

To allay the fears of the refugees in the various camps Mayor Schmitz
issued the following proclamation which citizens were instructed to

"Do not be afraid of famine. There will be abundance of food
supplied. Do not use any water except for drinking and cooking
purposes. Do not light fires in houses, stoves or fireplaces. Do not
use any house closets under any circumstances, but dig earth closets
in yards or vacant lots, using if possible chloride of lime or some
other disinfectant. This is of the greatest importance, as the water
supply is only sufficient for drinking and cooking. Do not allow any
garbage to remain on the premises; bury it and cover immediately.
Pestilence can only be avoided by complying with these regulations.

"You are particularly requested not to enter any business house or
dwelling except your own, as you may be mistaken for one of the
looters and shot on sight, as the orders are not to arrest but shoot
down any one caught stealing."

The refugees numbered all told about 300,000. At least 75,000 of them
made their way to Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Benicia and neighboring
cities while many more fortunate and prosperous succeeded in reaching
Los Angeles.

The work of caring for the homeless in the refugee camps was
splendidly managed under the direction of the citizens' committee, the
military authorities and the Red Cross.

The people were fed in a thoroughly businesslike and systematic
manner. From the water front, where the boatloads of provisions
docked, there was an endless procession of carts and drays carrying
food to the scores of substations established throughout the city and
the parks. At these stations food and drink, comprising bread,
prepared meats and canned goods, milk and a limited amount of hot
coffee, were served to all those who applied. About 1,500 tons of
provisions were moved daily from the water front.

Large supplies of blankets, tentings and other material to provide
coverings for those who were scantily supplied theretofore reached the
supply stations rapidly. Barracks were erected at several points and
in those many people have found comfort and shelter against the
inclemencies of the weather.

The situation in the congested districts such as Golden Gate Park and
the various public squares throughout the city, was considerably
relieved by the departure of many people for points on the other side
of the bay, as soon as access was had to the ferry building. The
exodus continued daily from the time the fire broke out until every
one who wished to get away had departed.

The greatest hardship experienced by the homeless refugees was on the
first Sunday night following the fire.

From midnight Sunday until 3 o'clock Monday morning a drenching rain
fell at intervals, while a high wind added a melancholy accompaniment,
whistling and sighing about the ruins of the buildings in the burned
district. Five days before when the fire catastrophe was in its
infancy this downpour would have been regarded as a mercy and a

When it came it could be regarded in no other light than as an
additional calamity. It meant indescribable suffering to the tens of
thousands of people camped upon the naked hills and in the parks and
open places of the city.

Few of them were provided with water-proof covering. For the most part
their only protection from the wet was a thin covering of sheeting
tacked upon improvised tent-poles. Through this the water poured as
through a sieve, wetting the bedding and soaking the ground upon which
they lay.

When it is understood that thousands upon thousands of delicately
nurtured women and infants in arms and old and feeble people were in
this plight nothing need be added to describe the misery of their

What could be done was done by the guards in charge of the camps to
relieve the distress. Whenever covering could be had for the women and
children it was taken advantage of. They were housed in the chill and
cheerless churches, garages and barns, and those who had been
fortunate enough to save their homes were called upon to take care of
these unfortunates. With few exceptions these people responded readily
to the new call made upon them and where they did not the butt ends
of Krag rifles quickly forced a way through inhospitable doors.

Of individual instances of suffering the whole number is legion, but
one will tell the story of them all.

About 4 o'clock, when the rain had been falling heavily for an hour, a
middle-aged man, white-faced in his distress and fatigue, appeared at
the headquarters of the general committee. He had walked two miles
from his camping place in the park to make an appeal for his suffering
wife and little ones. As he told of their distress the tears welled up
in his eyes and coursed down his cheeks.

They were, he said, without covering other than a sheeting overhead
and were lying on the naked ground and their bodies protected only by
a quilt and blanket, which of his household bedding were all he had
managed to save. These had quickly been soaked, and while unwilling to
complain on his own account he had been unable to listen to the wails
of his little ones and had tramped all the way from his camping place
to the committee headquarters in the forlorn hope that there he might
find some means of getting his family under shelter.

The condition of the 5,000 people or more camped in Jefferson Square
Park was something terrible. Not more than 5 per cent had even an army
tent and the makeshifts were constructed of carpets, bed sheets and
every imaginable substance. They were totally inadequate to keep out
the heavy rain.

The 400 soldiers of the Fifth and Sixth California National Guard were

Glenn A. Durston of the Spanish War Veteran's relief committee, had
charge of the relief work.

The spirit and courage shown by the sufferers in the face of their
misfortunes was wonderful. An aged, crippled woman lying on the dirt
floor of patchwork, bed sheets, carpets and tin roofing made a remark
which was a sample.

"I am the widow of a union soldier," she said. "The sufferings
related by my husband at Vicksburg were as nothing compared to mine. I
am very comfortable, thank you."

Many temporary emergency hospitals were established in and near the
refugee camps. The St. Paul Lutheran church near Jefferson square was
one, but the big hospital at the Presidio, the military headquarters
of the government, provided for the greater number of cases.

A temporary detention hospital was also established in the basement of
the Sacred Heart school, conducted by the Dominican Sisters at the
corner of Fillmore and Hayes streets, and the first commitment since
the earthquake was made on the Sunday following the fire. The sisters
of the Sacred Heart kindly turned over a part of the already crowded
quarters to the insanity commissioners, and a number of patients made
insane by the fire were cared for there.

At the general hospital the wards were soon full of patients, but few
were suffering from severe types of sickness. There were many cases of
tonsilitis, colds and such ills.

Within a week after the fire thousands of people left the refugee
camps and found homes with friends in nearby places. One week after
the disaster the authorities estimated that the number of campers on
the grounds had been reduced to less than 8,000, where over 30,000
people had camped.

Temporary structures were erected in Golden Gate Park for the housing
of 40,000 people, who had been sleeping out of doors for nearly a week
and they were moved into comfortable quarters. About the same time a
supply of blankets and bedding was received.

Within a week from the beginning of the disaster the refuge camps were
converted into comfortable places of residence, with adequate
sanitation, and the homeless at least had temporary homes. All this
was accomplished with a minimum of suffering and illness that speaks
volumes for the courage, energy and common sense of the American


  This famous hotel was partly wrecked by the earthquake.]

[Illustration: =POSTOFFICE, SAN JOSE.=

  This building faces a beautiful public square and was badly damaged.]



    =San Jose, the Prettiest Place in the State, Wrecked
    by Quake--State Insane Asylum Collapsed and Buried Many
    Patients Beneath the Crumbled Walls--Enormous Damage
    at Santa Rosa.=

Outside of San Francisco the earthquake did immense damage for fifty
miles north and south of the Golden Gate City. San Jose, the prettiest
city in California, sustained the severest shock, which killed a score
of people and left the business section a pile of ruins. The loss in
this one city alone amounted to $5,000,000.

The State Insane Asylum at Agnews near San Jose collapsed and buried
upwards of 100 patients beneath its walls.

Among the buildings wrecked in San Jose are St. Patrick's church, the
First Presbyterian church, the Centella Methodist Episcopal church,
the Central Christian and South Methodist churches.

Every building on the west side of First street from St. James park to
San Fernando street either went down, toppling or was badly cracked.
The Auzerias building, Elks club, Unique theater and many other
buildings on Santa Clara street went down to the ground.

On Second street the six-story Dougherty building and several
adjoining blocks were destroyed by fire. A new high school in Normal
Park was a complete wreck.

The Nevada & Porter building on Second street, the Rucker building on
Third and Santa Clara streets were also ruined.

The annex to the Vendome Hotel was completely wrecked, and one man was
killed therein.

Sheriff William White, of Los Angeles, who was in San Jose at the
time attending a convention, thus describes the scenes following the

"San Jose, which was the prettiest city in California, is the
worst-looking wreck I ever saw. When I left there nineteen dead bodies
had been recovered and there was a possibility that others would be
found. I reached Agnews Asylum a few hours later in an automobile and
was one of the first on the spot. There I helped to carry out sixty
corpses. At noon, when I arrived at San Jose, it was believed that
fully 100 bodies were still in the ruins.

"The shock came to San Jose exactly at 5:12:45, according to the clock
in the St. James Hotel, which was stopped. Supreme Court Clerk Jordan,
my young nephew; Walter Jordan and myself occupied apartments on the
fourth floor of the St. James Hotel. The shock awoke the three of us,
but only seemed to disturb my nephew, who commenced calling out.

"There was not a brick or stone building of two stories or over in San
Jose that was not leveled to the ground or so badly damaged it will
have to be torn down. Some fires started after the quake, but the fire
department soon had them under control.

"I secured an automobile at 7 o'clock and left for Agnew, where the
insane asylum was located, with two or three of the visiting sheriffs.
The sight there was awful. The walls were standing, but the floors had
all fallen in.

"Scores of insane persons were running about in the grounds, unwatched
and uncared for. I helped to take out the body of Dr. Kelly, the
assistant superintendent of the asylum, who had been instantly killed.
A nurse who was also taken out of the ruins by me died a little later.

"After getting away from San Jose I saw evidences of the earthquake at
Niles and even as far as Livermore in the shape of fallen chimneys and
broken glass."

The main building of the State Hospital collapsed, pinning many of the
patients under fallen walls and debris. The padded cells had to be
broken open and more dangerous patients were tied to trees out on the
lawn in lieu of a safer place. The doctors and nurses stuck heroically
to their posts and 100 students from Santa Clara College went over in
a body and assisted in succoring the wounded.

State Senator Cornelius Pendleton, who escaped the earthquake shock at
San Jose, thus narrated his experiences:

"We were all at the Vendome Hotel. The shock of the earthquake was so
severe the floors and walls of the building collapsed at once and
those of us who escaped made our way as best we could out of the
ruins. On the side of the hotel where my room was there was a large
tree. The side wall of my room fell against this tree, which also
sustained that portion of the roof, preventing it from falling in on

"My room was on the second floor, but when I picked myself up I was in
the basement of the building. I crawled up and out over the debris and
escaped through a window on a level with the ground. After getting out
I found this was one of the third story windows. Those of us who were
uninjured at once set about assisting the less fortunate. I saw one
dead woman in the hotel. We carried her out. The remainder of the dead
were in various parts of the town. The residence district was not
badly damaged. Martial law had been declared in the city when we left.

"Among the large buildings that were totally demolished were the Hall
of Justice, the First Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Cathedral, the
Hale Block, and the Vendome Hotel. Fire broke out following the
earthquake in several quarters, but fortunately the water mains were
uninjured and the spread of the flames was checked."

At Salinas the immense plant of the Spreckels Sugar refinery was
completely destroyed, and the loss of property aggregated $2,000,000.

The estimated loss of life and damage in California cities outside of
San Francisco is as follows:

Oakland, $500,000, 5 lives; Alameda, $400,000; San Jose, $5,000,000,
19 lives; Agnew (state hospital for insane), $400,000, 170 lives; Palo
Alto (Stanford University), $3,000,000, 2 lives; Napa, $250,000;
Salinas, $2,000,000; Hollister, $100,000, 1 life; Vallejo, $40,000;
Sacramento, $25,000; Redwood City, $30,000; Suisun, $50,000; Santa
Rosa, $800,000, 40 lives; Watsonville, $70,000; Monterey, $25,000, 8
lives; Loma Prieta, 10 lives; Stockton, $40,000; Brawley, $100,000;
Santa Cruz, $200,000; Gilroy, $500,000; Healdsburg, $25,000;
Cloverdale, $15,000; Geyserville, $12,000; Hopland, $10,000; Ukiah,
$50,000; Alviso, $20,000; Niles, $10,000; Hinckley Creek, $10,000, 9
lives; Deer Creek Mill, $10,000, 2 lives; Santa Clara, $500,000;
Pacific Grove, $50,000; Wrights, $75,000; Delmonte, $25,000, 2 lives.

The beautiful city of Santa Rosa was a terrible sufferer from the
quake, both in loss of life and property:

The entire business section was left in ruins and practically every
residence in the town was more or less damaged, fifteen or twenty
being badly wrecked. The damage to residences was caused principally
by the sinking of the foundations, which let many structures down on
to the ground.

The brick and stone business blocks, together with the public
buildings, were all thrown flat. The courthouse, Hall of Records, the
Occidental and Santa Rosa hotels, the Athenaeum theater, the new
Masonic Temple, Odd Fellows' block, all the banks--everything--went,
and in all the city not one brick or stone building was left standing
except the California Northwestern depot.

It was almost impossible for an outsider to realize the situation as
it actually existed there. No such complete destruction of a city's
business interests ever before resulted from an earthquake in America.
The very completeness of the devastation was really the redeeming
feature, though, for it put all upon exactly the same basis,
commercially speaking. Bankers and millionaires went about with only
the few dollars they happened to have in their pockets when the crash
came, and were little better off than the laborers who were digging
through the debris. Money had practically no value, for there was no
place to spend it, and this phase of the situation presented its own
remedy. Almost every one slept out of doors, being afraid to enter
their homes except for a short while at a time until repairs were

There were plenty of provisions. Some were supplied by other towns and
much was brought in from the surrounding country. Two entire blocks of
buildings escaped being swept by the flames, which immediately broke
out in a dozen places at once as soon as the shock was over and from
the tangled ruins of those buildings complete stocks of groceries and
clothing were dug out and added to the common store. Then before the
fire gained headway several grocery stores were emptied of their
contents in anticipation of what might follow.

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

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

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

"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

"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

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

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



    =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

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

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

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

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

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--3¼ 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

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


  A view of a Baptist Church on St. Pablo Avenue, Oakland.]


  Looking north from Market Street.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  The clock in tower stopped at 5:15.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  A view in Golden Gate Park.]

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.



    =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

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.



    =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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

"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."

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  Walls shaken down by the earthquake.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  The electric lighting company.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  A part of the steeple shaken out by the earthquake.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  A view of the wreck which tells its own story.]

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

"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

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.



    =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

"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

"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

"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

"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.

[Illustration: Copyright by R. L. Forrest 1906.


  It was estimated that as many as 10,000 Chinese were in this park at
  the time this photograph was taken.]


  A view of the great fissures in earth caused by earthquake. One story
  of the flat building on corner sunk into the ground. The water main
  was broken, which cut off the water supply. No water to fight the
  fire or quench the thirst.]

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

"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

"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.

"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."



    =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

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.



    =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

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

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

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

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.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  San Francisco Call Register Bureau. Looking for names on cards.]

[Illustration: Copyright 1906 by Tom M. Phillips.


  All that was left of a fine residence.]

[Illustration: =TENTING IN THE SQUARE.=]

[Illustration: =ALAMEDA PARK.=]

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

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

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."



    =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

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 Ætna, 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

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

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

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

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

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 Ætna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

[Illustration: =MISSION DOLORES.=

  This is the oldest building in San Francisco. It was founded October
  8, 1776.

  Noted as a mission church.]


[Illustration: =WRECKED BUILDINGS.=]



    =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

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

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

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




    =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

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

"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 Ætna 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,

"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

"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.

"The common belief is that water enters the rocks during the
crystallization period, and that these rocks, through the natural
action of rivers and streams, become deposited in the bottom of the
ocean. Here they lie for many ages, becoming buried deeper and deeper
under masses of like sediment, which are constantly being washed down
upon them from above. This process is called the blanketing process.

"When the first layer has reached a depth of a few thousand feet the
rocks which contain the water of crystallization are subjected to a
terrific heat. This heat generates steam, which is held in a state of
frightful tension in its rocky prison.

"It is at these moments that volcanic eruptions occur. They result
from wrinkling in the outer crust of the earth's surface--wrinklings
caused by the constant shrinking of the earth itself and by the
contraction of the outer surface as it settles on the plastic center
underneath. Fissures are caused by these foldings, and as these
fissures reach down into the earth the pressure is removed from the
rocks and the compressed steam in them and it explodes with tremendous

"The rocks containing the water are blown into dust, which sometimes
is carried so high as to escape the power of the earth's attraction
and float by itself through space. After the explosions have occurred
lava pours forth. This is merely melted rock which overflows like
water from a boiling kettle. But the explosion always precedes the
flow, and one will notice that there is always an outpouring of dust
before the lava comes."

Professor W. J. McGee, of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington,
says: "It may be that a violent earthquake tremor came after the
volcanic eruption, but it does not necessarily follow that the two
travel together. Oftentimes we hear of earth tremors with no apparent
accompaniment. This was true of the Charleston earthquake in 1886.
Earthquakes are caused by mysterious disturbances in the interior of
the earth. The most commonly accepted belief is that massive rock beds
away down in the earth, at a depth of twelve miles or more, become
disturbed from one cause or another, with the result that the
disturbance is felt on the earth's surface, sometimes severely,
sometimes faintly.

"Probably the most violent earthquake in history occurred about ten
years ago at Krakatoa. The explosion could be heard for more than one
thousand miles, and the earth's tremors were felt for thousands of
miles. The air was filled with particles of earth for months
afterward. The air-waves following the explosion are believed to have
passed two and one-half times around the globe. The face of the land
and sea in the vicinity of the eruption was completely changed."

Dr. E. Otis Hovey, professor in the Museum of Natural History, New
York, offers the following explanation of the Martinique disaster:

"A majority of volcanic eruptions are similar in cause and effect to a
boiler explosion. It is now the accepted belief that sudden
introduction of cold water on the great molten mass acts as would the
pouring of water into a red hot boiler. It causes a great volume of
steam, which must have an outlet. You can readily see how water could
get into the crater, located as this one was--on an island, and not
far from the coast. The volcanic chains crossed at that point. Such
crossing would cause a tension of the crust of the earth, which might
cause great fissures. If water were to search out those fissures and
reach the great molten mass below it is not hard to imagine what the
result would be. There are two classes of volcanoes--those which have
explosive eruptions, like Vesuvius and Krakatoa, and this latest one,
and those of no explosive nature, like Mauna Loa and Kilauea, in
Hawaii, which boil up and flow over. It is the explosive eruption
which brings widespread destruction, and it is astonishing to learn of
the tremendous power one of those eruptions unleashes."

Professor John Milne, of London, the highest authority in the world on
volcanic explosions, classifies eruptions into two grades: Those that
build up very slowly. Those that destroy most rapidly.

[Illustration: Copyright 1906, by American-Journal-Examiner. All
rights reserved. Any infractions of this copyright will be prosecuted
to the full extent of the law.


  This photograph shows a crack in the earth in Golden Gate Park, San
  Francisco, caused by the earthquake.]


  This harrowing scene shows the way the dead and injured are frequently
  robbed after a disaster.]

"The latter are the most dangerous to human life and the physical face
of a country. Eruptions that build up mountains are periodical
wellings over of molten lava, comparatively harmless. But in this
building up, which may cover a period of centuries, natural
volcanic vents are closed up and gases and blazing fires accumulate
beneath that must eventually find the air. Sooner or later they must
burst forth, and then the terrific disasters of the second class take
place. It is the same cause that makes a boiler burst."

Professor Milne was asked after Krakatoa's performance:

"Is it likely that there are volcanoes in the world at present that
have been quiet for a long time but will one day or another blow their
heads off?"

"It is almost certain there are."

"Some in Europe?"

"Many in Europe."

"Some in the United States?"


Mount Pelee of Martinique has verified the eminent authority's word.

Professor Angelo Heilprin, of Philadelphia, the eminent geologist and
authority on volcanology, declares there is danger that all the West
Indian reef islands will collapse and sink into the sea from the
effects of the volcanic disturbances now in progress. More than that,
he says, the Nicaraguan canal route is in danger because it is in the
eruption zone.

"In my opinion the volcano eruptions are not the only things to be
feared," he continued. "It is altogether likely that the volcanic
disturbance now going on may result in the collapse of the islands
whose peaks spring into activity. The constant eruptions of rock,
lava, and ashes, you must know, mean that a hole, as it were, is being
made in the bosom of the earth. When this hole reaches a great size,
that which is above will be without support, and then subsidence must
follow. The volcanoes of Martinique and St. Vincent, and of the
neighboring islands of the Caribbean, are situated in a region of
extreme weakness of the earth's crust, which has its parallel in the
Mediterranean basin on the opposite side of the Atlantic. This
American region of weakness extends westward from the Lesser Antilles
across the Gulf of Mexico into Mexico proper, where are located some
of the loftiest volcanoes of the globe, Popocatepetl and Orizaba, both
now in somnolent condition, and including the more westerly volcano of
Colima, which has been almost continuously in eruption for ten years.

"This same region of weakness includes nearly the whole of Central
America. Volcanoes in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala have been
repeatedly active, some almost to the present time, many with
destructive effect, and it should be no surprise to have some of them
burst out with the same vigor and intensity as Mount Pelee or the

The National Geographic Society sent three geographers to make a
special study of the eruptions in Martinique and St. Vincent:
Professor Robert T. Hill of the United States Geological Survey;
Professor Israel C. Russell of Ann Arbor, Mich., and C. E.
Borchgrevink, the noted Antarctic explorer.

Professor Hovey, after a careful examination of the desolated areas in
Martinique and St. Vincent, related important scientific phases of the
great eruptions. Speaking first of the work of his companions and
himself in St. Vincent, he said:

"Collection of data concerning the eruption of La Soufriere was
immediately begun. The history of the eruption is practically that of
the disturbance of 1851. Earthquakes occurred here about a year ago,
and have occurred at intervals at various places in the West Indies
and adjacent regions ever since. At least one resident of
Kingstown--F. W. Griffiths--several months ago predicted that La
Soufriere would soon break out.

"Finally, on the day of the great eruption, a vast column of volcanic
dust, cinders, blocks of lava and asphyxiating gases rose thousands of
feet into the air, spreading in all directions. A large portion of
this, having reached the upper current, was carried eastward. This,
falling, was again divided, and the cinders and deadly gases were
swept by the lower winds back upon the eastward side of the mountain.
The wrecked houses show this, the windows on the side toward the
crater being unaffected, while those on the farther side were wrecked
by the back draught up the mountain.

"There was no wind on the morning of the great outburst, a fact which
facilitated the devastation of the country. The hot, asphyxiating
gases rolled out of the crater, and many were scorched and suffocated.
Hot mud falling from the cloud above stuck to the flesh of the
unfortunate victims, causing bad wounds. Great blocks of stone were
thrown out of the eastern side of the crater, which could be
distinctly seen at a distance of four miles."

Concerning the eruption of Mount Pelee, Mr. Hovey said: "An increase
in the temperature of the lake in the old crater of Pelee was observed
by visiting geologists as much as two years ago, while hot springs had
long been known to exist near the western base of the mountain and
four miles north of St. Pierre. The residents of Martinique, however,
all considered the volcano extinct in spite of the eruption fifty-one
years ago. The ground around the crater of Pelee was reported in 1901
to consist of hot mud, showing that the increase of temperature
observed eighteen months earlier had continued.

"Soon after the middle of April, this year, manifestations of renewed
activity were more pronounced. Ashes began to fall in St. Pierre and
heavy detonations were heard. The houses of the city shook frequently,
suffocating gases filled the air at intervals, and the warning
phenomena increased until they became very alarming.

"The Guerin sugar factory, on Riviere Blanche, was overwhelmed on May
5 by a stream of liquid mud, which rushed down the west slope of the
mountain with fearful rapidity. The pretty lake which occupied the
crater of 1851, on the southwest slope of the cone, about a mile from
the extreme summit and a thousand feet below it, had disappeared, and
a new crater had formed on its site, spreading death and destruction
on all sides. Three days later the eruption took place and devastated
the city of St. Pierre, wiping out the inhabitants and changing a
garden spot to a desert.

"A vast column of steam and ashes rose to a height of four miles above
the sea, as measured by the French artillerymen at Fort de France.
After this eruption the mountain quieted somewhat, but burst forth
again at 5:15 o'clock on the morning of May 20. This explosion was
more violent than that which destroyed St. Pierre.

"On this occasion the volume of steam and ashes rose to a height of
seven miles, according to measurements made by Lieutenant McCormick.
An examination of the stones which fell at Fort de France showed them
to be of a variety of lava called hornblende and andesite. They were
bits of the old lava forming a part of the cone. There was no pumice
shown to me, but the dust and lapilli all seemed to be composed of
comminuted old rock.

"It is evident that the tornado of suffocating gas which wrecked the
buildings asphyxiated the people, then started fire, completing the
ruin. This accords with the statement which has been made that
asphyxiation of the inhabitants preceded the burning of the city. The
gas being sulphureted hydrogen, was ignited by lightning or the fires
in the city. The same tornado drove the ships in the roadstead to the
bottom of the sea or burned them before they could escape.

"Mud was formed in two ways--by the mixture in the atmosphere of dust
and condensed steam and by cloudbursts on the upper dust-covered
slopes of the cone washing down vast quantities of fine light dust. No
flow of lava apparently has attended the eruption as yet, the purely
explosive eruptions thus far bringing no molten matter to the surface.
The great emission of suffocating gas and the streams of mud are among
the new features which Pelee has added to the scientific knowledge of

Professor Hill was the first man who set foot in the area of craters,
fissures, and fumaroles, and, because of his high position as a
scientist, his story was valuable. He reported as follows:

"There were three well marked zones: First, a center of annihilation,
in which all life, vegetable and animal, was utterly destroyed--the
greater northern part of St. Pierre was in this zone; second, a zone
of singeing, blistering flame, which also was fatal to all life,
killing all men and animals, burning the leaves on the trees, and
scorching, but not utterly destroying, the trees themselves; third, a
large outer, nondestructive zone of ashes, wherein some vegetation was

"The focus of annihilation was the new crater midway between the sea
and the peak of Mount Pelee where now exists a new area of active
volcanism, with hundreds of fumaroles or miniature volcanoes. The new
crater is now vomiting black, hot mud, which is falling into the sea.
Both craters, the old and the new, are active.

"The destruction of St. Pierre was due to the new crater. The
explosion had great superficial force, acting in radial directions, as
is evidenced by the dismounting and carrying for yards the guns in the
battery on the hill south of St. Pierre and the statue of the Virgin
in the same locality, and also by the condition of the ruined houses
in St. Pierre. According to the testimony of some persons there was an
accompanying flame. Others think the incandescent cinders and the
force of their ejection were sufficient to cause the destruction. This
must be investigated. I am now following the nature of this."

Professor Hill started on Monday, May 26, to visit the vicinity of
Mount Pelee, and returned to Fort de France Wednesday morning, nearly
exhausted. Professor Hill was near the ruins of St. Pierre on Monday
night during the series of explosions from Mount Pelee, and was able
to describe the volcanic eruption from close observation. Speaking
personally of his expedition he said: "My attempt to examine the
crater of Mount Pelee has been futile. I succeeded, however, in
getting close to Morne Rouge. At seven o'clock on Monday night I
witnessed, from a point near the ruins of St. Pierre, a frightful
explosion from Mount Pelee and noted the accompanying phenomena. While
these eruptions continue, no sane man should attempt to ascend to the
crater of the volcano. Following the salvos of detonations from the
mountain, gigantic mushroom-shaped columns of smoke and cinders
ascended into the clear, starlit sky, and then spread in a vast black
sheet to the south and directly over my head. Through this sheet,
which extended a distance of ten miles from the crater, vivid and
awful lightning-like bolts flashed with alarming frequency. They
followed distinct paths of ignition, but were different from lightning
in that the bolts were horizontal and not perpendicular. This is
indisputable evidence of the explosive oxidation of the gases after
they left the crater. This is a most important observation and
explains in part the awful catastrophe. This phenomenon is entirely
new in volcanic history.

"I took many photographs, but do not hesitate to acknowledge that I
was terrified. But I was not the only person so frightened. Two
newspaper correspondents, who were close to Morne Rouge some hours
before me, became scared, ran three miles down the mountain, and
hastened into Fort de France. The people on the north end of the
island are terrified and are fleeing with their cattle and effects. I
spent Tuesday night in a house at Deux Choux with a crowd of 200
frightened refugees.

"Nearly all the phenomena of these volcanic outbreaks are new to
science, and many of them have not yet been explained. The volcano is
still intensely active, and I cannot make any predictions as to what
it will do."




    =Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Other Cities
    of the Plain--The Bible Account a Graphic Description of
    the Event--Ancient Writers Tell of Earthquakes and
    Volcanoes of Antiquity--Discovery of Buried Cities of
    which no Records Remain--Formation of the Dead Sea--The
    Valley of the Jordan and Its Physical Characteristics.=

In the history of earthquakes, nothing is more remarkable than the
extreme fewness of those recorded before the beginning of the
Christian era, in comparison with those that have been registered
since that time. This may be partly accounted for by the fact that
before the birth of Christ, there was but a small portion of the
habitable surface of the globe known to those who were capable of
handing down a record of natural events. The vast increase in the
number of earthquakes in recent times is, therefore, undoubtedly due
to the enlargement of our knowledge of the earth's surface, and to the
greater freedom of communication now subsisting among mankind.

Earthquakes might have been as frequent throughout the entire globe in
ancient times as now; but the writers of the Bible, and the historians
of Greece and Rome might have known nothing of their occurrence. Even
at the present time, an earthquake might happen in Central Africa, or
in Central Asia, of which we would never hear, and the recollection of
which might die out among the natives in a few generations. In
countries, too, which are thinly inhabited, and where there are no
large cities to be overthrown, even great earthquakes might happen
almost unheeded. The few inhabitants might be awe-struck at the time;
but should they sustain no personal harm, the violence of the
commotion and the intensity of their terror would soon fade from their

Dr. Daubeny, in his work on volcanoes, cites an example of this
complete oblivion, even when the event must have occurred not far from
the ancient center of civilization. The town of Lessa, between Rome
and Naples, and not far from Gaeta, stands on an eminence composed of
volcanic rocks. In digging the foundations for a house at this place
some years ago, there were discovered, many feet beneath the present
surface, a chamber with antique frescoes and the remains of an
amphitheater. Yet there is not only no existing account of the
destruction of a town on this site, but not even a tradition of any
volcanic eruption in the neighborhood.

The earthquake which destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah is not only the
oldest on record, but one of the most remarkable. It was accompanied
by a volcanic eruption, it upheaved a district of several hundred
square leagues, and caused the subsidence of a tract of land not less
extensive, altering the whole water system and the levels of the soil.
The south of Palestine contained a splendid valley dotted with forests
and flourishing cities. This was the valley of Siddim, in which
reigned the confederate sovereigns of Sodom, Gomorrah, Adniah, Zeboiim
and Zoar. They had joined forces to resist the king of the Elamites,
and they had just lost the decisive battle of the campaign when the
catastrophe which destroyed the five cities and spread desolation in
the flourishing valley took place. As the sun arose, the ground
trembled and opened, red-hot stones and burning cinders, which fell
like a storm of fire upon the surrounding country, being emitted from
the yawning chasm.

In a few words, the Bible relates the dread event:

"And when the morning arose, the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise,
take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here, lest thou be
consumed in the iniquity of the city.

"And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the
hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord
being merciful unto him, and they brought him forth and set him
without the city.

"And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he
said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in
all the plain; escape to the mountain lest thou be consumed.

"And Lot said unto them, Oh, not so, my Lord, behold now, thy servant
hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy,
which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape
to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die. Behold now, this
city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape
thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.

"And he said unto him, See, I have accepted thee concerning this thing
also, that I will not overthrow this city, for which thou hast spoken.
Haste thee, escape thither; for I cannot do anything until thou be
come thither.

"Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun was risen
upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.

"Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire
from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all
the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew
upon the ground.

"But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of

"And Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he stood
before the Lord, and he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward
all the land of the plain, and beheld, and lo, the smoke of the city
went up as the smoke of a furnace."

Nothing could be more succinct or terse than this description of the
catastrophe. This was a sudden volcanic eruption like that which
destroyed in one night the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. At the
time of the convulsion in Palestine while clouds of ashes were emitted
from the yawning abyss and fell in fiery showers upon the ground, a
vast tract of country, comprising the five cities and some land to the
south of them, was violently shaken and overturned.

Of the valleys watered by the Jordan, that of Siddim was the largest
and the most populous. All the southern part of this valley, with its
woods, its cultivated fields, and its broad river, was upheaved. While
upon the other side the plain subsided, and for a distance of a
hundred leagues was transformed into a vast cavern of unknown depth.
Upon that day the waters of the Jordan, suddenly arrested by the
upheaval of the soil lower down the stream, must have flowed rapidly
back toward their source, again to flow not less impetuously along
their accustomed incline, and to fall into the abyss created by the
subsidence of the valley and the break-up of the bed of the stream.

When, after the disaster, the inhabitants of neighboring regions came
to visit the scene of it, they found the whole aspect of the district
altered. The valley of Siddim had ceased to exist, and an immense
sheet of water covered the space which it once occupied. Beyond this
vast reservoir, to the south, the Jordan, which formerly fertilized
the country as far as the Red Sea, had also disappeared. The whole
country was covered with lava, ashes and salt; all the cultivated
fields, the hamlets and villages, had been involved in the cataclysm.

The record of this great catastrophe is preserved not only by
Scripture, but by the living and spoken traditions of the East, all
the legends of Syria, as well as ancient historians like Tacitus and
Strabo, relating how Lake Asphaltite was formed during the terrible
shock and how opulent cities were swallowed up in the abyss or
destroyed by fire from out of the earth.

But even if popular traditions had been forgotten, and if the writings
of ancient authors had been lost, the very aspect of the country would
suffice to show that it had suffered from some terrible subterranean
convulsion. As it was upon the morrow of the catastrophe itself, so it
has remained with its calcined rocks, its blocks of salt, its masses
of black lava, its rough ravines, its sulphurous springs, its boiling
waters, its bituminous marshes, its riven mountains, and its vast Lake
Asphaltite, which is the Dead Sea.

This sea, the depth of which has never been sounded, evokes by its
origin and its mysterious aspect, the dolorous image of death.
Situated about 690 feet below the level of the ocean, in the
depression of the soil caused by the earthquake, its waters extend
over an area of a hundred square leagues to the foot of the salt
mountains and basaltic rocks which encircle it. One can detect no
trace of vegetation or animal life; not a sound is heard upon its
shores, impregnated with salt and bitumen; the birds avoid flying over
its dreary surface from which emanate deadly effluvia, and nothing can
exist in its bitter, salt, oily, and heavy waters. Not a breeze ever
stirs the surface of this silent sea, nothing moves therein save the
thick load of asphalt which now and again rises from the bottom to the
surface and floats lazily on to the desolate strand.

The Jordan has remained what it was in ancient times, the blessed
stream, the vivifying artery of Palestine. Taking their source in the
spotless snows and pure springs of Mount Hermon, its waters have
retained the azure hues of the sky and the clearness of crystal.
Before the catastrophe, the Jordan, after having traversed and
fertilized Palestine, found its way into the Gulf of Arabia, but now,
as upon the morrow of the shock which broke up its bed, its waters are
lost in the somber abyss of the Dead Sea.

The Bible mentions an earthquake in Palestine in the reign of Ahab,
and one in the reign of Uzziah, which rent the temple. The latter was
an event so great that the chroniclers of the time used it in dating
occurrences, and Amos speaks of what happened "two years before the

The same convulsions of nature are mentioned many other times in the
Bible, in connection with prophecy, revelation and the crucifixion.

Nearly all writings about earthquakes prior to the last century tended
to cultivate superstitious notions respecting them. Even Pliny,
Herodotus, Livy, and the other classic writers, were quite ignorant of
the true causes, and mythology entered into their speculations. In
later times the investigation has become a science. The Chinese were
pioneers in this direction, having appointed an Imperial Commission in
A.D. 136 to inquire into the subject. It is to be doubted, however, if
what they reported would be considered as of much scientific value

By this time it is estimated that in the libraries of the world are
more than 2,000 works treating of earth-motions. The phenomena are
taken quite out of the realm of superstition. By means of delicate
instruments of various kinds, called seismometers, the direction of
earth-movements can be traced, and their force gauged, while by means
of a simple magnet with a metal piece attached to it, an earthquake
can be foretold. These instruments tell us that scarcely a day passes
without an earthquake in some portion of the globe. The internal
causes of these manifestations are ever active, whatever the causes
may be.




    =Most Famous Volcanic Eruption in History--Roman Cities
    Overwhelmed--Scenes of Horror Described by Pliny, the Great
    Classic Writer, an Eye-Witness of the Disaster--Buried in
    Ashes and Lava--The Stricken Towns Preserved for Centuries
    and Excavated in Modern Times as a Wonderful Museum of the
    Life of 1800 Years Ago.=

Mount Vesuvius, the world-famed volcano of southern Italy, seen as it
is from every part of the city of Naples and its neighborhood, forms
the most prominent feature of that portion of the frightful and
romantic Campanian coast. For many centuries it has been an object of
the greatest interest, and certainly not the least of the many
attractions of one of the most notable cities of Europe. Naples, with
its bay constitutes as grand a panorama as any to be seen in the
world. The mountain is a link in the historical chain which binds us
to the past, which takes us back to the days of the Roman Empire.
Before the days of Titus it seems to have been unknown as a volcano,
and its summit is supposed to have been crowned by a temple of

In the year 25 A.D., Strabo, an eminent historian of the time, wrote:
"About these places rises Vesuvius, well cultivated and inhabited all
round, except at its top, which is for the most part level, and
entirely barren, ashy to the view, displaying cavernous hollows in
cineritious rocks, which look as if they had been eaten by fire; so
that we may suppose this spot to have been a volcano formerly, with
burning craters, now extinguished for want of fuel."

Though Strabo was a great historian, it is evident that he was not a
prophet. The subsequent history of Vesuvius has shown that at varying
periods the mountain has burst forth in great eruptive activity.

Herculaneum was a city of great antiquity, its origin being ascribed
by Greek tradition to Hercules, the celebrated hero of the
mythological age of Greece; but it is not certain that it was actually
founded by a Greek colony, though in the time of Sulla, who lived a
hundred years before Christ, it was a municipal and fortified town.
Situated on an elevated ground between two rivers, its position could
not but be considered important, its port Retina being one of the best
on the coast of Campania. Many villas of great splendor were owned in
the neighborhood by Roman patricians; Servilia, the mother of Brutus,
and the favorite mistress of Julius Cæsar, resided here on an estate
which he had given to her.

Pompeii, too, was a very ancient city, and was probably founded by a
Grecian colony; for what is considered its oldest building, a Greek
temple, from its similarity to the Praestum temples, fixes the date of
construction with some certainty at about 650 B.C. This temple, by
common consent, is stated to have been dedicated to Hercules, who,
according to Solonus, landed at this spot with a procession of oxen.

The situation of Pompeii possessed many local advantages. Upon the
verge of the sea, at the mouth of the Sarno, with a fertile plain
behind, like many an ancient Italian town, it united the conveniences
of commerce with the security of a military station. According to
Strabo, Pompeii was first occupied by the Oscans, subsequently by the
Tyrrhenians and Pelasgians, and afterwards by the Samnites, in whose
hands it continued until it came into the possession of the Romans.
The delightful position of the city, the genial climate of the
locality, and its many attractions, caused it to become a favorite
retreat of the wealthier Romans, who purchased estates in the
neighborhood; Cicero, among others, having a villa there.

In A.D. 63, during the reign of Nero, an earthquake overthrew a
considerable portion of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Scarcely had the
inhabitants in some measure recovered from their alarm, and begun to
rebuild their shattered edifices, when a still more terrible
catastrophe occurred, and the first recorded eruption of Vesuvius, on
the 23d of August, A.D. 79, completed the ruin of the two cities.

Of this event we fortunately possess a singularly graphic description
by one who was not only an eye-witness, but well qualified to observe
and record its phenomena--Pliny, the Younger, whose narrative is
contained in two letters addressed to the historian Tacitus. These
letters run as follows:

"Your request," he writes, "that I would send you an account of my
uncle's death, in order to transmit a more exact relation of it to
posterity, merits my acknowledgements; for should the calamity be
celebrated by your pen, its memory, I feel assured, will be rendered
imperishable. He was at that time, with the fleet under his command,
at Misenum. On the 24th of August, about one in the afternoon, my
mother desired him to observe a cloud which seemed of unusual shape
and dimensions. He had just returned from taking the benefit of the
sun, and after a cold water bath and a slight repast, had retired to
his study. He immediately arose, and proceeded to a rising ground,
from whence he might more distinctly mark this very uncommon

"At that distance it could not be clearly perceived from what mountain
the cloud issued, but it was afterward ascertained to proceed from
Mount Vesuvius. I cannot better describe its figure than by comparing
it to that of a pine tree, for it shot up to a great height like a
trunk, and extended itself at the top into a kind of branches;
occasioned, I imagine, either by a sudden gust of air that impelled
if, the force of which decreased as it advanced upward, or by the
expansion of the cloud itself, when pressed back again by its own
weight. Sometimes it appeared bright, and sometimes dark and spotted,
as it became more or less impregnated with earth and cinders. This
extraordinary phenomenon excited my uncle's philosophical curiosity to
inquire into it more closely. He ordered a light vessel to be got
ready for him, and invited me to accompany him if I pleased. I replied
that I would rather continue my studies.

"As he was leaving the house, a note was brought to him from Rectina,
the wife of Bassus, who was in the utmost alarm at the imminent peril
which threatened her; for her villa being situated at the foot of
Mount Vesuvius, the only mode of escape was by the sea. She earnestly
entreated him, therefore, to hasten to her assistance. He accordingly
changed his first design, and what he began out of curiosity, now
continued out of heroism. Ordering the galleys to put to sea, he went
on board, with an intention of assisting not only Rectina, but several
others, for the villas are very numerous along that beautiful shore.
Hastening to the very place which other people were abandoning in
terror, he steered directly toward the point of danger, and with so
much composure of mind that he was able to make and to dictate his
observations on the changes and aspects of that dreadful scene.

"He was now so nigh the mountain that the cinders, which grew thicker
and hotter the nearer he approached, fell into the vessel, together
with pumice-stones and black pieces of burning rock; and now the
sudden ebb of the sea, and vast fragments rolling from the mountain,
obstructed their nearer approach to the shore. Pausing to consider
whether he should turn back again, to which he was advised by his
pilot, he exclaimed, 'Fortune befriends the brave: carry me to


  The steel framework of many of the modern skyscrapers stood intact
  after the shock, while the brick and stone walls were shaken out.]



"Pomponianus was then at Stabiae, separated by a gulf which the sea,
after several windings, forms upon the shore. He had already sent his
baggage on board; for though not at that time in actual danger, yet
being within prospect of it, he was determined, if it drew nearer, to
put to sea as soon as the wind should change. The wind was
favorable, however, for carrying my uncle to Pomponianus, whom he
found in the greatest consternation. He embraced him tenderly,
encouraging and counselling him to keep up his spirits; and still
better to dissipate his alarm, he ordered, with an air of unconcern,
the baths to be got ready. After having bathed, he sat down to supper
with great cheerfulness, or, what was equally courageous, with all the
semblance of it.

"Meanwhile, the eruption from Mount Vesuvius broke forth in several
places with great violence, and the darkness of the night contributed
to render it still more visible and dreadful. But my uncle, to soothe
the anxieties of his friend, declared it was only the burning of the
villages, which the country people had abandoned to the flames. After
this, he retired to rest; and it is certain he was so little
discomposed as to fall into a deep sleep; for being somewhat
corpulent, and breathing hard, those who attended without actually
heard him snore.

"The court which led to his apartment being nearly filled with stones
and ashes, it would have been impossible for him, had he continued
there longer, to have made his way out; it was thought proper,
therefore, to awaken him. He got up and joined Pomponianus and the
rest of his company who were not unconcerned enough to think of going
to bed. They consulted together which course would be the more
prudent: to trust to the houses, which now shook from side to side
with frequent and violent concussions; or to escape to the open
country, where the calcined stones and cinders fell in such
quantities, as notwithstanding their lightness, to threaten
destruction. In this dilemma they decided on the open country, as
offering the greater chance of safety; a resolution which, while the
rest of the company hastily adopted it through their fears, my uncle
embraced only after cool and deliberate consideration. Then they went
forth, having pillows tied upon their heads with napkins; and this was
their sole defence against the storm of stones that fell around them.

"It was now day everywhere else, but there a deeper darkness prevailed
than in the obscurest night, though it was in some degree dissipated
by torches and lights of various kinds. They thought proper to go down
further upon the shore, to ascertain whether they might safely put out
to sea; but found the waves still extremely high and boisterous. There
my uncle, having drunk a draught or two of cold water, flung himself
down upon a cloth which was spread for him, when immediately the
flames and their precursor, a strong stench of sulphur, dispersed the
rest of the company, and compelled him to rise. He raised himself with
the assistance of two of the servants, but instantly fell down dead;
suffocated, I imagine by some gross and noxious vapor. As soon as it
was light again, which was not until the third day after this
melancholy accident, his body was found entire, and free from any sign
of violence, exactly in the same posture that he fell, so that he
looked more like one asleep than dead."

In a second letter to Tacitus, Pliny in relating his own experiences,

"Day was rapidly breaking, but the light was exceedingly faint and
languid; the buildings all around us tottered; and though we stood
upon open ground, yet, as the area was narrow and confined, we could
not remain without certain and formidable peril, and we therefore
resolved to quit the town. The people followed us in a panic of alarm,
and, as to a mind distracted with terror every suggestion seems more
prudent than its own, pressed in great crowds about us in our way out.

"As soon as we had reached a convenient distance from the houses, we
stood still, in the midst of a perilous and most dreadful scene. The
chariots which we had ordered to be drawn out oscillated so violently,
though upon level ground, that we could not keep them steady, even by
supporting them with large stones. The sea seemed to roll back upon
itself, and to be driven from its strands by the earth's convulsive
throes; it is certain, at least, that the shore was considerably
enlarged, and that several marine animals were left upon it. On the
other side, a black and terrible cloud, bursting with an igneous
serpentine vapor, darted out a long train of fire, resembling, but
much larger than the flashes of lightning.

"Soon after the black cloud seemed to descend and enshroud the whole
ocean; as, in truth, it entirely concealed the island of Caprea and
the headland of Misenum. The ashes now began to fall upon us, though
in no considerable quantity. Turning my head, I perceived behind us a
dense smoke, which came rolling in our track like a torrent. I
proposed, while there was yet some light, to diverge from the
highroad, lest my mother should be crushed to death in the dark by the
crowd that followed us. Scarcely had we stepped aside when darkness
overspread us; not the darkness of a cloudy night, or when there is no
moon, but that of a chamber which is close shut, with all the lights

"And then nothing could be heard but the shrieks of women, the cries
of children, and the exclamations of men. Some called aloud for their
little ones, others for their parents, others for their husbands,
being only able to distinguish persons by their voices; this man
lamented his own fate, that man the fate of his family; not a few
wished to die out of very fear of death; many lifted their hands to
the gods; but most imagined the last eternal night was come, which
should destroy the world and the gods together.

"At length, a glimmer of light appeared, which we imagined to be
rather the foretoken of an approaching burst of flames, as in truth it
was, than the return of day. The fire, however, having fallen at a
distance from us, we were again immersed in dense darkness, and a
heavy shower of ashes fell upon us, which we were compelled at times
to shake off--otherwise we should have been crushed and buried in the

"After a while, this dreadful darkness gradually disappeared like a
cloud of smoke; the actual day returned, and with it the sun, though
very faintly, and as when an eclipse is coming on. Every object that
presented itself to our eyes (which were extremely weakened) seemed
changed, being covered with a crust of white ashes, like a deep layer
of snow. We returned to Misenum, where we refreshed ourselves as well
as we could, and passed an anxious night between hope and fear,
though, indeed, with a much larger share of the latter; for the
earthquake still continued, while several excited individuals ran up
and down, augmenting their own and their friends' calamities by
terrible predictions."

The graphic accounts of Pliny the Younger have been confirmed in every
respect by scientific examination of the buried cities. The eruption
was terrible in all its circumstances--the rolling mud, the cloud of
darkness, the flashes of electric fire, the shaking earth--but yet
more terrible in its novelty of character and the seemingly wide range
of its influence. These combined causes would appear to have exercised
a fatal effect on the Pompeians, and but for them nearly all might
have escaped. Thus, the amphitheatre was crowded when the catastrophe
occurred, but only two or three skeletons have been found in it, which
probably were those of gladiators already killed or wounded. The bold,
the prompt, and the energetic saved themselves by immediate flight;
those who lingered through love or avarice, supine indifference, or
palsying fear, perished.

Many sought refuge in the lower rooms or underground cellars of their
houses, but there the steaming mud pursued and overtook them. Had it
been otherwise, they must have died of hunger or suffocation, as all
avenues of egress were absolutely blocked up.

It is impossible to exaggerate the horrors of the last day of the
doomed city. The rumbling of the earth beneath; the dense obscurity
and murky shadow of the heaven above; the long, heavy roll of the
convulsed sea; the strident noise of the vapors and gases escaping
from the mountain-crater; the shifting electric lights, crimson,
emerald green, lurid yellow, azure, blood red, which at intervals
relieved the blackness, only to make it ghastlier than before; the
hot, hissing showers which descended like a rain of fire; the clash
and clang of meeting rocks and riven stones; the burning houses and
flaming vineyards; the hurrying fugitives, with wan faces and
straining eyeballs, calling on those they loved to follow them; the
ashes, and cinders, and boiling mud, driving through the darkened
streets, and pouring into the public places; above all, that fine,
impalpable, but choking dust which entered everywhere, penetrating
even to the lowest cellar, and against which human skill could devise
no effectual protection; all these things must have combined into a
whole of such unusual and such awful terror that the imagination
cannot adequately realize it. The stoutest heart was appalled; the
best-balanced mind lost its composure. The stern Roman soldier stood
rigidly at his post, content to die if discipline required it, but
even his iron nerves quailed at the death and destruction around him.
Many lost their reason, and wandered through the city, gibbering and
shrieking lunatics. And none, we may be sure, who survived the peril,
ever forgot the sights and scenes they had witnessed on that day of

Three days and nights were thus endured with all the anguish of
suspense and uncertainty. On the fourth day the darkness, by degrees,
began to clear away. The day appeared, the sun shining forth; but all
nature seemed changed. Buried beneath the lava lay temple and circus,
the tribunal, the shrine, the frescoed wall, the bright mosaic floor;
but there was neither life nor motion in either city of the dead,
though the sea which once bore their argosies still shimmered in the
sunshine, and the mountain which accomplished their destruction still
breathed forth smoke and fire.

The scene was changed; all was over; smoke and vapor and showers had
ceased, and Vesuvius had returned to its normal slumber. Pompeii and
Herculaneum were no more. In their place was a desolated plain, with
no monuments visible, no house to be seen--nothing but a great surface
of white ashes, which hardened and petrified, and finally
disintegrated into soil upon which, years after, might be seen the
fruitful vine, the waving corn, and wild flowers in all their
loveliness and beauty, hiding the hideous tragedy of a bygone age.

It was about the middle of the eighteenth century that systematic
excavations in the ashes that covered Pompeii began. Since that time
the work has been slow, though continuous, and great progress has been
made in disinterring the buried city. To-day it is a municipal museum
of the Roman Empire as it was 1,800 years ago. The architecture is
almost unmarred; the colors of decorated tiles on the walls are still
bright; the wheel marks are fresh looking; the picture of domestic
life as it was is complete, except for the people who were destroyed
or driven from the city. No other place in all the world so completely
portrays that period of the past to us as does Pompeii, overwhelmed by
Vesuvius, hidden for centuries, and now once more in view to the world




    =A Volcano with a Record of Twenty-five Centuries--Seventy-eight
    Recorded Eruptions--Three Hundred Thousand Inhabitants Dwelling
    on the Slopes of the Mountain and in the Valleys at its
    Base--Stories of Earthquake Shock and Lava Flows--Tales of
    Destruction--Described by Ancient and Modern Writers and

Mount Ætna, one of the most celebrated volcanoes in the world, is
situated on the eastern sea-board of Sicily. The ancient poets often
alluded to it, and by some it was feigned to be the prison of the
giant Euceladus or Typhon, by others the forge of Hephæstus. The
flames proceeded from the breath of Euceladus, the thunderous noises
of the mountain were his groans, and when he turned upon his side,
earthquakes shook the island. Pindar in his first Pythian ode for
Hiero of Ætna, winner in the chariot race in 474 B.C., exclaims:--He
(Typhon) is fast bound by a pillar of the sky, even by snowy Ætna,
nursing the whole year's length her dazzling snow. Whereout pure
springs of unapproachable fire are vomited from the inmost depth: in
the daytime the lava streams pour forth a lurid rush of smoke, but in
the darkness a red rolling flame sweepeth rocks with uproar to the
wide, deep sea. Æschylus (525-456 B.C.) speaks also of the "mighty
Typhon." Thucydides (471-402 B.C.) alludes in the last lines of his
third book to three early eruptions of the mountain. Many other early
writers speak of Ætna, among them Theocritus, Virgil, Ovid, Livy,
Seneca, Lucan, Strabo, and Lucilius Junior. While the poets on the
one hand had invested Ætna with various supernatural attributes, and
had made it the prison of a chained giant, and the workshop of a god,
Lucretius and others endeavored to show that the eruptions and other
phenomena of the mountain could be explained by the ordinary
operations of nature.

If we pass to more modern times we find mention of Ætna by Dante,
Petrarch, Cardinal Bembo, and other middle age writers. In 1541
Fazello wrote a brief history of the mountain, and described an
ascent. In 1591 Antonio Filoteo, who was born on Ætna, published a
work in Venice, in which he describes an eruption which he witnessed
in 1536. He asserts that the mountain was then, as now, divided into
three "regions"--the first very arid, rugged, uneven, and full of
broken rocks; the second covered with forests; and the third
cultivated in the ordinary manner.

The great eruption of 1669 was described at length by the naturalist
Borelli in the year of its occurrence, and a brief account of it was
given by the Earl of Winchelsea, English ambassador at Constantinople,
who was returning home by way of the Straits of Messina at the time.
As the eruption of 1669 was the most considerable one of modern times,
it attracted a great deal of attention, and was described by several

The height of Ætna has been often determined. The earlier writers had
very exaggerated notions on the subject, and a height of three and
even four miles has been assigned. It must be borne in mind that the
cone of a volcano is liable to variations in height at different
periods, and a diminution of more than three hundred feet has occurred
during the course of a single eruption of Ætna, owing to the falling
of the cone of cinders into the crater. During the last sixty years,
however, the height of the mountain has been practically constant at
ten thousand eight hundred and seventy-four feet.

There are two cities, Catania and Aci Reale, and sixty-three towns or
villages on Mount Ætna. It is far more thickly populated than any
other part of Sicily or Italy. No less than 300,000 people live on the

A remarkable feature of Ætna is the large number of minor cones which
are scattered over its sides. They look small in comparison with the
great mass of the mountain, but in reality some of them are of large

The best period for making the ascent of Ætna is between June and
September, after the melting of the winter snows, and before the
falling of the autumnal rains. In winter there are frequently nine or
ten miles of snow stretching from the summit downward, the paths are
obliterated, and the guides sometimes refuse to accompany travelers.
Moreover, violent storms often rage in the upper regions of the
mountain, and the wind acquires a force which it is difficult to
withstand, and is at the same time piercingly cold.

A list of the eruptions of Ætna from the earliest times has been given
by several writers. The first eruption within the historical period
probably happened in the seventh century B.C.; the second occurred in
the time of Pythagoras. The third eruption, which was in 477 B.C., is
mentioned by Thucydides, and it must have been the same eruption to
which Pindar and Æschylus allude. An eruption mentioned by Thucydides
happened in the year 426 B.C. An outburst of lava took place from
Monte di Moja, the most northerly of the minor cones of Ætna, in 396
B.C., and following the course of the river Acesines, now the
Alcantara, entered the sea near the site of the Greek colony of Naxos
(now Capo di Schiso). We have no record of any further eruption for
256 years, till the year 140 B.C. Six years later an eruption
occurred, and the same authorities mention an eruption in the year 126
B.C. Four years later Katana was nearly destroyed by a new eruption.
Another, of which we possess no details, occurred during the civil war
between Cæsar and Pompey, 49 B.C. Livy speaks of an earthquake which
took place in 43 B.C., shortly before the death of Cæsar, which it
was believed to portend. In 38 B.C. and 32 B.C. eruptions took place.

The next eruption of which we hear is that mentioned by Suetonius in
his life of Caligula. This was in 40 A.D. An eruption occurred in 72
A.D., after which Ætna was quiescent for nearly two centuries, but in
the year 253, in the reign of the Emperor Decius, a violent eruption
lasting nine days is recorded. According to Carrera and Photius, an
eruption occurred in the year 420. We now find no further record for
nearly four hundred years. Geoffrey of Viterbo states that there was
an eruption in 812, when Charlemagne was in Messina. After another
long interval, in this case of more than three centuries and a half,
the mountain again showed activity. In February, 1169, one of the most
disastrous eruptions on record took place. A violent earthquake, which
was felt as far as Reggio, destroyed Catania in the course of a few
minutes, burying fifteen thousand people beneath the ruins. It was the
vigil of the feast of St. Agatha, and the cathedral of Catania was
crowded with people, who were all buried beneath the ruins, together
with the bishops and forty-four Benedictine monks. The side of the
cone of the great crater toward Taormina fell into the crater.

There was a great eruption from the eastern side of the mountain in
1181. Lava descended in the same vicinity in 1285. In 1329 Speziale
was in Catania, and witnessed a very violent eruption, of which he has
left us an account. On the evening of June 28th, about the hour of
vespers, Ætna was strongly convulsed, terrible noises were emitted,
and flames issued from the south side of the mountain. A new crater,
Monte Lepre, opened above the rock of Musarra, and emitted large
quantities of dense black smoke. Soon after a torrent of lava poured
from the crater, and red-hot masses of rock were projected into the
air. Four years after the last eruption it is recorded by Silvaggio
that a fresh outburst took place. A manuscript preserved in the
archives of the cathedral of Catania mentions an eruption which took
place on August 6, 1371, which caused the destruction of numerous
olive groves near the city. An eruption which lasted for twelve days
commenced in November, 1408. A violent earthquake in 1444 caused the
cone of the mountain to fall into the great crater. An eruption of
short duration, of which we have no details, occurred in 1447; and
after this Ætna was quiescent for eighty-nine years.

Cardinal Bembo and Fazello mention an eruption which took place toward
the close of the fifteenth century. In March, 1536, a quantity of lava
issued from the great crater, and several new apertures opened near
the summit of the mountain and emitted lava.

A year later, in May, 1537, a fresh outburst occurred. A number of new
mouths were opened on the south slope near La Fontanelle, and a
quantity of lava burst forth which flowed in the direction of Catania,
destroying a part of Nicolosi, and St. Antonio. In four days the lava
ran fifteen miles. The cone of the great crater suddenly fell in, so
as to become level with the Piano del Lago. The height of the mountain
was thus diminished by 320 feet. Three new craters opened in November,
1566, on the northeast slope of the mountain. In 1579, 1603, 1607,
1610, 1614, and 1619, unimportant eruptions occurred. In February,
1633, Nicolosi was partly destroyed by a violent earthquake, and in
the following December, earthquakes became frequent around the

In 1646 a new mouth opened on the northeast side, and five years later
several new mouths opened on the west side of the mountain and poured
out vast volumes of lava which threatened to overwhelm Bronte. We have
a more detailed account of the eruption of 1669 than any previous one.
It was observed by many men of different nations, and there are a
number of narratives regarding it. The eruption was in every respect
one of the most terrible on record. On March 8th, the sun was obscured
and a whirlwind blew over the face of the mountain; at the same time
earthquakes were felt, and they continued to increase in violence for
three days, at the end of which Nicolosi was converted into a heap of

On the morning of the 11th a fissure nearly twelve miles in length
opened in the side of the mountain, and extended from the Piano di St.
Leo to Monte Frumento, a mile from the summit. The fissure was only
six feet wide, but it seemed to be of unknown depth, and a bright
light proceeded from it. Six mouths opened in a line with the
principal fissure, and discharged vast volumes of smoke, accompanied
by low bellowing, which could be heard forty miles off. Toward the
close of the day a crater opened about a mile below the others, and
ejected red-hot stones to a considerable distance, and afterward sand
and ashes, which covered the country for a distance of sixty miles.

The new crater soon vomited forth a torrent of lava, which presented a
front of two miles. It encircled Monpilieri, and afterward flowed
toward Belpasso, a town of 8,000 inhabitants, which was speedily
destroyed. Seven mouths of fire opened around the new crater, and in
three days united with it, forming one large crater 800 feet in
diameter. The torrent of lava had continued to flow, and it destroyed
the town of Mascalucia on March 23d. On the same day the crater cast
up great quantities of sand, ashes, and scoriae, and formed above
itself the great double coned hill called Monti Rossi, from the red
color of the ashes of which it is mainly composed. On the 25th very
violent earthquakes occurred, and the cone of the great central crater
was shaken down into the crater for the fifth time since the beginning
of the first century A.D. The original current of lava had divided
into three streams, one of which destroyed San Pietro, the second
Camporotondo, and the third the lands about Mascalucia, and afterward
the village of Misterbianco. Fourteen villages were afterward swept
out of existence, and the lava made its way toward Catania. At
Albanello, two miles from the city, it undermined a hill covered with
corn fields, and carried it forward a considerable distance; a
vineyard was also seen floating on its fiery surface.

When the lava reached the walls of Catania, it accumulated without
progression until it rose to the top of the wall, sixty feet in
height, and it then fell over in a fiery cascade and overwhelmed a
part of the city. Another portion of the same stream threw down 120
feet of the wall and carried death and destruction in its course. On
April 23d the lava reached the sea, which it entered as a stream 1800
feet broad and forty feet deep. On reaching the sea the water, of
course, began to boil violently, and clouds of steam arose, carrying
with them particles of scoriae. The volume of lava emitted during this
eruption amounted to many millions of cubic feet. Fewara considers
that the length of the stream was at least fifteen miles, while its
average width was between two and three miles, so that it covered at
least forty square miles of surface.

For a few years after this terrible eruption Ætna was quiescent, but
in 1682 a new mouth opened on the east side of the mountain, and lava
issued from it and rushed down the precipices of the Val del Bue.
Early in January, 1693, clouds of black smoke poured from the great
crater, and loud noises resembling the discharge of artillery, were
heard. A violent earthquake followed, and Catania was shaken to the
ground, burying 18,000 of its inhabitants. It is said that in all
fifty cities and towns were destroyed in Sicily, together with
approximately 100,000 inhabitants.

The following year witnessed another eruption, but no serious disaster
resulted. In March, 1702, three mouths opened in the Contrada del
Trifaglietto, near the head of the Val del Bue. In 1723, 1732, 1735,
1744, and 1747, slight eruptions occurred. Early in the year 1775 Ætna
began to show signs of disturbance; a great column of black smoke
issued from the crater, from which forked lightning was frequently
emitted. Loud detonations were heard and two streams of lava issued
from the crater. A new mouth opened near Rocca di Musarra in the Val
del Bue, four miles from the summit, and a quantity of lava was
ejected from it. An extraordinary flood of water descended from Val
del Bue, carrying all before it, and strewing its path with large
blocks. Recupero estimated the volume of water at 16,000,000 cubic
feet, probably a greater amount than could be furnished by the sudden
melting of all the winter's snow on the mountain. It formed a channel
two miles broad, and in some places thirty-four feet deep, and it
flowed at the rate of a mile in a minute and a half during the first
twelve miles of its course. The flood was probably produced by the
melting not only of the winter's snow, but also of older layers of
ice, which were suddenly liquified by the permeation of hot steam and
lava, and which had been previously preserved from melting by a
deposit of sand and ashes, as in the case of the ancient glacier found
near the summit of the mountain in 1828.

In November, 1758, a smart shock of earthquake caused the cone of the
great crater to fall in, but no eruption followed. In 1759, 1763,
1766, and 1780, eruptions were noted, and on May 18, 1780, a fissure
opened on the southwest side of the mountain and extended from the
base of the great crater for seven miles, terminating in a new mouth
from which a stream of lava emanated. This encountered the cone of
Palmintelli in its course, and separated into two branches, each of
which was about 4,000 feet wide. Other mouths opened later in the
year, and emitted larger quantities of lava, while in 1781 and 1787
there were slight eruptions. Five years later a fresh outbreak
occurred; earthquakes were prevalent, and vast volumes of smoke were
carried out to sea, seeming to form a gigantic bridge between Sicily
and Africa. A torrent of lava flowed toward Aderno, and a second
flowed into the Val del Bue as far as Zuccolaro. A pit called La
Cisterna, forty feet in diameter, opened in the Piano del Lago near
the great cone, and ejected smoke and masses of old lava saturated
with water. Several mouths opened below the crater, and the country
round about Zaffarana was desolated.

In 1797, 1798, 1799, 1800, 1802, 1805, and 1808 slight eruptions
occurred. In March, 1809, no less than twenty-one mouths of fire
opened between the summit of the mountain and Castiglione, and two
years afterward more than thirty mouths opened in a line running
eastward from the summit for five miles. They ejected jets of fire,
accompanied by much smoke. In 1819 five new mouths of fire opened near
the scene of the eruption of 1811; three of these united into one
large crater, and poured forth a quantity of lava into the Val del
Bue. The lava flowed until it reached a nearly perpendicular precipice
at the head of the valley of Calanna, over which it fell in a cascade,
and being hardened by its descent, it was forced against the sides of
the tufaceous rock at the bottom, so as to produce an extraordinary
amount of abrasion, accompanied by clouds of dust worn off by the
friction. Mr. Scrope observed that the lava flowed at the rate of
about three feet an hour nine months after its emission.

Eruptions occurred in 1831, 1832, 1838, and 1842. Near the end of the
following year, fifteen mouths of fire opened near the crater of 1832,
at a height of 7,000 feet above the sea. They began by discharging
scoriae and sand, and afterward lava, which divided into three
streams, the two outer of which soon came to a standstill, while the
central stream continued to flow at the rapid rate of 180 feet a
minute, the descent being an angle of 25°. The heat at a distance of
120 feet from the current was 90° F. A new crater opened just above
Bronte, and discharged lava which threatened the town, but it
fortunately encountered Monte Vittoria, and was diverted into another
course. While a number of the inhabitants of Bronte were watching the
progress of the lava, the front of the stream was suddenly blown out
as by an explosion of gunpowder. In an instant red-hot masses were
hurled in every direction, and a cloud of vapor enveloped everything.
Thirty-six persons were killed on the spot, and twenty survived but a
few hours.

A very violent eruption, which lasted more than nine months, commenced
on the 26th of August, 1852. It was first witnessed by a party of six
English tourists, who were ascending the mountain from Nicolosi in
order to witness the sun rise from the summit. As they approached the
Casa Inglesi the crater commenced to give forth ashes and flames of
fire. In a narrow defile they were met by a violent hurricane, which
overthrew both the mules and the riders, and forced them toward the
precipices of Val del Bue. They sheltered themselves beneath some
masses of lava, when suddenly an earthquake shook the mountain, and
the mules fled in terror. They returned on foot toward daylight to
Nicolosi, fortunately without having sustained injury. In the course
of the night many rifts opened in that part of Val del Bue called the
Balzo di Trifaglietto, and a great fissure opened at the base of
Giannicola Grande, and a crater was thrown up, from which for
seventeen days showers of sand and scoriae were ejected.

During the next day a quantity of lava flowed down into the Val del
Bue, branching off so that one stream flowed to the foot of Mount
Finocchio, while the other flowed to Mount Calanna. The eruption
continued with abated violence during the early months of 1853, and
did not fully cease until May 27th. The entire mass of lava ejected is
estimated to be equal to an area six miles long by two miles broad,
with an average depth of about twelve feet.

In October, 1864, frequent shocks of earthquake were felt by the
dwellers on Ætna. In January, 1865, clouds of smoke were emitted by
the great crater, and roaring sounds were heard. On the night of the
30th a violent shock was felt on the northeast side of the mountain,
and a mouth opened below Monte Frumento, from which lava was ejected.
It flowed at the rate of about a mile a day, and ultimately divided
into two streams. By March 10th the new mouths of fire had increased
to seven in number, and they were all situated along a line stretching
down from the summit. The three upper craters gave forth loud
detonations three or four times a minute. Since 1865, there have been
occasional eruptions, but none of great duration, nor has there been
any loss of life in consequence.

It will be seen from the foregoing account that there is a great
similarity in the general character of the eruptions of Ætna.
Earthquakes presage the outburst; loud explosions are heard; rifts
open in the sides of the mountain; smoke, sand, ashes, and scoriae are
discharged; the action localizes itself in one or more craters;
cinders are thrown out and accumulate around the crater in a conical
form; ultimately lava rises through the new cone, frequently breaking
down one side of it where there is least resistance, and flowing over
the surrounding country. Out of the seventy-eight eruptions mentioned
above, a comparatively small number have been of extreme violence,
while many of them have been of a slight and harmless character.

Italy does not contain a more beautiful or fertile province than
Calabria, the celebrated region which the ancients called Magna
Grecia, where once flourished Crotona, Tarentum, Sybaris, and so many
other prosperous cities. Situated between the volcanoes of Vesuvius
and Ætna, Calabria has always been much exposed to the destructive
influence of earthquakes, but the most terrible shock ever felt in the
province was that of February 5, 1783. The ground was agitated in all
directions, swelling like the waves of the ocean. Nothing could
withstand such shocks, and not a building upon the surface remained
erect. The beautiful city of Messina, the commercial metropolis of
Sicily, was reduced to a heap of ruins.

Upon March 4, a fresh shock, almost as violent as the first, completed
the work of destruction. The number of persons who perished in
Calabria and Sicily during these two earthquakes is estimated at
80,000 and 320 of the 365 towns and villages which Calabria contained
were destroyed. The greater number of those who lost their lives were
buried amid the ruins of the houses, but many perished in fires that
were kindled in most of the towns, particularly in Oppido, where the
flames were fed by great magazines of oil. Not a few, especially among
the peasantry dwelling in the country, were suddenly engulfed in
fissures. Many who were only half buried in the ruins, and who might
have been saved had there been help at hand, were left to die a
lingering death from cold and hunger. Four Augustine monks at
Terranova perished thus miserably. Having taken refuge in a vaulted
sacristy, they were entombed in it alive by the masses of rubbish, and
lingered for four days, during which their cries for help could be
heard, till death put an end to their sufferings.

Of still more thrilling interest was the case of the Marchioness
Spadara. Having fainted at the moment of the first great shock, she
was lifted by her husband, who, bearing her in his arms, hurried with
her to the harbor. Here, on recovering her senses, she observed that
her infant boy had been left behind. Taking advantage of a moment when
her husband was too much occupied to notice her, she darted off, and,
running back to her house, which was still standing, she snatched her
babe from his cradle. Rushing with him in her arms toward the
staircase, she found the stair had fallen, barring all further
progress in that direction. She fled from room to room, chased by the
falling materials, and at length reached a balcony as her last refuge.
Holding up her infant, she implored the few passers-by for help; but
they all, intent on securing their own safety, turned a deaf ear to
her cries. Meanwhile her mansion had caught fire, and ere long the
balcony, with the devoted lady still grasping her darling, was hurled
into the devouring flames.

A few cases are recorded of devotion similar to that of this heroic
woman, but happily attended by more fortunate results. In the great
majority of instances, however, the instinct of self-preservation
triumphed over every other feeling, rendering the wretched people
callous to the dangers and sufferings of others. Still worse was the
conduct of the half savage peasantry. They hastened into the towns
like vultures to their prey. Instead of helping the sufferers, they
ransacked the smoking ruins for plunder, robbed the persons of the
dead, and of those entangled alive among the rubbish. They robbed the
very injured who would have paid them handsomely for rescuing them. At
Polistena, a gentleman had been buried head downward beneath the ruins
of his house, and when his servant saw what had happened he actually
stole the silver buckles off his shoes, while his legs were in the
air, and made off with them. The unfortunate gentleman, however,
managed to rescue himself from his perilous position.

Several cases occurred of persons being rescued alive from the ruins
after a lapse of three, four, and even five days, and one on the
seventh day after interment. Those who were thus rescued all declared
that their direst sufferings were from thirst.




    =Sixty Thousand Lives Lost in a Few Moments--An Opulent and
    Populous Capital Destroyed--Graphic Account by an English
    Merchant Who Resided in the Stricken City--Tidal Waves
    Drown Thousands in the City Streets--Ships Engulfed in the
    Harbor--Criminals Rob and Burn--Terrible Desolation and

More than once in its history has Lisbon, the beautiful capital of
Portugal, on the Tagus river, been devastated by earthquakes and tidal
waves. Greatest of all these was the appalling disaster of 1755, when
in a few minutes thousands upon thousands of the inhabitants were
killed or drowned. An English merchant, Mr. Davy, who resided in the
ill-fated city at that time, and was an eye-witness of the whole
catastrophe, survived the event and wrote to a London friend the
following account of it. The narrative reproduced herewith brings the
details before the reader with a force and simplicity which leaves no
doubt of the exact truth. Mr. Davy wrote as follows:

"On the morning of November 1st I was seated in my apartment, just
finishing a letter, when the papers and the table I was writing on
began to tremble with a gentle motion, which rather surprised me, as I
could not perceive a breath of wind stirring. Whilst I was reflecting
with myself what this could be owing to, but without having the least
apprehension of the real cause, the whole house began to shake from
the very foundation, and a frightful noise came from underground,
resembling the hollow, distant rumbling of thunder.

"Upon this I threw down my pen, and started upon my feet, remaining a
moment in suspense, whether I should stay in the apartment or run into
the street, as the danger in both places seemed equal. In a moment I
was stunned with a most horrid crash, as if every edifice in the city
had tumbled down at once. The house I was in shook with such violence
that the upper stories immediately fell, and though my apartment,
which was on the first floor, did not then share the same fate, yet
everything was thrown out of its place in such a manner that it was
with no small difficulty I kept my feet, and expected nothing less
than to be soon crushed to death, as the walls continued rocking to
and fro, opening in several places; large stones falling down on every
side from the cracks, and the ends of most of the rafters starting out
from the roofs.

"To add to this terrifying scene, the sky in a moment became so gloomy
that I could now distinguish no particular object; it was an Egyptian
darkness indeed, such as might be felt.

"As soon as the gloom began to disperse and the violence of the shock
seemed pretty much abated, the first object I perceived in the room
was a woman sitting on the floor with an infant in her arms, all
covered with dust, pale and trembling. I asked her how she got hither,
but her consternation was so great that she could give me no account
of her escape. I suppose that when the tremor first began, she ran out
of her own house, and finding herself in such imminent danger from the
falling stones, retired into the door of mine, which was almost
contiguous to hers, for shelter, and when the shock increased, which
filled the door with dust and rubbish, she ran upstairs into my
apartment. The poor creature asked me, in the utmost agony, if I did
not think the world was at an end; at the same time she complained of
being choked, and begged me to procure her some water. Upon this I
went to a closet where I kept a large jar of water, but found it
broken to pieces. I told her she must not now think of quenching her
thirst, but saving her life, as the house was just falling on our
heads, and if a second shock came, would certainly bury us both.

"I hurried down stairs, the woman with me, holding by my arm, and made
directly to that end of the street which opens to the Tagus. Finding
the passage this way entirely blocked up with the fallen houses to the
height of their second stories, I turned back to the other end which
led to the main street, and there helped the woman over a vast heap of
ruins, with no small hazard to my own life; just as we were going into
this street, as there was one part that I could not well climb over
without the assistance of my hands as well as feet, I desired her to
let go her hold, which she did, remaining two or three feet behind me,
at which instant there fell a vast stone from a tottering wall, and
crushed both her and the child in pieces. So dismal a spectacle at any
other time would have affected me in the highest degree, but the dread
I was in of sharing the same fate myself, and the many instances of
the same kind which presented themselves all around, were too shocking
to make me dwell a moment on this single object.

"I now had a long, narrow street to pass, with the houses on each side
four or five stories high, all very old, the greater part already
thrown down, or continually falling, and threatening the passengers
with inevitable death at every step, numbers of whom lay killed before
me, or what I thought far more deplorable, so bruised and wounded that
they could not stir to help themselves. For my own part, as
destruction appeared to me unavoidable, I only wished I might be made
an end of at once, and not have my limbs broken, in which case I could
expect nothing else but to be left upon the spot, lingering in misery,
like those poor unhappy wretches, without receiving the least succor
from any person.

"As self-preservation, however, is the first law of nature, these sad
thoughts did not so far prevail as to make me totally despair. I
proceeded on as fast as I conveniently could, though with the utmost
caution, and having at length got clear of this horrid passage, I
found myself safe and unhurt in the large open space before St. Paul's
church, which had been thrown down a few minutes before, and buried a
great part of the congregation. Here I stood for some time,
considering what I should do, and not thinking myself safe in this
situation, I came to the resolution of climbing over the ruins of the
west end of the church, in order to get to the river's side, that I
might be removed as far as possible from the tottering houses, in case
of a second shock.

"This, with some difficulty, I accomplished, and here I found a
prodigious concourse of people of both sexes, and of all ranks and
conditions. There were several priests who had run from the altars in
their sacerdotal vestments; ladies half dressed, and some without
shoes; all these, whom their mutual dangers had here assembled as to a
place of safety, were on their knees at prayer, with the terrors of
death in their countenances.

"In the midst of these devotions the second great shock came on,
little less violent than the first, and completed the ruin of those
buildings which had been already much shattered. The consternation now
became so universal, that the shrieks and cries of the frightened
people could be distinctly heard from the top of St. Catherine's hill,
a considerable distance off, whither a vast number of the populace had
likewise retreated. At the same time we could hear the fall of the
parish church there, whereby many persons were killed on the spot, and
others mortally wounded. On a sudden I heard a general outcry, 'The
sea is coming in, we are lost!' Turning my eyes toward the river,
which at this place is nearly four miles broad, I could perceive it
heaving and swelling in a most unaccountable manner, as no wind was
stirring. In an instant there appeared, at some small distance, a
large body of water, rising as it were like a mountain. It came on
foaming and roaring, and rushed toward the shore with such
impetuosity, that we all immediately ran for our lives, as fast as
possible; many were actually swept away, and the rest were above their
waists in water, at a good distance from the bank.

"For my own part, I had the narrowest escape, and should certainly
have been lost, had I not grasped a large beam that lay on the ground,
till the water returned to its channel, which it did with equal
rapidity. As there now appeared at least as much danger from the sea
as the land, and I scarce knew whither to retire for shelter, I took a
sudden resolution of returning, with my clothes all dripping, to the
area of St. Paul's. Here I stood some time, and observed the ships
tumbling and tossing about as in a violent storm. Some had broken
their cables and were carried to the other side of the Tagus; others
were whirled around with incredible swiftness; several large boats
were turned keel upward; and all this without any wind, which seemed
the more astonishing.

"It was at the time of which I am now writing, that the fine new quay,
built entirely of rough marble, at an immense expense, was entirely
swallowed up, with all the people on it, who had fled thither for
safety, and had reason to think themselves out of danger in such a
place. At the same time a great number of boats and small vessels,
anchored near it, all likewise full of people, who had retired thither
for the same purpose, were all swallowed up, as in a whirlpool, and
never more appeared.

"This last dreadful incident I did not see with my own eyes, as it
passed three or four stone-throws from the spot where I then was, but
I had the account as here given from several masters of ships, who
were anchored within two or three hundred yards of the quay, and saw
the whole catastrophe. One of them in particular informed me that when
the second shock came on, he could perceive the whole city waving
backwards and forwards, like the sea when the wind first begins to
rise; that the agitation of the earth was so great, even under the
river, that it threw up his large anchor from the mooring, which
swam, as he termed it, on the surface of the water; that immediately
upon this extraordinary concussion, the river rose at once nearly
twenty feet, and in a moment subsided; at which instant he saw the
quay, with the whole concourse of people upon it, sink down, and at
the same time everyone of the boats and vessels that were near it were
drawn into the cavity, which he supposes instantly closed upon them,
inasmuch as not the least sign of a wreck was ever seen afterwards.

"I had not been long in the area of St. Paul's, when I felt the third
shock, which though somewhat less violent than the two former, the sea
rushed in again and retired with the same rapidity, and I remained up
to my knees in water, though I had gotten upon a small eminence at
some distance from the river, with the ruins of several intervening
houses to break its force. At this time I took notice the waters
retired so impetuously, that some vessels were left quite dry, which
rode in seven-fathom water. The river thus continued alternately
rushing on and retiring several times, in such sort that it was justly
dreaded Lisbon would now meet the same fate which a few years ago had
befallen the city of Lima. The master of a vessel which arrived here
just after the first of November assured me that he felt the shock
above forty leagues at sea so sensibly that he really concluded that
he had struck upon a rock, till he threw out the lead and could find
no bottom; nor could he possibly guess at the cause till the
melancholy sight of this desolate city left him no room to doubt it.

"I was now in such a situation that I knew not which way to turn; I
was faint from the constant fatigue I had undergone, and I had not yet
broken my fast. Yet this had not so much effect on me as the anxiety I
was under for a particular friend, who lodged at the top of a very
high house in the heart of the city, and being a stranger to the
language, could not but be in the utmost danger. I determined to go
and learn, if possible, what had become of him. I proceeded, with some
hazard, to the large space before the convent of Corpo Santo, which
had been thrown down, and buried a great number of people. Passing
through the new square of the palace, I found it full of coaches,
chariots, chaises, horses and mules, deserted by their drivers and
attendants, and left to starve.

"From this square the way led to my friend's lodgings through a long,
steep and narrow street. The new scenes of horror I met with here
exceed all description; nothing could be heard but sighs and groans. I
did not meet with a soul in the passage who was not bewailing the loss
of his nearest relations and dearest friends. I could hardly take a
single step without treading on the dead or dying. In some places lay
coaches, with their masters, horses and riders almost crushed in
pieces; here, mothers with infants in their arms; there, ladies richly
dressed, priests, friars, gentlemen, mechanics, either in the same
condition or just expiring; some had their backs broken, others great
stones on their breasts; some lay almost buried in the rubbish, and
crying out in vain for succor, were left to perish with the rest.

"At length I arrived at the spot opposite to the house where my
friend, for whom I was so anxious, resided; and finding this as well
as the other contiguous buildings thrown down, I gave him up for lost,
and thought only of saving my own life.

"In less than an hour I reached a public house, kept by a Mr. Morley,
near the English burying-ground, about a half a mile from the city,
where I found a great number of my countrymen in the same wretched
circumstances as myself.

"Perhaps you may think the present doleful subject here concluded; but
the horrors of the day are sufficient to fill a volume. As soon as it
grew dark, another scene presented itself, little less shocking than
those already described. The whole city appeared in a blaze, which was
so bright that I could easily see to read by it. It may be said
without exaggeration that it was on fire in at least a hundred
different places at once, and thus continued burning for six days
together, without intermission, or without the least attempt being
made to stop its progress.

"It went on consuming everything the earthquake had spared, and the
people were so dejected and terrified that few or none had courage
enough to venture down to save any part of their substance. I could
never learn that this terrible fire was owing to any subterraneous
eruption, as some reported, but to three causes, which all concurring
at the same time, will naturally account for the prodigious havoc it
made. The first of November being All Saint's Day, a high festival
among the Portuguese, every altar in every church and chapel, some of
which have more than twenty, was illuminated with a number of wax
tapers and lamps, as customary; these setting fire to the curtains and
timber work that fell with the shock, the conflagration soon spread to
the neighboring houses, and being there joined with the fires in the
kitchen chimneys, increased to such a degree, that it might easily
have destroyed the whole city, though no other cause had concurred,
especially as it met with no interruption.

"But what would appear almost incredible to you, were the fact less
notorious and public, is, that a gang of hardened villains, who had
escaped from prison when the wall fell, were busily employed in
setting fire to those buildings, which stood some chance of escaping
the general destruction. I cannot conceive what could have induced
them to this hellish work, except to add to the horror and confusion,
that they might, by this means, have the better opportunity of
plundering with security. But there was no necessity for taking this
trouble, as they might certainly have done their business without it,
since the whole city was so deserted before night, that I believe not
a soul remained in it, except those execrable villains, and others of
the same stamp. It is possible some of them might have had other
motives besides robbing, as one in particular being apprehended--they
say he was a Moor, condemned to the galleys--confessed at the gallows
that he had set fire to the King's palace with his own hand; at the
same time glorying in the action, and declaring with his last breath,
that he hoped to have burnt all the royal family.

"The whole number of persons that perished, including those who were
burnt or afterwards crushed to death whilst digging in the ruins, is
supposed, on the lowest calculation, to amount to more than sixty
thousand; and though the damage in other respects cannot be computed,
yet you may form some idea of it, when I assure you that this
extensive and opulent city is now nothing but a vast heap of ruins;
that the rich and poor are at present upon a level; some thousands of
families which but the day before had been in easy circumstances,
being now scattered about in the fields, wanting every convenience of
life, and finding none able to relieve them.

"In order that you may partly realize the prodigious havoc that has
been made, I will mention one more instance among the many that have
come under my notice. There was a high arched passage, like one of our
old city gates, fronting the west door of the ancient cathedral; on
the left hand was the famous church of St. Antonio, and on the right,
some private houses several stories high. The whole area surrounded by
all these buildings did not much exceed one of our small courts in
London. At the first shock, numbers of people who were then passing
under the arch, fled into the middle of this area for shelter; those
in the two churches, as many as could possibly get out, did the same.
At this instant, the arched gateway, with the fronts of the two
churches and contiguous buildings, all inclined one toward another
with the sudden violence of the shock, fell down and buried every soul
as they were standing here crowded together."

The portion of the earth's surface convulsed by this earthquake is
estimated by Humboldt to have been four times greater than the whole
extent of Europe. The shocks were felt not only over the Spanish
peninsula, but in Morocco and Algeria they were nearly as violent. At
a place about twenty-four miles from the city of Morocco, a great
fissure opened in the earth, and the entire village, with all its
inhabitants, upward of 8,000 in number, were precipitated into the
gulf, which immediately closed over its prey.

The earthquake was also felt as far to the westward as the West Indian
islands of Antigua, Barbados, and Martinique, where the tide, which
usually rises about two feet, was suddenly elevated above twenty feet,
the water being at the same time as black as ink. Toward the northwest
the shock was perceptible as far as Canada, whose great lakes were all
disturbed. Toward the east it extended to the Alps, to Thuringia, and
to Töplitz, where the hot springs were first dried up, and soon after
overflowed with ochreous water. In Scotland the waters both of Loch
Lomond and Loch Ness rose and fell repeatedly. Toward the northeast,
the shock was sensibly felt throughout the flat country of northern
Germany, in Sweden, and along the shores of the Baltic.

At sea, 140 miles to the southward of Lisbon, the ship Denia was
strained as if she had struck on a rock; the seams of the deck opened,
and the compass was upset. On board another ship, 120 miles to the
westward of Cape St. Vincent, the shock was so violent as to toss the
men up perpendicularly from the deck. The great sea wave rose along
the whole southern and western coasts of Portugal and Spain; and at
Cadiz it is said to have risen to a height of sixty feet. At Tangier,
on the northern coast of Africa, the tide rose and fell eighteen times
in rapid succession. At Funchal in Madeira, where the usual ebb and
flow of the tide is seven feet, it being half tide at the time, the
great wave rolled in, and at once raised the level of the water
fifteen feet above high water mark. This immense tide, rushing into
the city, caused great damage, and several other parts of the island
were similarly flooded. The tide was also suddenly raised on the
southern coast of Ireland; the




    =The Island Empire Subject to Convulsions of Nature--Legends
    of Ancient Disturbances--Famous Volcano of Fuji-yama Formed
    in One Night--More Than One Hundred Volcanoes in Japan--Two
    Hundred and Thirty-two Eruptions Recorded--Devastation of
    Thriving Towns and Busy Cities--The Capital a Sufferer--Scenes
    of Desolation after the Most Recent Great Earthquakes.=

Japan may be considered the home of the volcano and the earthquake.
Few months pass there without one or more earth shocks of considerable
force, besides numerous lighter ones of too slight a nature to be
worthy of remark. Japanese histories furnish many records of these

There is an ancient legend of a great earthquake in 286 B.C., when
Mount Fuji rose from the bottom of the sea in a single night. This is
the highest and most famous mountain of the country. It rises more
than 12,000 feet above the water level, and is in shape like a cone;
the crater is 500 feet deep. It is regarded by the natives as a sacred
mountain, and large numbers of pilgrims make the ascent to the summit
at the commencement of the summer. The apex is shaped somewhat like an
eight-petaled lotus flower, and offers from three to five peaks to
view from different directions. Though now apparently extinct, it was
in former times an active volcano, and the histories of the country
mention several very disastrous eruptions. Japanese poets never weary
in celebrating the praises of Fuji-san, or Fuji-yama, as it is
variously called, and its conical form is one of the most familiar in
Japanese painting and decorative art.

As Japan has not yet been scientifically explored throughout, and,
moreover, as there is considerable difficulty in defining the kind of
mountain to be regarded as a volcano, it is impossible to give an
absolute statement as to the number of volcanoes in the country. If
under the term volcano be included all mountains which have been in a
state of eruption within the historical period, those which have a
true volcanic form, together with those that still exhibit on their
flanks matter ejected from a crater, we may conclude that there are at
least 100 such mountains in the Japanese empire. Of this number about
forty-eight are still active.

Altogether about 232 eruptions have been recorded, and of these the
greater number took place in the southern districts. This may perhaps
be accounted for by the fact that Japanese civilization advanced from
the south. In consequence of this, records were made of various
phenomena in the south when the northern regions were still unknown
and unexplored.

The most famous of the active volcanoes is Asama-yama in Shinano. The
earliest eruption of this mountain of which record now exists seems to
have been in 1650. After that it was only feebly active for 133 years,
when there occurred a very severe eruption in 1783. Even as late as
1870 there was a considerable emission of volcanic matter, at which
time also violent shocks of earthquake were felt at Yokohama. The
crater is very deep, with irregular rocky walls of a sulphur
character, from apertures in which fumes are constantly sent forth.

Probably the earliest authentic instance of an earthquake in Japan is
that which is said to have occurred in 416 A.D., when the imperial
palace at Kioto was thrown to the ground. Again, in 599, the buildings
throughout the province of Yamato were all destroyed, and special
prayers were ordered to be offered up to the deity of earthquakes. In
679 a tremendous shock caused many fissures to open in the provinces
of Chikuzen and Chikugo, in Kiushiu; the largest of these chasms was
over four miles in length and about twenty feet in width. In 829 the
northern province of Dewa was visited in a similar manner; the castle
of Akita was overthrown, deep rifts were formed in the ground in every
direction, and the Akita river was dried up.

To descend to more recent instances, in 1702 the lofty walls of the
outside and inside moats of the castle of Yeddo were destroyed, tidal
waves broke along the coast in the vicinity, and the road leading
through the famous pass of Hakone, in the hills to the east of
Fuji-yama was closed up by the alteration in the surface of the earth.
A period of unusual activity was between the years 1780 and 1800, a
time when there was great activity elsewhere on the globe. It was
during this period that Mount Unsen was blown up, and from 27,000 to
53,000 persons (according to different accounts) perished; that many
islands were formed in the Satsuma sea; that Sakura-jima threw out so
much pumice material that it was possible to walk a distance of
twenty-three miles upon the floating debris in the sea; and that Asama
ejected so many blocks of stone--one of which is said to have been
forty-two feet in diameter--and a lava-stream sixty-eight kilometres
in length.

In 1854 an earthquake destroyed the town of Shimoda, in the province
of Idzu, and a Russian frigate, lying in the harbor at the time, was
so severely damaged by the waves caused by the shock that she had to
be abandoned. In 1855 came a great earthquake which was felt most
severely at Yedo, though its destructive power extended for some
distance to the west along the line of the Tokaido. It is stated that
on this occasion there were in all 14,241 dwelling houses and 1,649
fire proof store houses overturned in the city, and a destructive fire
which raged at the same time further increased the loss of life and

What was possibly the gravest disaster of its class in this land of
volcanoes, since the terrible eruptions which came in the twenty years
ending in 1800, occurred in the Bandai-san region in northern Japan,
on July 15, 1888. At about eight o'clock in the morning of that day,
almost in the twinkling of an eye, Little Bandai-san was blown into
the air, and wiped out of the map of Japan. A few moments later its
debris had buried or devastated the surrounding country for miles, and
a dozen or more of upland hamlets had been overwhelmed in the earthen
deluge, or wrecked by other phenomena attending the outburst. Several
hundreds of people had met with sudden and terrible death; scores of
others had been injured; and the long roll of disaster included the
destruction of horses and cattle, damming up of rivers, and laying
waste of large tracts of rice-land and mulberry groves.

A small party was organized in Tokio to visit the scene. As the
travelers approached the mountain, they were told that twenty miles in
a straight line from Bandai-san no noise or earthquake was experienced
on the 15th, but mist and gloom prevailed for about seven hours, the
result of a shower of impalpable blue-gray ash, which fell to a depth
of half an inch, and greatly puzzled the inhabitants. An ascent of
about 3,000 feet was made to the back of the newly formed crater, so
as to obtain a clear view of it and of the country which had been
overwhelmed. Only on nearing the end of the ascent was the party again
brought face to face with signs of the explosion. Here, besides the
rain of fine, gray, ashen mud which had fallen on and still covered
the ground and all vegetation, they came upon a number of freshly
opened pits, evidently in some way the work of the volcano. Ascending
the last steep rise to the ridge behind Little Bandai-san, signs of
the great disaster grew in number and intensity.

The London Times correspondent, who was one of the party, wrote:
"Fetid vapors swept over us, emanating from evil looking pools. Great
trees, torn up by their roots, lay all around; and the whole face of
the mountain wore the look of having been withered by some fierce and
baleful blast. A few minutes further and we had gained the crest of
the narrow ridge, and now, for the first time, looked forth upon the
sight we had come to see. I hardly know which to pronounce the more
astonishing, the prospect that now opened before our eyes or the
suddenness with which it burst upon us. To the former no more fitting
phrase, perhaps, can be applied than that of absolute, unredeemed
desolation--so intense, so sad, and so bewildering that I despair of
describing it adequately in detail.

"On our right, a little above us, rose the in-curved rear wall of
what, eight days before, had been Sho-Bandai-san, a ragged, almost
sheer cliff, falling, with scarce a break, to a depth of fully 600
feet. In front of the cliff everything had been blown away and
scattered over the face of the country before it, in a roughly
fan-shaped deposit of for the most part unknown depth--deep enough,
however, to erase every landmark, and conceal every feature of the
deluged area. At the foot of the cliff, clouds of suffocating steam
rose ceaselessly and angrily, and with loud roaring, from two great
fissures in the crater bed, and now and then assailed us with their
hellish odor. To our eyes, the base, denuded by the explosion, seemed
to cover a space of between three and four square miles. This,
however, can only be rough conjecture. Equally vague must be all
present attempts to determine the volume of the disrupted matter. Yet,
if we assume, as a very moderate calculation, that the mean depth of
the debris covering a buried area of thirty square miles is not less
than fifteen feet, we find that the work achieved by this great mine
of Nature's firing was the upheaval and wide distribution of no fewer
than 700,000,000 tons of earth, rocks, and other ponderous material.
The real figure is probably very much greater."

The desolation beyond the crater, and the mighty mass thrown out by
the volcano which covered the earth, were almost incredible. "Down the
slopes of Bandai-san, across the valley of the Nagase-gawa, choking up
the river, and stretching beyond it to the foothills, five or six
miles away, swept a vast, billowy sheet of ash-covered earth or mud,
obliterating every foot of the erstwhile smiling landscape. Here and
there the eyes rested on huge, disordered heaps of rocky debris, in
the distance resembling nothing so much as the giant, concrete, black
substructure of some modern breakwater. It was curious to see on the
farther side the sharp line of demarkation between the brown sea of
mud and the green forests on which it had encroached; or, again, the
lakes formed in every tributary glen of the Nagase-gawa by the massive
dams so suddenly raised against the passage of their stream waters.
One lake was conspicuous among the rest. It was there that the
Nagase-gawa itself had been arrested at its issue from a narrow pass
by a monster barrier of disrupted matter thrown right across its
course. Neither living thing nor any sign of life could be discerned
over the whole expanse. All was dismally silent and solitary. Beneath
it, however, lay half a score of hamlets, and hundreds of corpses of
men, women and children, who had been overtaken by swift and painful

Although the little village of Nagasaka was comparatively uninjured,
nearly all its able-bodied inhabitants lost their lives in a manner
which shows the extraordinary speed with which the mud-stream flowed.
When Little Bandai-san blew up, and hot ashes and sand began to fall,
the young and strong fled panic-stricken across the fields, making for
the opposite hills by paths well known to all. A minute later came a
thick darkness, as of midnight. Blinded by this, and dazed by the
falling debris and other horrors of the scene, their steps, probably
also their senses, failed them. And before the light returned every
soul was caught by a swift bore of soft mud, which, rushing down the
valley bed, overwhelmed them in a fate more horrible and not less
sudden than that of Pharaoh and his host. None escaped save those who
stayed at home--mostly the old and very young.

A terrible earthquake convulsed central Japan on the morning of
October 25, 1891. The waves of disturbance traversed thirty-one
provinces, over which the earth's crust was violently shaken for ten
minutes together, while slighter shocks were felt for a distance of
400 miles to the north, and traveled under the sea a like distance,
making themselves felt in a neighboring island. In Tokio itself,
though 170 miles from the center of disturbance, it produced an
earthquake greater than any felt for nearly forty years, lasting
twelve minutes. Owing, however, to the character of the movement,
which was a comparatively slow oscillation, the damage was confined to
the wrecking of some roofs and chimneys. Very different were its
results in the central zone of agitation, concerning which a
correspondent wrote as follows:

"There was a noise as of underground artillery, a shake, a second
shake, and in less than thirty seconds the Nagoya-Gifu plain, covering
an area of 1,200 square miles, became a sea of waves, more than 40,000
houses fell, and thousands of people lost their lives. The sequence of
events was approximately as follows: To commence at Tokio, the
capital, which is some 200 miles from the scene of the disaster, on
October 25th, very early in the morning, the inhabitants were alarmed
by a long, easy swaying of the ground, and many sought refuge outside
their doors. There were no shocks, but the ground moved back and
forth, swung round, and rose and fell with the easy, gentle motion of
a raft upon an ocean swell. Many became dizzy, and some were seized
with nausea."

These indications, together with the movements of the seismographs,
denoted a disturbance at a considerable distance, but the first
surmise that it was located under the Pacific Ocean, was unfortunately
incorrect. The scene of the catastrophe was indicated only by tidings
from its outskirts, as all direct news was cut off by the interruption
of railway and telegraphic communication. An exploratory and relief
party started on the second day from Tokio, not knowing how far they
would be able to proceed by train, and the correspondent who
accompanied them thus described his experiences:

"Leaving Tokio by a night train, early next morning we were at
Hamamatsu, 137 miles distant from Tokio, on the outside edge of the
destructive area. Here, although the motion had been sufficiently
severe to destroy some small warehouses, to displace the posts
supporting the heavy roof of a temple, and to ruffle a few tiles along
the eaves of the houses, nothing serious had occurred. At one point,
owing to the lateral spreading of an embankment, there had been a
slight sinkage of the line, and we had to proceed with caution.
Crossing the entrance to the beautiful lake of Hamana Ko, which
tradition says was joined to the sea by the breaking of a sand-spit by
the sea waves accompanying an earthquake in 1498, we rose from the
rice fields and passed over a country of hill and rock. Further along
the line signs of violent movement became more numerous. Huge stone
lanterns at the entrances of temples had been rotated or overturned,
roofs had lost their tiles, especially along the ridge, sinkages in
the line became numerous, and although there was yet another rock
barrier between us and the plain of great destruction, it was evident
that we were in an area where earth movements had been violent."

The theatre of maximum destruction was a plain, dotted with villages
and homesteads, supporting, under the garden-like culture of Japan,
500 and 800 inhabitants to the square mile, and containing two cities,
Nagoya and Gifu, with populations respectively of 162,000 and 30,000,
giving probably a round total of half a million human beings. Within
about twelve miles of Gifu, a subsidence on a vast scale took place,
engulfing a whole range of hills, while over lesser areas the soil in
many places slipped down, carrying with it dwellings and their
inmates. Gifu was a total wreck, devastated by ruin and conflagration,
causing the destruction of half its houses. Ogaki, nine miles to the
west, fared even worse, for here only 113 out of 4,434 houses
remained standing, and one-tenth of the population were killed or
wounded. In one temple, where service was being held, only two out of
the entire congregation escaped.

Nagoya, too, suffered heavily, and thousands of houses collapsed. The
damage at this place was produced by three violent shocks in quick
succession, preceded by a deep, booming sound. During the succeeding
206 hours, 6,600 earth spasms of greater or less intensity were felt
at increasing intervals, occurring in the beginning probably at the
rate of one a minute. The inhabitants were driven to bivouac in rude
shelters in the streets, and there was great suffering among the
injured, to whom it was impossible to give proper care for many days
after the disaster. Some estimates placed the figure of the killed and
wounded as high as 24,000, whilst not less than 300,000 were rendered

Owing to the frequency of earthquake shocks in Japan, the study of
their causes and effects has had a great deal of attention there since
the introduction of modern science into the island empire. The
Japanese have proved as energetic in this direction as they are in
purely material progress on the lines of western civilization, and
already they are recognized as the most advanced of all people in
their study of seismology and its accompanying phenomena.




    =The Volcano That Blew Its Own Head Off--The Terrific Crash
    Heard Three Thousand Miles--Atmospheric Waves Travel Seven
    Times Around the Earth--A Pillar of Dust Seventeen Miles
    High--Islands of the Malay Archipelago Blotted Out of
    Existence--Native Villages Annihilated--Other Disastrous
    Upheavals in the East Indies.=

One of the fairest regions of the world is the Malay Archipelago of
the East Indies. Here nature is prodigal with her gifts to man, and
the cocoa-palm, cinnamon and other trees flourish, and rice, cotton,
the sugar cane and tobacco yield their increase under cultivation. But
beneath these scenes of loveliness, there are terrific energies, for
this region is a focus of intense volcanic action. In the Sunda
strait, between Sumatra and Java, there lies a group of small volcanic
islands, the largest of which is Krakatoa. It forms part of the "basal
wreck" of a large submarine volcano, whose visible edges are also
represented by Velaten and Lang islands.

For two hundred years the igneous forces beneath Krakatoa remained
dormant; but in September, 1880, premonitory shocks of earthquake were
heard in the neighborhood. At length the inhabitants of Batavia and
Bintenzorg were startled on May 20, 1883, by booming sounds which came
from Krakatoa, one hundred miles distant. A mail steamer passing
through the strait, had her compass violently agitated. Next day a
sprinkling of ashes was noticed at some places on each side of the
strait, and toward evening a steam-column rising from Krakatoa
revealed the locality of the disturbance. The commander of the German
war ship Elisabeth, while passing, estimated the dust-column to be
about thirty-six thousand feet, or seven miles high.

Volcanic phenomena being common to that region, no fears were
entertained by the inhabitants in the vicinity; and an excursion party
even started from Batavia to visit the scene of action. They reached
the island on May 27th, and saw that the cone of Perborwatan was
active, and that a column of vapor arose from it to a height of not
less than ten thousand feet, while lumps of pumice were shot up to
about six hundred feet. Explosions occurred at intervals of from five
to ten minutes, each of these outbursts uncovering the liquid lava in
the vent, the glow of which lighted up the overhanging steam-cloud for
a few seconds.

Shortly after this visit the activity diminished. But on June 19th it
was noticed at Anjer that the height of the dust and vapor-column, and
likewise the explosions were again increasing. On the 24th a second
column was seen rising. At length, Captain Ferzenaar, chief of the
Topographical Survey of Bantam, visited Krakatoa island on August
11th. He found its forests destroyed, and the mantle of dust near the
shores was twenty inches thick. Three large vapor-columns were noted,
one marking the position of the crater of Perborwatan, while the other
two were in the center of the island, and of the latter, one was
probably Danan. There were also no less than eleven other eruptive
foci, from which issued smaller steam-columns and dust. This was the
last report prior to the great paroxysm.

During the next two or three weeks there was a decline in the energy
of the volcano, but on the afternoon of Sunday, August 26th, and all
through the following night, it was evident that the period of
moderate eruptive action had passed, and that Krakatoa had now
entered upon the paroxysmal stage. From sunset on Sunday till midnight
the tremendous detonations followed each other so quickly that a
continuous roar may be said to have issued from the island. The full
terrors of the eruption were now approaching. The distance of
ninety-six miles from Krakatoa was not sufficient to permit sleep to
the inhabitants of Batavia. All night volcanic thunders sounded like
the discharges of artillery at their very doors. On the next morning
there were four mighty explosions. The third was of appalling
violence, and it gave rise to the most far-reaching effects. The
entire series of grand phenomena at that spot extended over a little
more than thirty-six hours.

Captain Thompson, of the Media, then seventy-six miles northeast of
Krakatoa, saw a black mass like smoke rising into the clouds to an
altitude estimated at not less than seventeen miles. The eruption was
also viewed by Captain Wooldridge at a distance of forty miles. He
speaks of the vapory mass looking like "an immense wall, with bursts
of forked lightning, at times like large serpents rushing through the
air." After sunset this dark wall resembled "a blood-red curtain with
the edges of all shades of yellow, the whole of a murky tinge, with
fierce flashes of lightning." Two other masters of vessels, at about
the same distance from the volcano, report seeing the mastheads and
yardarms of their ships aglow with electric fire. Such effects seem to
be easily explicable. When we consider how enormous must be the
friction going on in the hot air, through the clash against each other
of myriads of particles of volcanic dust, during ejection and in their
descent, it is evident that such friction is adequate to produce a
widespread electrical disturbance in the surrounding atmosphere. The
rush of steam through craters or other fissures would also contribute
to these disturbances.

From these causes the compasses of passing ships were much disturbed.
And yet the fall of magnetic oxide of iron (magnetite), a constituent
of volcanic ash, possibly had some share in creating these
perturbations. On the telephone line from Ishore, which included a
submarine cable about a mile long, reports like pistol shots were
heard. At Singapore, five hundred miles from Krakatoa, it was noted at
the Oriental Telephone Company's station that, on putting the receiver
to the ear, a roar like that of a waterfall was heard. So great was
the mass of vapor and dust in the air, that profound darkness, which
lasted many hours, extended even to one hundred and fifty miles from
the focus of the eruption. There is the record, among others, that it
was "pitch dark" at Anjer at two o'clock in the afternoon of the 26th.

So great, too, was the ejective force that the fine volcanic dust was
blown up to a height of fifty thousand feet, or over nine miles, into
space. Another estimate gives the enormous altitude of seventeen miles
to which the dust had been blown. The volcanic ash, which fell upon
the neighboring islands within a circle of nine and one half miles
radius, was from sixty-five to one hundred and thirty feet thick. At
the back of the island the thickness of the ash beds was from one
hundred and ninety-five to two hundred and sixty feet. Masses of
floating pumice encumbered the strait. The coarser particles of this
ash fell over a known area equal to 285,170 square miles, a space
equal to the whole of the New England States, New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. It is calculated that the
matter so ejected must have been considerably over a cubic mile in

Another distinguishing feature of this display of nature's powers was
the magnitude and range of the explosive sounds. Lloyd's agent at
Batavia, ninety-four miles distant from Krakatoa, reported that on the
morning of the 27th the reports and concussions were simply deafening.
At Carimon, Java, which is three hundred and fifty-five miles distant,
the natives heard reports which led them to suppose that a distant
ship was in distress; boats put off for what proved to be a futile
search. The explosions were heard not only all over the province of
Macassar, nine hundred and sixty-nine miles from the scene of the
eruption, but over a yet wider area. At a spot one thousand one
hundred and sixteen miles distant--St. Lucia bay, Borneo--some natives
heard the awful sound. It stirred their consciences, for, being guilty
of murder, they fled, fearing that such sounds signified the approach
of an avenging force. Again, in the island of Timor, one thousand
three hundred and fifty-one miles away, the people were so alarmed
that the government sent off a steamer to seek the cause of the

At that time, also, the shepherds on the Victoria plains, West
Australia, thought they heard the firing of heavy artillery, at a spot
one thousand seven hundred miles distant. At midnight, August 26th,
the people of Daly Waters, South Australia, were aroused by what they
thought was the blasting of a rock, a sound which lasted a few
minutes. "The time and other circumstances show that here again was
Krakatoa heard, this time at the enormous distance of two thousand and
twenty-three miles." And yet there is trustworthy evidence that the
sounds were heard over even greater distances. Thundering noises were
heard at Diego Garcia, in the Chagos islands, two thousand two hundred
and sixty-seven miles from Krakatoa. It was imagined that some vessel
must be in distress, and search was accordingly made. But most
remarkable of all, Mr. James Wallis, chief of police in Rodriguez,
across the Indian ocean, and nearly three thousand miles away from
Krakatoa, made a statement in which he said that "several times during
the night of August 26th-27th reports were heard coming from the
eastward like the distant roar of heavy guns. These reports continued
at intervals of between three and four hours." Obviously, some time
was needed for the sounds to make such a journey. On the basis of the
known rate of velocity, they must have been heard at Rodriguez four
hours after they started from their source.

And yet, great as was the range of such vibrations, they could not be
compared with that of the air-wave caused by the mighty outburst. This
atmospheric wave started from Krakatoa at two minutes past ten on that
eventful Monday morning, moving onward in an ever-widening circle,
like that produced when a stone is thrown into smooth water. This
ring-like wave traveled on at the rate of from six hundred and
seventy-four to seven hundred and twenty-six miles an hour, and went
around the world four, if not even seven times, as evidenced by the
following facts: Batavia is nearly a hundred miles from the eruptive
focus under review. There was connected with its gas-holder the usual
pressure recorder. About thirteen minutes after the great outburst,
this gauge showed a barometric disturbance equal to about four-tenths
of an inch of mercury, that is, an extra air pressure of about a fifth
of a pound on every square inch. The effects on the air of minor
paroxysmal outbreaks are also recorded by this instrument; but
barometers in the most distant places record the same disturbance. The
great wave passed and repassed over the globe and no inhabitant was
conscious of the fact. Barometers in the principal cities of the world
automatically recorded this effect of the first great wave from
Krakatoa to its antipodes in Central America, and also the return
wave. The first four oscillations left their mark on upward of forty
barograms, the fifth and sixth on several, and at Kew, England, the
existence of a seventh was certainly established.

At the same time that this immense aerial undulation started on its
tour around the world, another wave but of awful destructiveness, a
seismic sea-wave, started on a similar journey. There can hardly be a
doubt that this so-called "tidal-wave" was synchronous with the
greatest of the explosions. A wave from fifty to seventy-two feet high
arose and swept with resistless fury upon the shores each side of the
straits. The destruction to life and property will probably never be
fully known. At least thirty-six thousand lives were lost; a great
part of the district of North Bantam was destroyed; and the towns of
Anjer, Merak, Tyringin, and neighboring villages were overwhelmed. A
man-of-war, the Berouw, was cast upon the shore of Sumatra nearly two
miles inland, and masses of coral from twenty to fifty tons in weight
were torn from the bed of the sea and swept upon the shore.

The formerly fertile and densely populated islands of Sibuku and
Sibesi were entirely covered by a deposit of dry mud several yards
thick, and furrowed by deep crevasses. Of the inhabitants all perished
to a man. Three islands, Steers, Calmeyer, and the islet east of
Verlaten, completely disappeared and were covered by twelve or
fourteen feet of water. Verlaten, formerly one mass of verdure, was
uniformly covered with a layer of ashes about one hundred feet thick.

A few days after this eruption some remarkable sky effects were
observed in different parts of the world. Many of these effects were
of extraordinary beauty. Accordingly scientific inquiry was made, and
in due time there was collected and tabulated a list of places from
whence these effects were seen, together with the dates of such
occurrences. Eventually it was concluded that such optical phenomena
had a common cause, and that it must be the dust of ultra-microscopic
fineness at an enormous altitude. All the facts indicated that such a
cloud started from the Sunda straits, and that the prodigious force of
the Krakatoa eruption could at that time alone account for the
presence of impalpable matter at such a height in the atmosphere.

This cloud traveled at about double the speed of an express train, by
way of the tropics of Cancer and of Capricorn. Carried by
westerly-going winds, in three days it had crossed the Indian Ocean
and was rapidly moving over Central Africa; two days later it was
flying over the Atlantic; then, for two more days over Brazil, and
then across the Pacific toward its birth-place. But the wind still
carried this haze of fine particles onward, and again it went around
the world within a fortnight. In November, the dust area had expanded
so as to include North America and Europe.

Here are a few facts culled from the report of the Royal Society of
London. On the 28th, at Seychelles, the sun was seen as through a fog
at sunset, and there was a lurid glare all over the sky. At the island
of Rodriguez, on that day, "a strange, red, threatening sky was seen
at sunset." At Mauritius (28th), there is the record "Crimson dawn,
sun red after rising, gorgeous sunset, first of the afterglows; sky
and clouds yellow and red up to the zenith." 28th and 29th,
Natal--"most vivid sunsets, also August 31st and September 5th, sky
vivid red, fading into green and purple." On the last days of August
and September 1st, the sun, as seen from South America, appeared blue,
while at Panama on the 2nd and 3d of that month, the sun appeared
green. "On the 2nd of September, Trinidad, Port of Spain--Sun looked
like a blue ball, and after sunset the sky became so red that there
was supposed to be a big fire." "On the 5th of September,
Honolulu--Sun set green. Remarkable afterglow first seen. Secondary
glow lasted till 7:45 P. M., gold, green and crimson colors. Corona
constantly seen from September 5th to December 15th. Misty rippled
surface of haze."

It remains to be said that when this now famous island of Krakatoa was
visited shortly after the great eruption, wonderful changes were
noted. The whole northern and lower portion of the island had
vanished, except an isolated pitchstone rock, ten yards square, and
projecting out of the ocean with deep water all around it. What a
tremendous work of evisceration this must have been is attested by the
fact that where Krakatoa island, girt with luxuriant forests, once
towered from three hundred to fourteen hundred feet above the sunlit
waters, it is now, in some places, more than a thousand feet below

There is no region more frequently visited by earthquakes than the
beautiful lands in the Indian ocean, and nowhere has greater damage
been done than on the beautiful island of Java. In former ages Sumatra
and Java formed one single island, but in the year 1115, after a
terrific earthquake, the isthmus which connected them, disappeared in
the waves with all its forests and fertile fields.

These two islands have more than 200 volcanoes, half of which have
never been explored, but it is known that whenever there has been an
eruption of any one of them, one or the other of the two islands has
been visited by an earthquake. Moreover, earthquakes are so frequent
in the whole archipelago that the principal ones serve as dates to
mark time or to refer to, just as in our own country is the case with
any great historic event. A month rarely passes without the soil being
shaken, and the disappearance of a village is of frequent occurrence.

In 1822 the earthquake which accompanied the eruption of the Javanese
volcano of Yalung-Yung, utterly destroyed 144 towns and villages. In
1772, when the Papand-Yung was in a state of furious eruption, the
island of Java was violently agitated, and a tract of nearly
twenty-five square leagues, which but the day before had been covered
with flourishing villages and farms, was reduced to a heap of ruins.
In 1815 an earthquake, accompanied by an eruption of the volcano of
Timboro, in the island of Sumatra, destroyed more than 20,000 lives.

It is rare even in this archipelago that there occurs a cataclysm so
terrible as that of 1883. When the first eruption of Krakatoa occurred
on August 25, it seemed that it was a signal to the other volcanoes of
Java and Sumatra. By midday Maha-Meru, the greatest, if not the most
active of the Javanese volcanoes, was belching forth flame
continuously. The eruption soon extended to the Gunung-Guntus and
other volcanoes, until a third of the forty-five craters in Java were
either in full blast, or beginning to show signs of eruption. While
these eruptions were going on, the sea was in a state of tremendous
agitation. The clouds floating above the water were charged with
electricity, and at one moment there were fifteen large water-spouts
to be seen at the same time.

Men, women and children fled in terror from their crumbling
habitations, and filled the air with their cries of distress. Hundreds
of them who had not time to escape were buried beneath the ruins. On
Sunday evening the violence of the shocks and of the volcanic
eruptions increased, and the island of Java seemed likely to be
entirely submerged. Enormous waves dashed against the shore, and in
some cases forced their way inland, while enormous crevices opened in
the ground, threatening to engulf at one fell swoop all the
inhabitants and their houses.

Toward midnight there was a scene of horror passing the powers of
imagination. A luminous cloud gathered above the chain of the
Kandangs, which run along the southeastern coast of Java. This cloud
increased in size each minute, until at last it came to form a sort of
dome of a gray and blood-red color, which hung over the earth for a
considerable distance. In proportion as this cloud grew, the eruptions
gained fresh force, and the floods of lava poured down the mountain
sides without ceasing, and spread into the valleys, where they swept
all before them. On Monday morning, about two o'clock, the heavy cloud
suddenly broke up, and finally disappeared, but when the sun rose it
was found that a tract of country extending from Point Capucine to the
south as far as Negery Passoerang, to the north and west, and covering
an area of about fifty square miles, had entirely disappeared.

There stood the previous day the villages of Negery, and Negery
Babawang. Not one of the inhabitants had escaped. They and their
villages had been swallowed up by the sea.




    =Greatest Volcanoes in the World Are Under the American
    Flag--Huge Craters in Our Pacific Islands--Native
    Worship of the Gods of the Flaming Mountains--Eruptions
    of the Past--Heroic Defiance of Pele, the Goddess of
    Volcanoes, by a Brave Hawaiian Queen--The Spell of
    Superstition Broken--Volcanic Peaks in Alaska, Our
    Northern Territory--Aleutian Islands Report Eruptions.=

Under the American flag we are ourselves the possessors of some of the
greatest active volcanoes in the world, and the greatest of all
craters, the latter extinct indeed, for many years, but with a latent
power that no one could conceive should it once more begin activity.

Hawaii, Paradise of the Pacific, raised by the fires of the very
Inferno out of the depths of the ocean centuries ago, to become in
recent years a smiling land of tropic beauty and an American island
possession! Hawaii is the land of great volcanoes, sometimes
slumbering and again pouring forth floods of molten fire to overwhelm
the peaceful villages and arouse the superstitious fears of the

Alaska, too, is a region of great volcanic ranges and eruptive
activity, the Aleutian islands being raised from the bed of the
Pacific by the same natural forces.

The Hawaiian islands occupy a central position in the North Pacific
ocean, about 2,000 miles west of the California coast. The group
includes eight inhabited islands, all of volcanic origin, and they
are, substantially, naught but solid aggregations of fused, basaltic
rock shot up from the earth's center, during outbursts of bye-gone
ages, and cooled into mountains of stone here in the midst of the
greatest body of water on the globe. In many localities, however, the
accretions of centuries have so covered them with vegetable growths
that their general appearance is not greatly different from that of
other sections of the earth's surface.

The largest of the group is Hawaii, and it includes nearly two-thirds
of the total area. Here stand the highest mountains found on any
island in the known world. Only a few peaks of the Alps are as high as
Mauna Loa (Long mountain), which towers 13,675 feet above the level of
the sea, and Mauna Kea (White mountain), the height of which is 13,805
feet. In east Maui stands Haleakala, with an elevation about equal to
that of Mount Ætna. This extinct volcano enjoys the distinction of
having the largest crater in the world, a monstrous pit, thirty miles
in circumference and 2,000 feet deep. The vast, irregular floor
contains more than a dozen subsidiary craters or great cones, some of
them 750 feet high. At the Kaupo and Koolau gaps the lava is supposed
to have burst through and made its way down the mountain sides. The
cones are distinctly marked as one looks down upon them; and it is
remarkable that from the summit the eye takes in the whole crater, and
notes all its contents, diminished, of course, by their great
distance. Not a tree, shrub, nor even a tuft of grass obstructs the
view. The natives have no traditions of Haleakala in activity. There
are signs of several lava flows, and one in particular is clearly much
more recent than the others.

The greatest point of interest in the islands is the great crater of
Kilauea. It is nine miles in circumference and perhaps a thousand feet
deep. Nowhere else within the knowledge of mankind is there a living
crater to be compared with it. Moreover, there is no crater which can
be entered and explored with ease and comparative safety save Kilauea
alone. There have been a few narrow escapes, but no accidents, and it
is needless to add that no description can give anyone an adequate
idea of the incomparable splendor of the scene. It is, indeed, a
"bottomless pit," bounded on all sides by precipitous rocks. The
entrance is effected by a series of steps, and below these by a
scramble over lava and rock debris. The greater part of the crater is
a mass of dead, though not cold, lava; and over this the journey is
made to the farthest extremity of the pit, where it is necessary to
ascend a tolerably steep hill of lava, which is the bank of the fiery
lake. A step or two brings one close to the awful margin, and he looks
down over smoking, frightful walls, three hundred feet or more, into a
great boiling, bubbling, sizzling sea of fire.

The tendency of the current, if it may be so called, is centripetal,
though at times it varies, flowing to one side; while along the
borders of the pit, waves of slumbering lava, apparently as unmovable
as those over which the traveler has just crossed, lie in wrinkled
folds and masses, heaped against the shore. If one watches those waves
closely, however, he will presently observe what appears like a fiery,
red serpent coming up out of the lake and creeping through and under
them, like a chain of brilliant flame, its form lengthening as it
goes, until it has circumscribed a large share of the entire basin.
Then it begins to spread and flatten, as though the body had burst
asunder and was dissolving back again, along its whole trail, into the
fierce flood of turbulent fury whence it came.

Soon the broad, thick mass of lava, thus surrounded, which seemed
fixed and immovable, slowly drifts off from the shore to the center of
the lake; reminding one of detached cakes of broken ice, such as are
often seen in winter when the thaws come, or during spring freshets
when the streams burst their encrusted chains. The force of this
comparison is strengthened when those cakes reach the center, for
there they go to pieces exactly after the manner of large pieces of
ice, and turning upon their edges, disappear in the ravenous vortex
below, which is forever swallowing up all that approaches it, giving
nothing back in return.

Two kinds of lava form on the face of the lake. One is stony, hard,
and brittle; the other flexible and tough, similar to India-rubber.
The flexible kind forms exclusively on one side of the basin and
spreads over it like an immense, sombre blanket; and, as it floats
down in slow procession to the central abyss, occasionally rises and
falls with a flapping motion, by force of the generated gases
underneath, like a sheet shaken in the wind.

Occasionally, the fire forces its way through this covering and
launches huge, sputtering fountains of red-hot liquid lava high into
the air, with a noise that resembles distant bombs exploding; and
again, multitudes of smaller founts burst into blossom all over the
lake, presenting a spectacle of wild beauty across its entire surface.

In Hawaiian mythology, Pele was the goddess of volcanoes, and she and
her numerous family formed a class of deities by themselves. She with
her six sisters, Hiiaka, her brother Kamohoalii, and others, were said
to have emigrated from Kahiki (Samoa) in ancient times. They were said
to have first lived at Moanalua in Oahu, then to have moved their
residence to Kalaupapa, Molokai, then to Haleakala, and finally to
have settled on Hawaii. Their headquarters were in the Halemaumau, in
the crater of Kilauea, but they also caused the eruptions of Mauna Loa
and Hualalai. In southern Hawaii Pele was feared more than any other
deity, and no one dared to approach her abode without making her an
offering of the ohelo-berries that grow in the neighborhood. Whenever
an eruption took place, great quantities of hogs and other articles of
property were thrown into the lava stream in order to appease her

In 1824, Kapiolani, the daughter of a great chief of Hilo, having been
converted to Christianity by the missionaries, determined to break the
spell of the native belief in Pele. In spite of the strenuous
opposition of her friends and even of her husband, she made a journey
of about 150 miles, mostly on foot, from Kealakekua to Hilo, visiting
the great crater of Kilauea on her way, in order to defy the wrath of
Pele, and to prove that no such being existed.

On approaching the volcano, she met the priestess of Pele, who warned
her not to go near the crater and predicted her death if she violated
the tabus of the goddess.

"Who are you?" demanded Kapiolani.

"One in whom the goddess dwells," she replied.

In answer to a pretended letter of Pele, Kapiolani quoted passages
from the Bible until the priestess was silenced. Kapiolani then went
forward to the crater, where Mr. Goodrich, one of the missionaries,
met her. A hut was built for her on the eastern brink of the crater,
and here she passed the night.

The next morning she and her company of about eighty persons descended
over 500 feet to the "Black Ledge." There, in full view of the grand
and terrific action of the inner crater, she ate the berries
consecrated to Pele, and threw stones into the burning lake, saying:
"Jehovah is my God. He kindled these fires. I fear not Pele. If I
perish by her anger, then you may fear Pele; but if I trust in
Jehovah, and he preserve me when breaking her tabus, then you must
fear and serve him alone...."

It is needless to say that she was not harmed, and this act did much
to destroy the superstitious dread in which the heathen goddess was
held by the ignorant and credulous natives.

The history of Hawaiian volcanic eruptions tells no such tales of
horror as regards the loss of life and property as may be read in the
accounts of other great volcanoes of the globe. This, however, is
simply because the region is less populated, and their tremendous
manifestations of power have lacked material to destroy. There have
been fatal catastrophes, and ruin has been wrought which seems slight
only in comparison with the greater disasters of a similar nature.

In 1855 an eruption of Mauna Loa occurred. The lava flowed toward
Hilo, and for several months, spreading through the dense forests
which belt the mountain, crept slowly shorewards, threatening this
beautiful portion of Hawaii with the fate of the Cities of the Plain.
For five months the inhabitants watched the inundation, which came a
little nearer every day. Should they flee or not? Would their
beautiful homes become a waste of jagged lava and black sand, like the
neighboring district of Puna, once as fair as Hilo? Such questions
suggested themselves as they nightly watched the nearing glare, till
the fiery waves met with obstacles which piled them up in hillocks
eight miles from Hilo, and the suspense was over.

Only gigantic causes can account for the gigantic phenomena of this
lava-flow. The eruption traveled forty miles in a straight line, or
sixty including sinuosities. It was from one to three miles broad, and
from five to 200 feet deep, according to the contours of the mountain
slopes over which it flowed. It lasted for thirteen months, pouring
out a torrent of lava which covered nearly 300 square miles of land,
and its volume was estimated at 38,000,000,000 cubic feet! In 1859
lava fountains 400 feet in height, and with a nearly equal diameter,
played on the summit of Mauna Loa. This eruption ran fifty miles to
the sea in eight days, but the flow lasted much longer, and added a
new promontory to Hawaii.

On March 27, 1868, a series of earthquakes began and became more
startling from day to day, until their succession became so rapid that
the island quivered like the lid of a boiling pot nearly all the time
between the heavier shocks. The trembling was like that of a ship
struck by a heavy wave. Late in the afternoon of April 2, the climax
came. The crust of the earth rose and sank like the sea in a storm.
Rocks were rent, mountains fell, buildings and their contents were
shattered, trees swayed like reeds, animals ran about demented; men
thought the judgment had come. The earth opened in thousands of
places, the roads in Hilo cracked open; horses and their riders, and
people afoot, were thrown violently to the ground. At Kilauea the
shocks were as frequent as the ticking of a watch. In Kau, south of
Hilo, 300 shocks were counted during the day. An avalanche of red
earth, supposed to be lava, burst from the mountain side, throwing
rocks high into the air, swallowing up houses, trees, men and animals,
and traveling three miles in as many minutes, burying a hamlet with
thirty-one inhabitants, and 500 head of cattle.

The people of the valleys fled to the mountains, which themselves were
splitting in all directions, and collecting on an elevated spot, with
the earth reeling under them, they spent a night of terror. Looking
toward the shore, they saw it sink, and at the same moment a wave,
whose height was estimated at from forty to sixty feet, hurled itself
upon the coast and receded five times, destroying whole villages and
engulfing forever forty-six people who had lingered too near the

Still the earthquakes continued, and still the volcanoes gave no sign.
People put their ears to the quivering ground and heard, or thought
they heard, the surgings of the imprisoned lava sea rending its way
among the ribs of the earth. Five days after the destructive
earthquake of April 2, the ground south of Hilo burst open with a
crash and a roar, which at once answered all questions concerning the
volcano. The molten river, after traveling underground for twenty
miles, emerged through a fissure two miles in length with a tremendous
force and volume. Four huge fountains boiled up with terrific fury,
throwing crimson lava and rocks weighing many tons from 500 to 1,000

Mr. Whitney, of Honolulu, who was near the spot, says: "From these
great fountains to the sea flowed a rapid stream of red lava, rolling,
rushing, and tumbling like a swollen river, bearing along in its
current large rocks that made the lava foam as it dashed down the
precipice and through the valley into the sea, surging and roaring
throughout its length like a cataract, with a power and fury
perfectly indescribable. It was nothing else than a river of fire from
200 to 800 feet wide and twenty deep, with a speed varying from ten to
twenty-five miles an hour. From the scene of these fire fountains,
whose united length was about one mile, the river in its rush to the
sea divided itself into four streams, between which it shut up men and
beasts. Where it entered the sea it extended the coast-line half a
mile, but this worthless accession to Hawaiian acreage was dearly
purchased by the loss, for ages at least, of 4,000 acres of valuable
agricultural land, and a much larger quantity of magnificent forest."

The entire southeast shore of Hawaii sank from four to six feet, which
involved the destruction of several hamlets and the beautiful fringe
of cocoanut trees. Though the region was very thinly peopled, 100
lives were sacrificed in this week of horrors; and from the reeling
mountains, the uplifted ocean, and the fiery inundation, the terrified
survivors fled into Hilo, each with a tale of woe and loss. The number
of shocks of earthquake counted was 2,000 in two weeks, an average of
140 a day; but on the other side of the island the number was

Since that time there have been several eruptions of these great
Hawaiian volcanoes, but none so destructive to life and property. Only
two years ago the crater of Mauna Loa was in eruption for some weeks,
and travelers journeyed to the vicinity from all over the world to see
the grand display of Nature's power in the fountains of lava and the
blazing rivers flowing down the mountain side. The spectacle could be
viewed perfectly at night from ships at sea, and from places of safety
on shore.

Across the North Pacific, from Kamschatka to Alaska, is a continuous
chain of craters in the Aleutian islands, forming almost a bridge over
the ocean, and from Alaska down the western coasts of the two Americas
is a string of the mightiest volcanoes in existence. Iceland is a
seething caldron under its eternal snows, and in a hundred places
where some great, jagged cone of a volcano rises, seemingly dead and
lifeless, only a fire-brand in the hand of nature may be needed to
awaken it to a fury like that of which its vast lava beds, pinnacles,
and craters are so eloquent.

The world's record for the extent of an eruption probably belongs to
the great volcano Skaptan Jokul, in Iceland. This eruption began on
June 11, 1783, having been preceded by violent earthquakes. A torrent
of lava welled up into the crater, overflowed it, and ran down the
sides of the cone into the channel of the Skapta river, completely
drying it up. The river had occupied a rocky gorge, from 400 to 600
feet deep, and averaging 200 feet wide. This gorge was filled, a deep
lake was filled, and the rock, still at white heat, flowed on into
subterranean caverns. Tremendous explosions followed, throwing
boulders to enormous heights. A week after the first eruption another
stream of lava followed the first, debouched over a precipice into the
channel of another river, and finally, at the end of two years, the
lava had spread over the plains below in great lakes twelve to fifteen
miles wide and a hundred feet deep. Twenty villages were destroyed by
fire, and out of 50,000 inhabitants nearly 9,000 perished, either from
fire or from noxious vapors.

The Skapta river branch of this lava stream was fifty miles long and
in places twelve to fifteen miles wide; the other stream was forty
miles long, seven miles broad, and the range of depth in each stream
was from 100 to 600 feet. Professor Bischoff has called this, in
quantity, the greatest eruption of the world, the lava, piled, having
been estimated as of greater volume than is Mont Blanc.

Regarding the volcanoes of the United States, Mount Shasta is one of
the most interesting of them. It has an altitude of 14,350 feet,
towering more than a mile above its nearest neighbor. Four thousand
feet of its peak are above timber line, covered with glaciers, while
the mountain's base is seventeen miles in diameter. Shasta is almost
continually showing slight evidences of its internal fires. Another of
the famous cones is that of Mount Hood, standing 11,225 feet,
snow-capped, and regarded as an extinct volcano.

As to the volcanic records of the great West, they may be read in the
chains of mountains that stretch from Alaska 10,000 miles to Tierra
del Fuego. In the giant geysers and hot springs of the Yellowstone
Park are evidences of existing fires in the United States; while as to
the extent of seismic disturbances of the past, the famous lava beds
of Dakota, in which Captain Jack, the Modoc chief, held out against
government troops till starved into submission, are volcanic areas
full of mute testimony regarding nature's convulsions.

How soon, if ever, some of these volcanic areas of the United States
may burst forth into fresh activity, no one can predict. If the
slumbering giants should arouse themselves and shake off the rock
fetters which bind their strength, the results might be terrible to
contemplate. Those who dwell in the shadow of such peaks as are
believed to be extinct, become indifferent to such a possible threat
after many years of immunity, but such a disaster as that of St.
Pierre arouses thought and directs scrutiny once more upon the ancient
volcanic peaks of the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas.




    =Earthquakes Ravage the Coast Cities of Peru and the
    Neighboring Countries--Spanish Capitals in the New
    World Frequent Sufferers--Lima, Callao and Caracas
    Devastated--Tidal Waves Accompany the Earthquakes--Juan
    Fernandez Island Shaken--Fissures Engulf Men and
    Animals--Peculiar Effects Observed.=

The discovery of America, in 1492, brought a great accession to the
number of recorded earthquakes, as South and Central America and the
islands near them have furnished almost innumerable instances of the

The first of the known earthquakes in the western hemisphere occurred
in 1530, and the Gulf of Paria, with the adjacent coast of Cumana, in
Venezuela, was the scene of the catastrophe. It was accompanied by a
great sea-wave, the tide suddenly rising twenty-four feet, and then
retiring. There were also opened in the earth several large fissures,
which discharged black, fetid salt water and petroleum. A mountain
near the neighboring Gulf of Caracas was split in twain, and has since
remained in its cloven condition.

The coast of Peru was visited by an earthquake in the year 1586, and
again in 1687. On the first occasion the shock was accompanied by a
great sea-wave eighty-four feet high, which inundated the country for
two leagues inland. There was still another dreadful convulsion on
this coast in 1746, when the sea twice retreated and dashed in again
with a tremendous wave about eighty feet high, overwhelming Lima and
four other seaports. A portion of the coast sank down, producing a
new bay at Callao; and in several mountains in the neighborhood there
were formed large fissures whence water and mud gushed forth. On May
24, 1751, the city of Concepcion, in Chili, was entirely swallowed up
during an earthquake, and the sea rolled over its site. The ancient
port was destroyed, and a new town was afterwards erected ten miles
inland. The great sea-wave, which accompanied this earthquake, rolled
in upon the shores of the island of Juan Fernandez, and overwhelmed a
colony which had been recently established there. The coast near the
ancient port of Concepcion was considerably raised on this occasion,
and the high water mark now stands twenty-four feet below its former

The coast of Caracas and the adjacent island of Trinidad were
violently convulsed in 1776, and the whole city of Cumana was reduced
to ruins. The shocks were continued for upwards of a year, and were at
first repeated almost hourly. There were frequent eruptions of
sulphurous water from fissures in the ground, and an island in the
Orinoco disappeared.

Rihamba must have stood, it would appear, almost immediately over the
focus of the dreadful earthquake of February 4, 1797. This unfortunate
city was situated in the district of Quito, not far from the base of
the great volcano of Tunguragua. That mountain was probably the center
of disturbance, and the shock was experienced with disastrous effects
over a district of country extending about 120 miles from north to
south and about sixty miles from east to west. Every town and village
comprehended within this district was reduced to ruins. The shocks,
however, were felt, though in a milder form, over a much larger area,
extending upwards of 500 miles from north to south and more than 400
miles from east to west.

At Riobamba the shocks, which began at about eight o'clock in the
morning, are said to have been vertical. Some faint idea may be formed
of the extreme violence of this motion from the fact mentioned by
Humboldt that the dead bodies of some of the inhabitants who perished
were tossed over a small river to the height of several hundred feet,
and landed on an adjacent hill.

Vertical movements, so powerful and so long continued, could not fail
to produce an enormous displacement of the ground, and to be very
destructive to all buildings which it sustained. The soil was rent,
and, as it were, torn asunder and twisted in an extraordinary manner.
Several of the fissures opened and closed again; many persons were
engulfed in them; but a few saved themselves by simply stretching out
their arms, so that, when the fissure closed, the upper parts of their
bodies were left above the ground, thus admitting of their being
easily extricated. In some instances whole cavalcades of horsemen and
troops of laden mules disappeared in those chasms; while some few
escaped by throwing themselves back from the edge of the cleft.

The amount of simultaneous elevation and depression of the ground was
in some cases as much as twelve feet; and several persons who were in
the choir of one of the churches escaped by simply stepping on the
pavement of the street, which was brought up to a level with the spot
where they stood. Instances occurred of whole houses sinking bodily
into the earth, till their roofs were fairly underground; but so
little were the buildings thus engulfed injured, that their
inhabitants were able still to live in them, and by the light of
flambeaux to pass from room to room, the doors opening and shutting as
easily as before. The people remained in them, subsisting on the
provisions they had in store, for the space of two days, until they
were extricated safe and sound. With the majority of the inhabitants,
however, it fared otherwise. The loss of life in the city, and
throughout the district most convulsed, was enormous, 40,000 persons
altogether having perished.

Of Riobamba itself the ruin was complete. When Humboldt took a plan of
the place after the catastrophe, he could find nothing but heaps of
stones eight or ten feet high; although the city had contained
churches and convents, with many private houses several stories in
height. The town of Quero was likewise entirely overthrown.

At Tacunga the ruin was nearly as thorough, not a building having been
left standing save an arch in the great square, and part of a
neighboring house. The churches of St. Augustin, St. Domingo, and La
Merced were at the moment thronged with people hearing mass. Not one
escaped alive. All were buried, along with the objects of their
worship, under the ruins of their consecrated buildings. In several
parts of the town and its neighborhood there were opened larger
fissures in the ground, whence quantities of water poured forth. The
village of St. Philip, near Tacunga, containing a school in which
upwards of forty children were assembled at the time, disappeared
bodily in a chasm. A great many other villages with their inhabitants
were destroyed, by being either overthrown or engulfed.

Even at Quito, although so distant from the centre of the disturbance,
a great deal of damage was done to the churches and other public
buildings by the shock, several being wholly ruined. The private
houses and other buildings of moderate height, however, were spared.
The superstitious inhabitants of this fair city, having been greatly
alarmed by an unwonted display of luminous meteors, had devoted the
previous day to carrying in procession through their streets the
graven images and relics of their saints, in the vain hope of
appeasing divine wrath. They were doomed to learn by experience that
these idols were powerless to protect even the consecrated edifices
dedicated to their honor, and in which they were enshrined.

The Bay of Caracas was the scene of a dreadful earthquake in 1812. The
city of Caracas was totally destroyed, and ten thousand of its
inhabitants were buried beneath its ruins.

The shock was most severe in the northern part of the town, nearest
to the mountain of La Silla, which rises like a vast dome, with steep
cliffs in the direction of the sea. The churches of the Trinity and
Alta Gracia, the latter of which was more than one hundred and fifty
feet high, and the nave of which was supported by pillars twelve or
fifteen feet thick, were reduced to a mass of ruins not more than five
or six feet high. The subsidence of the ruins was such that scarcely a
vestige of pillar or column could be found. The barracks of San Carlos
disappeared altogether, and a regiment of infantry, under arms to take
part in a procession, was swallowed up with the exception of a few

Nine-tenths of the town was annihilated. The houses which had not
collapsed were cracked to such an extent that their occupants did not
dare to re-enter them. To the estimate of 10,000 victims caused by the
earthquake, must be added the many who succumbed, weeks and months
afterward, for want of food and relief. The night of Holy Thursday to
Good Friday presented the most lamentable spectacle of desolation and
woe which can well be conceived. The thick layer of dust, which,
ascending from the ruins, obscured the air like mist, had again
settled on the ground; the earthquake shocks had ceased, and the night
was calm and clear. A nearly full moon lighted up the scene, and the
aspect of the sky was in striking contrast with that of a land strewn
with corpses and ruins.

Mothers might be seen running about with their children whom they were
vainly trying to recall to life. Distracted families were searching
for a brother, a husband, or some other relative, whose fate was
unknown to them, but who, they hoped, might be discovered in the
crowd. The injured lying half buried beneath the ruins were making
piteous appeals for help, and over 2,000 were extricated. Never did
human kindness reveal itself in a more touching and ingenious fashion
than in the efforts made to relieve the sufferers whose cries were so
heart-breaking to hear. There were no tools to clear away the
rubbish, and the work of relief had to be performed with the bare

The injured and the sick who had escaped from the hospitals were
carried to the banks of the river Guayra, where their only shelter was
the foliage of the trees. The beds, the lint for binding up wounds,
the surgical instruments, the medicines and all the objects of
immediate necessity were buried beneath the ruins, and for the first
few days there was a scarcity of everything, even of food. Water was
also very scarce inside the town, as the shock had broken up the
conduits of the fountains and the upheaval had blocked the springs
that fed them. In order to get water it was necessary to descend to
the river Guayra, which had risen to a great height, and there were
very few vessels left to get it in.

It was necessary, also, to dispose of the dead with all dispatch, and
in the impossibility of giving decent burial to so many thousand
corpses, detachments of men were told off to burn them. Funeral pyres
were erected between the heaps of ruins, and the ceremony lasted
several days.

The fierce shocks which had in less than a minute occasioned such
great disasters could not be expected to have confined their
destructive effects to one narrow zone of the continent, and these
extended to a great part of Venezuela, all along the coast and
specially among the mountains inland. The towns of La Guayra,
Mayquetia, Antimano, Baruta, La Vega, San Felipe, and Merida were
entirely destroyed, the number of deaths exceeding 5,000 at La Guayra
and San Felipe.

In November, 1822, the coast of Chile began to be violently convulsed
by a succession of shocks, the first of which was of great severity.
The heavings of the earth were quite perceptible to the eye. The sea
rose and fell to a great extent in the harbor of Valparaiso, and the
ships appeared as if they were first rapidly forced through the water,
and then struck on the ground. The town of Valparaiso and several
others were completely overthrown. Sounds like those produced by the
escape of steam accompanied this earthquake, and it was felt
throughout a distance of 1,200 miles along the coast, a portion of
which--extending to about 100 miles--was permanently raised to a
height varying from two to four feet. At Quintero the elevation was
four feet, and at Valparaiso three feet; but about a mile inland from
the latter place the elevation was as much as six or seven feet; while
the whole surface raised is estimated at nearly 100,000 square miles.

The year 1868 proved very disastrous in South America. On the 13th of
August of that year a series of shocks commenced which were felt over
a large extent of country, stretching from Ibarra on the northwestern
border of Ecuador to Cabija on the coast of Bolivia, a distance of
about 1,400 miles. The effects were most severe about the southern
portion of the Peruvian coast, where the towns of Iquique, Arica,
Tacna, Port Ilay, Arequipa, Pisco, and several others were destroyed,
and in the northern parts of Ecuador, where the town of Ibarra was
overthrown, burying nearly the whole of the inhabitants under its
ruins. A small town in the same quarter, named Cotocachi, was
engulfed, and its site is now occupied by a lake. The total loss of
lives is estimated at upward of 20,000.

On May 15, 1875, earthquake shocks of a serious character were
experienced over large areas of Chile. At Valparaiso the shock lasted
for forty-two seconds, with a vertical motion, so that the ground
danced under foot. Two churches and many buildings were damaged.
Another earthquake occurred at Valparaiso, July 8, when there were six
shocks in succession. The inhabitants took refuge in the streets,
several people were killed, and much damage was done to property.

About the middle of May, 1875, a most disastrous earthquake visited
New Granada, the region of its influence extending over an area 500
miles in width. It was first felt perceptibly at Bogota; thence it
traveled north, gaining intensity as it went, until it reached the
southeast boundary line of Magdalena, where its work of destruction
began. It traveled along the line of the Andes, destroying, in whole
or in part, the cities of Cucuta, San Antonio, and Santiago, and
causing the death of about 16,000 persons. On the evening of May 17, a
strange rumbling sound was heard beneath the ground, but no shock was
felt. This premonitory symptom was followed on the morning of the 18th
by a terrific shock. "It suddenly shook down the walls of houses,
tumbled down churches, and the principal buildings, burying the
citizens in the ruins." Another shock completed the work of
destruction, and shocks at intervals occurred for two days. "To add to
the horrors of the calamity, the Lobotera volcano, in front of
Santiago, suddenly began to shoot out lava in immense quantities in
the form of incandescent balls of fire, which poured into the city and
set fire to many buildings."

On the evening of April 12, 1878, a severe earthquake occurred in
Venezuela which destroyed a considerable portion of the town of Cua.
Immediately preceding the shock the sky was clear and the moon in
perfect brightness. It lasted only two seconds, but in that time the
center of the town, which was built on a slight elevation, was laid in
ruins. The soil burst at several places, giving issue to water
strongly impregnated with poisonous substances.

The Isthmus of Panama was the scene of a succession of earthquakes in
September, 1882, which, although the loss of life was small, were
exceedingly destructive to property. On the morning of September 7,
the inhabitants of Panama were roused from their beds by the
occurrence of one of the longest and most severe shocks ever
experienced in that earthquake-vexed region. Preceded by a hollow
rumbling noise, the first shock lasted nearly thirty seconds, during
which it did great damage to buildings. It was severely felt on board
ship, passengers declaring that the vessel seemed as if it were lifted
bodily from the sea and then allowed to fall back.

Its effects on the Panama railway were very marked. The stone
abutments of several of the bridges were cracked, and the earthworks
sank in half a dozen places. In other places the rails were curved as
if they had been intentionally bent. Other shocks less severe followed
the first, until at 11:30, another sharp shock alarmed the whole city,
and drove the inhabitants at once from their houses into the squares.
This earthquake was also severely felt at Colon, where it lasted for
fully a minute, moving many buildings from their foundations, and
creating intense alarm. A deep fissure, 400 yards in length, was
opened in the earth.

To what extent this tendency to earthquake shocks threatens the
proposed Panama Canal, it is difficult to say. Beyond question a great
earthquake would do immense damage to such a channel and its lock
gates, but the advocates of the Panama route argue with apparent truth
that even so it has a great advantage over the Nicaragua route. In the
latter, volcanoes are numerous, and eruptions not infrequent. Lake
Nicaragua itself, through which the canal route passes, has in it
several islands which are but volcanic peaks raised above the water,
and the whole region is subject to disturbances from the interior of
the earth.




    =A Region Frequently Disturbed by Subterranean
    Forces--Guatemala a Fated City--A Lake Eruption in
    Honduras Described by a Great Painter--City of San
    Jose Destroyed--Inhabitants Leave the Vicinity to
    Wander as Beggars--Disturbances on the Route of the
    Proposed Nicaraguan Canal--San Salvador is Shaken--Mexican
    Cities Suffer.=

Central America is continually being disturbed by subterranean forces.
Around the deep bays of this vast and splendid region, upon the shores
laved by the waters of the Pacific, and also about the large inland
lakes, rise, like an army of giants, a number of lofty volcanoes.
Whilst most of them are wrapped in slumber which has lasted for
centuries, others occasionally roar and groan as if in order to keep
themselves awake, and to watch well over their sleeping companions.
The fire which consumes their entrails extends far beneath the soil,
and often causes it to tremble. Three times within thirty years the
town of Guatemala has been destroyed by earthquakes, and there is not
in all Guatemala, Honduras, or any other state of Central America a
single coast which has not been visited by one or more violent
subterranean shocks. When the earthquakes occur in remote regions, far
from the habitations of men, in the midst of virgin forests, or in the
vicinity of large lakes, they give rise to very singular phenomena.

In 1856, a painter, entrusted with an official mission in Honduras,
witnessed an event of this kind, and though he sought to conceal his
identity, he was generally believed to be Herr Heine, the well-known
painter and explorer of Central America. Upon the day in question he
was sailing across a large lagoon named Criba, some twenty miles
broad, the weather being calm, and the sun shining brilliantly. After
having secured his boat to the shore, he had landed at the entrance to
a beautiful little village commanding a view of the plain dotted with
houses and with stately trees. Upon the opposite shore extended the
forest, with the sea in the far distance. The chief inhabitant of the
village having invited Herr Heine and his companions to come in and
rest, the whole party were seated beneath the veranda of the house,
engaged in pleasant conversation. Suddenly, a loud noise was heard in
the forest. The birds flew off in terror; the cocoanut palms bent and
writhed as if in panic, and large branches of them snapped off; shrubs
were torn up from the ground and carried across the lake. All this was
the effect of a whirlwind traveling through space from south to north.

The whole affair lasted only a few seconds, and calm was
re-established in Nature as suddenly as it had been disturbed.
Conversation, of course, then turned upon the phenomenon just
witnessed, and the natives maintained that atmospheric disturbances of
this kind are the forerunners of severe earthquakes or violent
volcanic eruptions; some of them declaring that a disaster of this
character had doubtless just occurred somewhere. The host, an elderly
man much esteemed in the district for his knowledge, went on to
describe many such catastrophes which he himself had witnessed. He
spoke more particularly of the eruption of the volcano of Coseguina,
in Nicaragua, which had been preceded by a fierce whirlwind, which had
been so strong that it carried pieces of rock and ashes to a distance
of nearly a mile. The captain of a large sailing vessel had told him
that upon the following day, when more than 100 miles from the coast,
he had found the sea covered with pumice-stone, and had experienced
great difficulty in threading a way for his vessel through these
blocks of volcanic stone which were floating upon the surface like

Everyone, including the European, had his story to tell, and while the
party were still in conversation, a terrible noise like thunder was
heard, and the earth began to quake. At first the shocks were felt to
be rising upward, but after a few seconds they became transformed into
undulations traveling northward, just as the sudden whirlwind had
done. The soil undulated like the surface of a stormy sea, and the
trees were rocked to and fro so violently that the topmost branches of
the palms came in contact with the ground and snapped off. The
traveler and his friends, believing themselves to be out of danger,
were able to follow with ever-increasing interest the rapid phases of
the disturbance, when a strange and alarming phenomenon attracted
their notice.

"Our attention was called," relates Herr Heine, "to a terrible
commotion in the direction of the lagoon, but I cannot express what I
then saw, I did not know if I was awake or a prey to a nightmare;
whether I was in the world of reality or in the world of spirits."

The water of the lagoon disappeared as if it were engulfed in a sort
of a subterranean cavern, or rather, it turned over upon itself, so
that from the shore to the center of the lake the bed was quite empty.
But in a few moments the water reappeared, and mounting toward the
center of the enormous basin, it formed an immense column, which,
roaring and flecked with foam, reached so high that it intercepted the
sunlight. Suddenly, the column of water collapsed with a noise as of
thunder, and the foaming waves dashed toward the shore. Herr Heine and
his companions would have perished if they had not been standing upon
elevated ground, and, as it was, they could not restrain an
exclamation of horror as they saw this mass of water, like solid rock,
rolling along the plain, carrying trees, large stones, and whole
fields before it.

"I saw all that without at first thinking of our own fate," recites
Herr Heine, "and I think that the greatness of the peril which
threatened the whole country made me indifferent as to the fate of
myself and my companions. In any case, when I saw my familiar
companion, Carib, nearly carried off, I remained indifferent, and it
was only after two others of my followers, Manuel and Michel, had had
very narrow escapes, that I succeeded in shaking off my apathy, and
going to their assistance."

When the travelers, whose boat had disappeared, started for the town
of San Jose, whence they had come in the morning, they were able to
judge for themselves as to the extent of the disaster. All the country
which they had passed through had been laid waste. Large masses of
rock had been detached from the mountains, and obstructed the course
of streams which had overflown their banks or changed their course.
Whole villages had been destroyed, and in all directions arose the
lamentations of the unfortunate inhabitants. The region over which the
waters of the lagoon had been carried was no longer to be identified
as the same, covered as it was with debris of every kind, and with a
thick layer of sand and rock.

When they started in the morning, the travelers had left San Jose
prosperous and full of cheerful stir, but when they returned at night
they found it in ruins and almost deserted. The earthquake had
overthrown all the houses with the exception of about twenty, and
these were very badly damaged.

All the buildings in solid masonry, including the massive church, were
heaps of ruins; and most of the inhabitants had perished. The Indians
who were prowling in the outskirts of the town took advantage of the
catastrophe to carry off all they could from the houses which were
still standing and from the ruins of the others. The agility with
which these Indians move about among the ruins and escape the falling
walls is something wonderful, and they never hesitate to risk their
lives for a very trifle.

In Central America disasters of this kind invariably cause many of
the inhabitants to emigrate. Men, women, and children form themselves
into groups, and travel through the country. They set the drama in
which they have taken part to music, and they journey from one village
to another, singing the rude verses they have composed, and then
sending the hat around. After they have visited the whole of their own
country, they cross into the neighboring state, where they are also
assured of a profitable tour. Thus for more than a year Honduras and
Nicaragua were visited by bands of homeless victims, chanting in
monotone the eruption of Lake Criba and the terrible catastrophe of
San Jose.

The western half of Nicaragua, including the basin in which lie Lakes
Managua and Nicaragua, is a volcanic center, including some of the
largest of the twenty-five active cones and craters of Central
America. Stretching from northwest to southeast, the string of craters
beginning with Coseguina and Viejo reaches well into the lake basin.
At the northern end of Lake Managua stands Momotombo, while from the
lake itself rises Momotombito. On the northwestern shore of Lake
Nicaragua lies the volcano Mombocho, while between the two lakes is
the volcano Masaya. Near the center of Lake Nicaragua are the two
volcanoes of Madera and Omotepe.

Since 1835 there have been six eruptions in Nicaragua, one of them, in
1883, being an outbreak in the crater of Omotepe in Lake Nicaragua,
the route of the proposed Nicaraguan canal. The Coseguina eruption,
the uproar of which was heard more than 1,000 miles away, threw the
headland upon which it stands 787 feet out into the sea, and rained
ashes and pumice-stone over an area estimated at 1,200,000 square

Like all Spanish towns in America, San Salvador, capital of the
republic of that name, covers a large area in proportion to its
population. The houses are low, none of them having more than one
story, while the walls are very thick in order to be capable of
resisting earthquakes. Inside each house of the better class is a
courtyard, planted with trees, generally having a fountain in the
center. It was to these spacious courtyards that, in 1854, many of the
inhabitants of San Salvador owed their lives, as they found in them a
refuge from their falling houses. On the night of April 16, the city
was reduced to a heap of ruins, only a single public building and very
few private ones having been left standing. Nearly 5,000 of the
inhabitants were buried in the ruins. There was a premonitory shock
before the great one, and many took heed of its warning and escaped to
places of safety, otherwise the loss of life would have been even more

Guatemala was visited with a series of almost daily tremors from the
middle of April to the middle of June, 1870. The most severe shock was
on the 12th of June and was sufficiently powerful to overthrow many

The republic of San Salvador was again visited by a great earthquake
in October, 1878. Many towns, such as Incuapa, Guadeloupe, and
Santiago de Marie, were almost totally destroyed, and many lives were
lost. The shock causing the most damage had at first a kind of
oscillatory movement lasting over forty seconds and ending in a
general upheaval of the earth; the result being that solid walls,
arches, and strongly braced roofs, were broken and severed like
pipe-stems. In the vicinity of Incuapa a number of villages
disappeared entirely.

The mountainous region of Mexico is highly volcanic, and earthquakes
are of frequent occurrence. Very few of them, however, in the historic
period, have occasioned great loss of either life or property. One of
the most disastrous occurred in January, 1835, when the town of
Acapulco was totally destroyed. In April, ten years later, the City of
Mexico was much shaken. Considerable damage was done to buildings,
especially to churches and other edifices of large size, several of
which were reduced to ruins. The loss of life was limited to less than
twenty. Probably the most serious convulsion the country has
experienced was in 1858, when shocks were felt over almost all the
republic, causing many deaths, and destroying much property. Over 100
people lost their lives on May 11 and 12, 1870, when the city of
Oaxaca was visited by a succession of severe shocks, which tore down
many buildings. Since this time Mexico has been free from convulsions
of any great magnitude, although slight earth tremors are of frequent
occurrence in different parts of the country.

Mexican volcanoes, likewise, are famous for their size, though of late
years no great eruptions have occurred. There are many isolated peaks,
all of volcanic origin, of which Orizaba, with a height of 18,314
feet, and Popocatepetl, 17,300 feet, the most renowned, are both
active. The latter has one crater 5,000 feet in diameter. From the
summit the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico are both visible.

This crater has not erupted for many years, but in former times it
threw its ashes a distance of sixty miles. One can descend into its
depths fully 1,000 feet, and view its sulphur walls, hung with
stalactites of ice, or see its columns of vapor spouting here and
there through crevices that extend down into the interior of the
earth. In the ancient Aztec and Toltec mythology of Mexico, this was
the Hell of Masaya.

Nowadays great sulphur mines on the peak bring profit to the owners,
and ice is quarried from the same vicinity to supply the neighboring
city of Puebla.




    =Earthquake Shock in South Carolina--Many Lives Lost in the
    Riven City--Flames Follow the Convulsion--Galveston Smitten by
    Tidal Wave and Hurricane--Thousands Die in Flood and Shattered
    Buildings--The Gulf Coast Desolated--Johnstown, Pennsylvania,
    Swept by Water from a Bursting Reservoir--Scenes of
    Horror--Earthquakes on the California Coast.=

Our own land has experienced very few great convulsions of nature.
True, there have been frequent earthshocks in California, and all
along the Western coast, and occasionally slight tremors have been
felt in other sections, but the damage done to life and property has
been in almost every instance comparatively light. The only really
great disaster of this class that has been recorded in the United
States since the white man first set his foot upon the soil, occurred
in 1886, when the partial destruction of Charleston, South Carolina,
was accomplished by earthquake and fire.

On the morning of August 28, a slight shock was felt throughout North
and South Carolina, and in portions of Georgia. It was evidently a
warning of the calamity to follow, but naturally was not so
recognized, and no particular attention was paid to it. But on the
night of August 31, at about ten o'clock, the city was rent asunder by
a great shock which swept over it, carrying death and destruction in
its path.

During the night there were ten distinct shocks, but they were only
the subsiding of the earth-waves. The disaster was wrought by the
first. Its force may be inferred from the fact that the whole area of
the country between the Atlantic coast and the Mississippi river, and
as far to the north as Milwaukee, felt its power to a greater or
lesser degree.

Charleston, however, was the special victim of this elemental
destruction. The city was in ruins, two-thirds of its houses were
uninhabitable. Railroads and telegraph lines were torn up and
destroyed. Fires burst forth in different sections of the city, adding
to the horror of the panic-stricken people. Forty lives were lost,
over 100 seriously wounded were reported, and property valued at
nearly $5,000,000 was destroyed.

A writer in the Charleston News and Courier gave a vivid account of
the catastrophe. Extracts from his story follow:

"It is not given to many men to look in the face of the destroyer and
yet live; but it is little to say that the group of strong men who
shared the experiences of that awful night will carry with them the
recollection of it to their dying day. None expected to escape. A
sudden rush was simultaneously made for the open air, but before the
door was reached all reeled together to the tottering wall and
stopped, feeling that hope was vain; that it was only a question of
death within the building or without, to be buried by the sinking roof
or crushed by the toppling walls. Then the uproar slowly died away in
seeming distance.

"The earth was still, and O, the blessed relief of that stillness! But
how rudely the silence was broken! As we dashed down the stairway and
out into the street, already on every side arose the shrieks, the
cries of pain and fear, the prayers and wailings of terrified women
and children, commingling with the hoarse shouts of excited men. Out
in the street the air was filled with a whitish cloud of dry, stifling
dust, through which the gaslights flickered dimly. On every side were
hurrying forms of men and women, bareheaded, partly dressed, many of
whom were crazed with fear and excitement. Here a woman is supported,
half fainting, in the arms of her husband, who vainly tries to soothe
her while he carries her to the open space at the street corner, where
present safety seems assured; there a woman lies on the pavement with
upturned face and outstretched limbs, and the crowd passes her by, not
pausing to see whether she be alive or dead.

"A sudden light flares through a window overlooking the street, it
becomes momentarily brighter, and the cry of fire resounds from the
multitude. A rush is made toward the spot. A man is seen through the
flames trying to escape. But at this moment, somewhere--out at sea,
overhead, deep in the ground--is heard again the low, ominous roll
which is already too well known to be mistaken. It grows louder and
nearer, like the growl of a wild beast swiftly approaching his prey.
All is forgotten in the frenzied rush for the open space, where alone
there is hope of security, faint though it be.

"The tall buildings on either hand blot out the skies and stars and
seem to overhang every foot of ground between them; their shattered
cornices and coping, the tops of their frowning walls, appear piled
from both sides to the center of the street. It seems that a touch
would now send the shattered masses left standing, down upon the
people below, who look up to them and shrink together as the tremor of
the earthquake again passes under them, and the mysterious
reverberations swell and roll along, like some infernal drumbeat
summoning them to die. It passes away, and again is experienced the
blessed feeling of deliverance from impending calamity, which it may
well be believed evokes a mute but earnest offering of mingled prayer
and thanksgiving from every heart in the throng."

One of the most awful tragedies of modern times visited Galveston,
Texas, on Saturday, September 8, 1900. A tempest, so terrible that no
words can adequately describe its intensity, and a flood which swept
over the city like a raging sea, left death and ruin behind it.
Sixty-seven blocks in a thickly populated section of the city were
devastated, and not a house withstood the storm. The few that might
have held together if dependent upon their own construction and
foundations, were buried beneath the stream of buildings and wreckage
that rushed west from the Gulf of Mexico, demolishing hundreds of
homes and carrying the unfortunate inmates to their death.

A terrific wind, which attained a velocity of from 100 to 120 miles an
hour, blew the debris inland and piled it in a hill ranging from ten
to twenty feet high. Beneath this long ridge many hundred men, women,
and children were buried, and cattle, horses and dogs, and other
animals, were piled together in one confused mass.

The principal work of destruction was completed in six short hours,
beginning at three o'clock in the afternoon and ending at nine o'clock
the same night. In that brief time the accumulations of many a life
time were swept away, thousands of lives went out, and the dismal
Sunday morning following the catastrophe found a stricken population
paralyzed and helpless.

Every hour the situation changed for the worse, and the mind became
dazed midst the gruesome scenes. The bodies of human beings, the
carcasses of animals, were strewn on every hand. The bay was filled
with them. Like jelly-fish, the corpses were swept with the changing
tide. Here a face protruded above the water; there the foot of a
child; here the long, silken tresses of a young girl; there a tiny
hand, and just beneath the glassy surface of the water full outlines
of bodies might be seen. Such scenes drove men and women to
desperation and insanity. A number sought freedom in the death which
they fought so stoutly. A young girl, who survived to find mother,
father and sisters dead, crept far out on the wreckage and threw
herself into the bay.

During the storm and afterward a great deal of looting was done. Many
stores had been closed, their owners leaving to look after their
families. The wind forced in the windows, and left the goods prey for
the marauders. Ghouls stripped the dead bodies of jewelry and articles
of value. Captain Rafferty, commanding the United States troops in the
city, was asked for aid, and he sent seventy men, the remnant of a
battery of artillery, to do police duty. Three regiments were sent
from Houston and the city was placed under martial law. Hundreds of
desperate men roamed the streets, crazed with liquor, which many had
drunk because nothing else could be obtained with which to quench
their thirst. Numberless bottles and boxes of intoxicating beverages
were scattered about and easy to obtain.

Robbery and rioting continued during the night, and as the town was in
darkness, the effort of the authorities to control the lawless element
was not entirely successful. Big bonfires were built at various places
from heaps of rubbish to enable troops the better to see where
watchfulness was needed. Reports said that more than 100 looters and
vandals were slain in the city and along the island beach.

The most rigid enforcement of martial law was not able to suppress
robbery entirely. Thirty-three negroes, with effects taken from dead
bodies, were tried by court-martial. They were convicted and ordered
to be shot. One negro had twenty-three human fingers with rings on
them in his pocket.

An eye-witness of the awful horror said: "I was going to take the
train at midnight, and was at the station when the worst of the storm
came up. There were 150 people in the depot, and we all remained there
for nine hours. The back part of the building blew in Sunday morning
and I returned to the Tremont house. The streets were literally filled
with dead and dying people. The Sisters' Orphan Hospital was a
terrible scene. I saw there over ninety dead children and eleven dead
Sisters. We took the steamer Allen Charlotte across the bay, up
Buffalo bay, over to Houston in the morning, and I saw fully fifty
dead bodies floating in the water. I saw one dray with sixty-four dead
bodies being drawn by four horses to the wharves, where the bodies
were unloaded on a tug and taken out in the gulf for burial."

Mr. Wortham, ex-secretary of state, after an inspection of the scene,
made this statement: "The situation at Galveston beggars description.
Fully seventy-five per cent. of the business portion of the town is
wrecked, and the same percentage of damage is to be found in the
residence district. Along the wharf front great ocean steamers have
bodily dumped themselves on the big piers, and lie there, great masses
of iron and wood that even fire cannot totally destroy. The great
warehouses along the water front are smashed in on one side, unroofed
and gutted throughout their length; their contents either piled in
heaps or along the streets. Small tugs and sailboats have jammed
themselves into buildings, where they were landed by the incoming
waves and left by the receding waters.

"Houses are packed and jammed in great confusing masses in all the
streets. Great piles of human bodies, dead animals, rotting
vegetation, household furniture, and fragments of the houses
themselves, are piled in confused heaps right in the main streets of
the city. Along the Gulf front human bodies are floating around like

As time passed on the terrible truth was pressed home on the minds of
the people that the mortality by the storm had possibly reached 8,000,
or nearly one-fourth of the entire population. The exact number will
never be known, and no list of the dead could be accurately made out,
for the terrible waters carried to sea and washed on distant and
lonely shores many of the bodies. The unknown dead of the Galveston
horror will forever far surpass the number of those who are known to
have perished in that awful night, when the tempest raged and the
storm was on the sea, piling the waters to unprecedented heights on
Galveston island.

One of the great catastrophes of the century in the United States was
the flood that devastated the Conemaugh valley in Pennsylvania, on
May 31, 1889. Though the amount of property destroyed was over
$10,000,000 worth, this was the slightest element of loss. That which
makes the Johnstown flood so exceptional is the terrible fact that it
swept away half as many lives as did the battle of Gettysburg, one of
the bloodiest of the Civil War, and transformed a rich and prosperous
valley for more than twenty miles into a vast charnel-house.

Johnstown is located on the Pennsylvania Railroad, seventy-eight miles
southeast of Pittsburg, and was at the time mentioned a city of about
28,000 inhabitants. It was the most important of the chain of boroughs
annihilated; and as such has given the popular title by which the
disaster is known. The Conemaugh valley has long been famous for the
beauty of its scenery. Lying on the lower western slope of the
Alleghany mountains, the valley, enclosed between lofty hills,
resembles in a general way an open curved hook, running from South
Fork, where the inundation first made itself felt, in a southwesterly
direction to Johnstown, and thence sixteen miles northwest to New
Florence, where the more terrible effects of the flood ended, though
its devastation did not entirely cease at that point.

A lateral valley extends about six miles from South Fork in a
southeasterly direction, at the head of which was located the
Conemaugh Lake reservoir, owned and used as a summer resort by the
South Fork Hunting and Fishing Club of Pittsburg. In altitude this
lake was about 275 feet above the Johnstown level, and it was about
two and one-half miles long and one and one-half miles in its greatest
width. In many places it was 100 feet deep, and it held a larger
volume of water than any other reservoir in the United States. The dam
that restrained the waters was nearly 1,000 feet in length, 110 feet
in height, ninety feet thick at the base, and twenty-five feet wide at
the top, which was used as a driveway. For ten years or more this dam
was believed to be a standing menace to the Conemaugh valley in times
of freshet, though fully equal to all ordinary emergencies. With a
dam which was admitted to be structurally weak and with insufficient
means of discharging a surplus volume, it was feared that it was only
a matter of time before such a reservoir, situated in a region
notorious for its freshets, would yield to the enormous pressure and
send down its resistless waters like an avalanche to devastate the

This is precisely what it did do. A break came at three o'clock in the
afternoon of May 31, caused by protracted rains, which raised the
level of the lake. Men were at once put to work to open a sluice-way
to ease the pressure, but all attempts were in vain. Two hours before
the break came, the threatened danger had been reported in Johnstown,
but little attention was paid to it, on the ground that similar alarms
had previously proved ill-founded. There is no question that ample
warning was given and that all the people in the valley could have
escaped had they acted promptly.

When the center of the dam yielded at three o'clock, it did so in a
break of 300 feet wide. Trees and rocks were hurled high in the air,
and the vast, boiling flood rushed down the ravine like an arrow from
a bow. It took one hour to empty the reservoir. In less than five
minutes the flood reached South Fork, and thence, changing the
direction of its rush, swept through the valley of the Conemaugh. With
the procession of the deluge, trees, logs, debris of buildings, rocks,
railroad iron, and the indescribable mass of drift were more and more
compacted for battering power; and what the advance bore of the flood
spared, the mass in the rear, made up of countless battering rams,

The distance from Conemaugh lake to Johnstown, something over,
eighteen miles, was traversed in about seven minutes; and here the
loss of life and the damage to property was simply appalling.
Survivors who passed through the experience safely declare its horrors
to have been far beyond the power of words to narrate. After the most
thorough possible




    =Fifty Thousand Men, Women and Children Slain in an
    Instant--The Island Capital Obliterated--Molten Fire and
    Suffocating Gases Rob Multitudes of Life--Death Reigns in the
    Streets of the Stricken City--The Governor and Foreign Consuls
    Die at their Posts of Duty--Burst of Flame from Mount Pelee
    Completes the Ruin--No Escape for the Hapless Residents in the
    Fated Town--Scenes of Suffering Described--St. Pierre the
    Pompeii of Today--Desolation over All--Few Left to Tell the
    Tale of the Morning of Disaster.=

Behold a peaceful city in the Caribbean sea, beautiful with the
luxuriant vegetation of a tropic isle, happy as the carefree dwellers
in such a spot may well be, at ease with the comforts of climate and
the natural products which make severe labor unnecessary in these
sea-girt colonies. Rising from the water front to the hillsides that
lead back toward the slopes of Mount Pelee, St. Pierre, metropolis of
the French island of Martinique, sits in picturesque languor, the blue
waves of the Caribbean murmuring on the beaches, the verdure-clad
ridges of the mountain range forming a background of greenery for the
charming picture. Palms shade the narrow, clean, white, paved streets;
trade goes on at the wharves; the people visit in social gaiety,
dressed in white or bright-colored garments, as is the fashion in
these islands, where somberness seldom rules; all the forms of life
are cheerful, light-hearted, even thoughtless.

Suddenly a thrall of black despair is cast over the happy island. The
city of pleasure becomes one great tomb. Of its 30,000 men, women and
children, all but a few are slain. The Angel of Death has spread his
pall over them, a fiery breath has smitten them, and they have fallen
as dry stubble before the sweep of flame. A city is dead. An island is
desolate. A world is grief-stricken.

And what was the awful power of evil that robbed of life 50,000 in
city and neighboring villages almost in a moment? It was this
verdure-clad Mount Pelee, their familiar sentinel, in the shade of
whose sheltering palms they had built their summer resorts or found
their innocent pleasures. It was this shadowing summit, now suddenly
become a fiery vent through which earth's artilleries blazed forth
their terrible volleys of molten projectiles, lava masses, huge drifts
of ashes, and clouds of flaming, noxious, gaseous emanations to
suffocate every living thing. Nothing could withstand such a
bombardment from the exhaustless magazines within the vast chambers of
the planet, no longer kindly Mother Earth, benign in the beauty of
May-time, but cruel, relentless, merciless alike to all.

St. Pierre and the island of Martinique are no strangers to
destructive earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In August, 1767, an
earthquake killed 1,600 persons in St. Pierre. In 1851 Mount Pelee
threatened the city with destruction. St. Pierre was practically
destroyed once before, in August, 1891, by the great hurricane which
swept over the islands. The harbor of St. Pierre has been a famous one
for centuries. It was off this harbor on April 12, 1782, that Admiral
Rodney's fleet defeated the French squadron under the Comte de Grasse
and wrested the West Indies from France.

St. Pierre was the largest town and the commercial center of the
island. It was the largest town in the French West Indies, and was
well built and prosperous. It had a population of about 30,000. It was
divided into two parts, known as the upper and lower towns. The lower
town was compact with narrow streets, and unhealthy. The upper town
was cleaner, healthier, and handsomely laid out. There was in the
upper town a botanical garden and an old Catholic college, as well as
a fine hospital.

Mount Pelee, the largest of the group of volcanic mountains, is about
4,400 feet high. It had long been inactive as a volcano, although in
August, 1851, it had a violent eruption. It is in the northwestern end
of the island, and near the foot of its western slope, fronting the
bay, St. Pierre was built.

The Consuls resident at St. Pierre were: For the United States, T. T.
Prentis; Great Britain, J. Japp; Denmark, M. E. S. Meyer; Italy, P.
Plissonneau; Mexico, E. Dupie; Sweden and Norway, Gustave Borde. There
were four banks in the city--the Banque de la Martinique, Banque
Transatlantique, Colonial Bank of London, and the Credit Foncier
Colonial. There were sixteen commission merchants, twelve dry-goods
stores, twenty-two provision dealers, twenty-six rum manufacturers,
eleven colonial produce merchants, four brokers, and two hardware

The whole area of the island, near 400 square miles, is mountainous.
Besides Mount Pelee, there are, further south and about midway of the
oval, the three crests of Courbet, and all along the great ridge are
the black and ragged cones of old volcanoes. In the section south of
the deep bay there are two less elevated and more irregular ridges,
one running southeast and terminating in the Piton Vauclin, and the
other extending westward and presenting to view on the coast Mounts
Caraibe and Constant.

The mountainous interior is torn and gashed with ancient earthquake
upheavals, and there are perpendicular cliffs, deep clefts and gorges,
black holes filled with water, and swift torrents dashing over
precipices and falling into caverns--in a word, all the fantastic
savagery of volcanic scenery, but the whole covered with the rich
verdure of the tropics.

The total population of the island was reckoned at 175,000, of whom
10,000 were whites, 15,000 of Asiatic origin, and 150,000 blacks of
all shades from ebony to light octoroon.

Martinique has two interesting claims to distinction in that the
Empress Josephine was born there and that Mme. de Maintenon passed her
girlhood on the island as Francoise d'Aubigne. At Fort de France there
is a marble statue of the Empress Josephine.

It was just before eight o'clock on the morning of Thursday, May 8,
1902, that the lava and gases of the crater of Mount Pelee burst their
bounds and bore destruction to the fated city. Within thirty seconds
perhaps 50,000 persons were killed, and the streets of St. Pierre were
heaped with dead bodies, soon to be incinerated or buried in the ashes
that fell from the fountain of flame. Within ten minutes the city
itself had disappeared in a whirling flame vomited from the mountain,
though for some hours the inflammable portions of the buildings
continued to burn, until all was consumed that could be. The volcano
whose ancient crater for more than fifty years had been occupied by a
quiet lake in which picnic parties bathed, discharged a torrent of
fiery mud, which rolled toward the sea, engulfing everything before
it. The city was no more.

St. Pierre was destroyed, not by lava streams and not by showers of
red-hot rocks, but by one all-consuming blast of suffocating,
poisonous, burning gases. Death came to the inhabitants instantly. It
was not a matter of hours or minutes. It was a matter of seconds. They
did not burn to death. They died by breathing flame and their bodies
were burned afterward. It is not merely true that no person inside the
limits of the town escaped, but it is probably a literal fact that no
person lived long enough to take two steps toward escape. These facts
will go on record as the most astounding in the history of human

The manner of the annihilation of St. Pierre is unique in the history
of the world. Pompeii was not a parallel, for Pompeii was eaten up by
demoniac rivers of lava, and lava became its tomb. But where St.
Pierre once stood there is not even a lava bed now. The city is gone
from the earth.

The half-dead victims who escaped on the Roddam or were brought away
by the Suchet, talked of a "hurricane of flame" that had come upon
them. That phrase was no figure of speech, but a literal statement of
what happened.

When the first rescue parties reached the scene they found bodies
lying in the streets of the city--or rather on the ground where
streets once were, for in many places it was impossible to trace the
line between streets and building sites--to which death came so
suddenly that the smiles on the faces did not have time to change to
the lines of agony.

That does not mean death by burning, though the bodies had been
charred and half-consumed, nor does it mean suffocation, for
suffocation is slow. It can mean only that the bath of burning fumes
into which the city was plunged affected the victims like a terribly
virulent poison when the first whiff of the gases entered their lungs.

There were many of the victims who died with their hands to their
mouths. That one motion of the arm was probably the only one that they
made before they became unconscious. Others fell to their faces and
died with their lips pressed into the earth. There was no time to run,
perhaps no time even to cry out, no time to breathe a prayer. It was
as if St. Pierre had been just dipped into an immense white-hot
furnace and then set out to cool. Mount Pelee went sputtering on, but
that made no longer any difference. In the city all life was destroyed.

Every combustible thing was burned. Animal bodies, full of moisture,
glowed awhile and then remained charred wrecks. Wood and other easily
combustible things burned to ashes. On the ground lay the bodies,
amidst heaps of hot mud, heaps of gleaming ashes and piles of volcanic
stones. That was all.

That St. Pierre and the strip of coast to the north and south of it
were burned in an instant was probably due to the first break in the
mountain coming on its western side and immediately above them, though
the direction of the wind may have had a little to do with it. In this
way one can understand how the mountain resort of Morne Rouge, where
about 600 people were staying, escaped annihilation. Rocks and dust
and boiling mud fell upon it, no doubt harming it, but they did not
destroy it, for it was out of the pathway of the first awful blast.

For days after this most awful of blasts, beginning indeed immediately
after the first explosion, Mount Pelee continued sending down lava
streams in many directions. They filled the ravines and followed river
courses and made their way to the sea. They did great destruction, but
most of the inhabitants in their course had some chance at least to

From Le Precheur around the northern end of the island, to Grande
Riviere, Macouba, and Grande Anse, directly across the island from St.
Pierre, the lava was flowing. Great crevasses opened from time to time
in the hills. The earth undulated like waves. Rivers were thrown out
of their courses by the change in land levels. In some places they
submerged the land and formed lakes. In other places they were licked
up by the lava that flowed on them and turned them to steam.

Constant rumblings, thunder and lightning storms made the surroundings
so terrible that many persons actually died of fright.

The West Indian newspapers printed just before the day of the great
eruption, and received in foreign countries after the catastrophe,
serve to give a graphic picture of the situation in St. Pierre as it
was before the outer world knew of the threat of danger. To them, and
the letters written and mailed to foreign correspondents before the
fatal day, we owe the clear idea of what was going on.

The Voice of St. Lucia, printed at Castries, had this story on May 8
of the days preceding the destruction of St. Pierre:

"Mount Pelee began to show signs of uneasiness in the last days of
April. On the 3d inst. it began to throw out dense volumes of smoke,
and at midnight belched out flames, accompanied by rumbling noises.
Flames were again visible at half-past five o'clock the next morning,
and similar noises were audible. At the foot of Mount Pelee are the
villages of Precheurs and Ste. Philomene. The inhabitants were thrown
into great consternation by the sights and sounds, and especially by
the darkening of the day by volumes of thick smoke and clouds of
ashes, which were falling. There was an exodus from all over the

"St. Pierre was on the morning of May 3 covered with a layer of ashes
about a quarter of an inch thick, and appeared as if enveloped in a
fog. The mountain was wrapped in the smoke which issued from it. The
greatest anxiety prevailed, and all business was suspended.

"A very anxious morning was passed on the island May 4. Thanks,
however, to a sea breeze, the situation appeared better at eleven
o'clock, but as the breeze died away at sunset, ashes again began to
fall, and the mountain and its environs presented a most dismal
spectacle, causing much alarm as to what the night would bring forth.
Nothing happened, however, and on Monday morning May 5, although
everything was not quite serene, the aspect was decidedly encouraging.
Less excitement was visible.

"At about nine o'clock on the morning of the 6th a private telegram
came from Martinique, stating that the Plissonneau family had
chartered the steamer Topaze, one of the boats of the Compagnie
Girard, and had started for St. Lucia. At about eleven o'clock the
Topaze arrived with Mrs. Plissonneau, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Plissonneau
and three children, Mrs. Pierre Plissonneau and child, and others.

"They report that at noon on Monday a stream of burning lava suddenly
rushed down the southwestern slope of the mountain, and, following the
course of the Riviere Blanche, the bed of which is dry at this season
of the year, overwhelmed everything which obstructed its rush to the
sea. Estates and buildings were covered up by the fiery wave, which
appeared to rise to a height of some twenty feet over an area of
nearly a quarter of a mile. When the torrent had poured itself into
the sea, it was found that the Guerin sugar factory, on the beach,
five miles from the mountain and two from St. Pierre, was imbedded in
lava. The burning mass of liquid had taken only three minutes from the
time it was first perceived to reach the sea, five miles away.

"Then a remarkable phenomenon occurred. The sea receded all along the
western coast for about a hundred yards and returned with gentle
strength, covering the whole of the sea front of St. Pierre and
reaching the first houses on the Place Bertin. This created a general
panic, and the people made for the hills. Though the sea retired
again, without great damage being done ashore or afloat, the panic
continued, intensified by terrible detonations, which broke from the
mountain at short intervals, accompanied with dense emissions of smoke
and lurid flashes of flame.

"This was awful in daylight, but, when darkness fell, it was more
terrible still, and, at each manifestation of the volcano's anger,
people, in their nightclothes, carrying children, and lighted by any
sort of lamp or candle they had caught up in their haste, ran out into
the dark streets, wailing and screaming, and running aimlessly about
the town.

"The mental strain becoming unendurable, the Topaze was got ready, and
the refugees hurriedly went on board and started for St. Lucia. In the
afternoon the gentlemen of the party, having placed their families in
safety, returned by the Topaze to Martinique.

"In the meantime, telegrams were being sent from Martinique, imploring
that a steamer be chartered to bring away terrified people from St.
Pierre. But the superintendent of the Royal Mail company, at Barbados,
would not allow one of the coasting boats, the only steamer available,
to go to Martinique. At a little before five o'clock in the afternoon
cable communication was interrupted and remains so."

Martinique mails, forwarded just prior to the disaster, arrived in
Paris on May 18. The newspapers printed a number of private letters
from St. Pierre, giving many details of events immediately preceding
the catastrophe. The most interesting of these was a letter from a
young lady, who was among the victims, dated May 3. After describing
the aspect of St. Pierre before dawn, the town being lit up with
flames from the volcano, everything covered with ashes, and the people
excited, yet not panic-stricken, she said:

"My calmness astonished me. I am awaiting the event tranquilly. My
only suffering is from the dust which penetrates everywhere, even
through closed windows and doors. We are all calm. Mama is not a bit
anxious. Edith alone is frightened. If death awaits us there will be a
numerous company to leave the world. Will it be by fire or asphyxia?
It will be what God wills. You will have our last thought. Tell
brother Robert that we are still alive. This will, perhaps, be no
longer true when this letter reaches you."

The Edith mentioned was a lady visitor who was among the rescued. This
and other letters inclosed samples of the ashes which fell over the
doomed town. The ashes were a bluish-gray, impalpable powder,
resembling newly ground flour and slightly smelling of sulphur.

Another letter, written during the afternoon of May 3, says:

"The population of the neighborhood of the mountain is flocking to the
city. Business is suspended, the inhabitants are panic-stricken and
the firemen are sprinkling the streets and roofs, to settle the ashes,
which are filling the air."

The letters indicate that evidences of the impending disaster were
numerous five days before it occurred.

Still another letter says:

"St. Pierre presents an aspect unknown to the natives. It is a city
sprinkled with gray snow, a winter scene without cold. The
inhabitants of the neighborhood are abandoning their houses, villas
and cottages, and are flocking to the city. It is a curious pell-mell
of women, children and barefooted peasants, big, black fellows loaded
with household goods. The air is oppressing; your nose burns. Are we
going to die asphyxiated? What has to-morrow in store for us? A flow
of lava, rain or stones or a cataclysm from the sea? Who can tell?
Will give you my last thought if I must die."

A St. Pierre paper of May 3 announces that an excursion arranged for
the next day to Mount Pelee had been postponed, as the crater was
inaccessible, adding that notice would be issued when the excursion
would take place.

An inhabitant of Morne Rouge, a town of 600 inhabitants, seven
kilometers from St. Pierre, who was watching the volcano at the moment
of the catastrophe, said that there were seven luminous points on the
volcano's side just before it burst.

He said that all about him when the explosion came, there was a
terrible suction of air which seemed to be dragging him irresistibly
toward the mountain in spite of all his resistance. The volcano then
emitted a sheet of flame which swept down toward St. Pierre. There was
no sharp, distinct roar of explosion as when a great cannon is fired,
but only awful jarring rumblings.

He thought that the entire outburst that did all the work of havoc did
not last more than thirty seconds. Then there was complete darkness
for ten minutes, caused by the dense volumes of sulphurous smoke and
clouds of dust and shattered rocks. The entire country all about St.
Pierre was turned into a chaotic waste. All the trees were either torn
up by the roots or snapped off, to lie level with the ground.

The outlines of the town but imperfectly remained. The tangle of
debris was such that after the rescuers came, it was with difficulty
that the course of streets could be followed.

In spite of the horrible surroundings, and the universal wave of human
sympathy which had been evoked, looting began almost as soon as
relief. As soon as it was possible to land, ghouls began to rob the
bodies of the victims. The monsters plied their nefarious trade in
small boats. Skimming along the shore they would watch for an opening
when troops and rescue parties were elsewhere, then land, grab what
they could, and sail away again.

The United States government tug Potomac, while on her way to Fort de
France with supplies from San Juan, Porto Rico, overhauled a small
boat containing five negroes and a white man. Something in the
appearance of the men excited the suspicions of the commander of the
Potomac, Lieutenant McCormick, and he ordered them to come on board.
When they were searched, their pockets were found to be filled with
coin and jewelry. Rings in their possession had evidently been
stripped from the fingers of the dead. Lieutenant McCormick placed
them all under arrest, and later turned them over to the commander of
the French cruiser Suchet for punishment.

Thus it was that no detail of grewsome horror was lacking to make the
shocking tale of the destruction of St. Pierre complete.

The hour of the disaster is placed at about eight o'clock. A clerk in
Fort de France called up another by telephone in St. Pierre and was
talking with him at 7:55 by Fort de France time, when he heard a
sudden, awful shriek, and then could hear no more.

"The little that actually happened then can be briefly, very briefly
told," says W. S. Merriwether, the New York Herald correspondent. "It
is known that at one minute there lay a city smiling in the summer
morning; that in another it was a mass of swirling flames, with every
soul of its 30,000 writhing in the throes of death. One moment and
church bells were ringing joyful chimes in the ears of St. Pierre's
30,000 people--the next the flame-clogged bells were sobbing a requiem
for 30,000 dead. One waft of morning breeze flowed over cathedral
spires and domes, over facades and arches and roofs and angles of a
populous and light-hearted city--the next swept a lone mass of white
hot ruins. The sun glistened one moment on sparkling fountains, green
parks and fronded palms--its next ray shone on fusing metal,
blistered, flame-wrecked squares and charred stumps of trees. One day
and the city was all light and color, all gayety and grace--the next
its ruins looked as though they had been crusted over with twenty
centuries of solitude and silence."

St. Pierre was a vast charnel-house. Skirting for nearly a league the
blue waters of the Caribbean, its smoking ruins became the funeral
pyre of 30,000, not one of whom lived long enough to tell adequately a
story that will stand grim, awful, unforgotten as that of Herculaneum,
when the world is older by a thousand years.

St. Pierre was as dead as Pompeii. Most of her people lay fathoms deep
in a tomb made in the twinkling of an eye by the collapse of their
homes, and sealed forever under tons of boiling mud, avalanches of
scoria and a hurricane of volcanic dust.

Over the entombed city the volcano from a dozen vents yet poured its
steaming vapors in long, curling wreaths, that mounted thousands of
feet aloft, like smoking incense from a gigantic censer above the bier
of some mighty dead.

Such was the disaster which burst upon the hapless people of the
island of Martinique, while almost at the same moment a sister isle,
St. Vincent, was suffering a kindred fate. Similar in natural
conditions, these two little colonies of the West Indies, one French
and one English by affiliation, underwent the shock of nature's
assault and sank in grief before a horror-stricken world.

Transcriber's Note

There are some inconsistencies in the chapter subheadings between the
Table of Contents and chapters themselves; these have been left as

There is some variation in factual information--for example, the amount
held in the Mint. These occurrences have all been preserved as printed.

There is some variable spelling; this has been repaired where there
was an obvious prevalence of one form over the other, but is otherwise
left as printed. There is a reference on page 112 to "gambling hells",
which seems to be a genuine term, although it could be a typo for
"gambling halls". Since there is no way to be certain, it has been
preserved as printed. Archaic spelling has been preserved as printed.

Typographic errors in punctuation and spelling (omitted or transposed
letters, etc.) have been repaired. Hyphenation has been made
consistent where there was a prevalence of one form over the other.

The following errors have also been repaired:

    Page 18--John amended to James--"Former Mayor James D.

    Page 47--aids amended to aides--"It was not without a
    struggle that Mayor Schmitz and his aides let this, ..."

    Page 93--omitted word 'he' added, for sense--"Kanaka
    Pete chased the man he had marked ..."

    Page 160--omitted 0 added to tabular entry for

    Page 317--damage to the bottom of the page has left one
    word partially obscured. From the visible letters and
    available space, the word is most likely 'gradually',
    which has been used in this e-text.

    Page 372--Callas amended to Callao--"... producing a new
    bay at Callao; and in several mountains ..."

    Page 373--XXXII amended to XXXI--"CHAPTER XXXI."

    Page 382--XXXI amended to XXXII--"CHAPTER XXXII."

    Page 401--omitted word 'if' added following 'as'--"It
    was as if St. Pierre had been just dipped ..."

The frontispiece illustrations have been moved to follow the title
page. Other illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they
are not in the middle of a paragraph.

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