The New San Francisco Magazine
Peninsular Publishing Company
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
ROOM 31, 1165 WASHINGTON ST., OAKLAND, CAL.
2309 CEDAR STREET - PHONE BERKELEY 1549
San Francisco Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
—The City of a Hundred Hills
—The Fight Along the Line
—The Campaign from Headquarters
—Martial Law Proclaimed
—In Newspaper Angle
—Chinatown in Ruins
—The Last Stand
—The Golden City
Get Busy!, by Honorable George C. Pardee, Governor
of the State of California
Earthquakes and the Weather Bureau, by Professor Alexander G. McAdie, Chief of United States Weather Bureau, Pacific Coast
The Work of the Regulars, by Brigadier General Frederick Funston, Commanding the Department of California, U.S.A.
The Army and Navy in Times of Peace, by Burleigh Davison
A Glimpse Into the Future, by Arthur R. Briggs, Manager California State Board of Trade
Launching the New San Francisco Magazine, by
Frederick S. Burrows, President
—Two Hundred Million Dollars
—Our Sisters on the Shore
—Important to Subscribers
—The Burnham Plans
A Lively Town
As Others See Us
—Will Crown Again Her Splendid Hills — Los Angeles Times, April 22
—As Ye Sow, Ye Shall Reap — Oakland Tribune, April 21
—San Francisco, April 25
—Building of New City
—Tribute to Womanhood — Los Angeles Express, April 20
—The Earthquake — Atlanta Constitution
—Calamity at the Golden Gate — St. Louis Globe-Democrat
—The Stricken City — Indianapolis Morning Star
—San Francisco — Placerville Mountain Democrat
San Francisco, in point of population the eighth city of the United States,—the first city of the Golden West,—the natural and undisputed metropolis of the Pacific Coast,—is in trouble. San Franicsco, the child of adversity,—born of a gigantic struggle of man against conditions,—is reeling from a blow which would almost surely have proven mortal to any other city of the world. Trembling in every sinew, blackened and wrung by a conflict against overwhelming odds, the fair Guardian of the Gate to-day shakes back her tawny mane and gazes with indominitable pluck and spirit on the work set forth for her to do. San Francisco stops not to question; lingering for a moment she regains her breath; and now, a few short weeks from the disastrous fire and earthquake which laid her low, the New City is springing from her ashes,—more beautiful, more energetic, more ambitious than ever before.
Such has been the courage of the West since first those adventurous spirits penetrated to its depths and blazed the way for the hardy pioneers who followed them across the plains. Such was the spirit of Alvarado and his Conquistadores; Custer with his brave and fallen few; Lewis and Clark; Sutter, Fremont and Kearny. Such was the brawn and sinew which came to the coast in '49; and such, thank God! is the spirit in the hearts of San Francisco's men and women to-day. Violent contortions of the very earth beneath their feet have bewildered them; scathing flames have swept from them the homes they loved; but, facing with eager and earnest eyes these terrible discouragements, the people of San Francisco welcome the opportunity to work for the reincarnation of their fallen metropolis.
In 1769 two Franciscan fathers sailed through the Golden Gate,—the first white men who had ever plied the wonderful waters of San Francisco Bay. Attracted by the natural opening and the verdant hills and valleys, they anchored inside the landlocked harbor for several days, returning to the southward with great tales of the wonderful peninsula and its incomparable location. A few years later, Ayala, a Spanish lieutenant, surveyed the harbor and gave his knowledge to the world. From that time on San Francisco's history has been a fulfilment of early prophecies. Its progress has been steady, staunch, never-failing. Spanish hidalgos soon found their way by land and sea to the "Peninsula of Promise," and great ranchos sprang up around San Francisco Bay. In 1776 Friars Cambon and Palon [Palou—ed.] founded the first permanent settlement on the peninsula (Then called "Yerba Buena"—"Good Land" [Good Herb—ed.]) and commenced the erection of the now-famous Mission Dolores. For sixty years thereafter the people lead a quiet, agrarian life, until the advent of the Hudson Bay Company in 1936.
But the discovery of Gold by James W. Marshall, in 1848, transformed San Francisco from a Spanish village to a pulsing, energetic city. Hundreds of overland caravans braved the savage Indians in a rush for the new bonanza; over 500 ships came around Cape Horn in one year, loaded with prospectors; and by the end of 1852 San Francisco boasted a population of 42,000 souls—rough and tempestuous, perhaps, but plucky, inventive and resourceful men and women who had staked their all on California. As one writer has said: "In those strange days people coming from God knows where, joined forces in that far western land, according to the rude customs of the camp, their names were soon lost and unrecorded. Here they stuggled, laughed, gambled, cursed, killed, loved and worked out their strange destinies in a manner incredible to us to-day. Of one thig only are we sure,—they lived."
Through all of this chaos San Francisco thrust her way, never pausing, nor retrograding, nor looking back. Her shipping interests soon began to command attention; across the dreary plains came the curving lines of steam railroads; around the Horn came huge sailing vessels filled with home-seekers. Impelled by the splendid spirit of progress and enthusiasm the city grew, and flourished, and became famous. Honest men took command of municipal affairs, and from that rough-and-tumble mining camp they hewed a city now known and honored throughout the civilized world, a city which boasted, on that fateful April morning, a populaton of 500,000 persons and over half a billion dollars' worth of taxable, saleble, desirable realty.
"The City of a Hundred Hills"
San Francisco has been called "The City of a Hundred Hills." From a narrow strip of level ground on the landward side of the peninsula it spreads over the undulating mounds which rise and fall between the bay and the sea. Some of the hills rise so abruptly that strangers watch with trepidation the sturdy cable-cars which mount their sides—clinging, as it seems, to the very grass-tufts between the tracks. But this is only another type of California "grit." Across the hills, on the seaward side of the city, lie the famous Presidio military reservation and Golden Gate Park. The Presidio grounds include 1500 acres and constitute perhaps the most valuable land possession of the War Department of the United States. More than half of the land is covered with groves of eucalyptus and pine trees, and the long drives are lined with beautiful shrubbery and palms. Golden Gate Park presents a striking illustration of progress. Though twenty-five years old, it in only lately that the greater part of its thousand broad acres has been transformed from desolate sand dunes to a fairyland of trees and flowers. The park is about four miles long, and reaches its beautiful foliage and driveways to the very edge of the Pacific Ocean. Both the Presidio and the Park were destined to play an important part in the holocaust of April 18th.
Through the center of San Francisco, from the Ferry Building to the southern outskirts, lies Market Street,—the Broadway of the Pacific. Along this famous highway stood the monuments to the city's progress,—massive buildings of brick and stone and redwood. The latter material for many years has formed the basis for San Francisco's building operations. What plasted hopes lie parched and dying at its doors to-day! How many times have San Franciscans borne the brunt of criticism and boasted that their redwood buildings would safely withstand the rigors of fire and disaster! How sadly has it failed to justify this trust! Yet it is doubtful if any building material on earth could have stood the firey assault which for three long days and nights besieged the stricken city.
Market Street divided the old San Francisco socially as well as geographically. On its southern side lay the districts peopled by the more humble classes of the city's inhabitants,—the Mission, the Potrero and South San Francisco. Clustered in hundreds of wooden apartment houses and cottages on that side of town were probably 100,000 of the workingmen and their families.
Above Market Street, reposing majestically on the beautiful hills of the city, stood the magnificent latter-day castles of the money kings of San Francisco,—Flood, Crocker, Huntington, Spreckels, Hopkins, Green, Scott, De Young and a hundred others,—splendid examples of the skill of architect and artisan, in the erection of which many a good fortune had found its way. At intervals, on the heights and prominences around them, lay grassy squares and parks devoted to the city's host, reflecting in miniature the comforts and joys of the great pleasure garden on the shores of the Pacific.
Beyond the city, vieing with each other in beauty, environment and accessibility, lay a dozen or more of the most perfect suburban hamlets in this broad country. Until within the past five years peninsular suburbs have received little or no attention from home-seekers, the exodus having been largely confined to the beautiful sister city of Oakland and its neighbors, Berkeley and Alameda, across the bay on the mainland. Indeed, a single ferry line connecting San Francisco with those peaceful cities carried to and from them in 1905 more passengers than any other line of steam, trolley or ferry transportation in the United States. The number was more than thirteen million, which far exceeded the traffic carried to and from New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburg of St. Louis.
But it has recently been apparent to the realty men of San Francisco that hundreds in that hurrying throng who nightly crowded the ferries disliked the long ride across the bay and the four-mile moles at which the boats landed, and were seeking a location which should be immediately adjunctive to the city. In view of this demand, vast tracts of land were purchased at various distances along the peninsula and millions of dollars were being expended in the improvement of these sections for townsites. Connecting lines of trolley or steam were projected or in the process of construction; streets were appearing among the hills and valleys,—graded and sewered, paved and arbored, as befitted the boulevards of this great metropolis. For miles along the peninsula on either side could bee seen the busy workmen preparing homes and home sites for the thousands of merchants and manufacturers and tradesmen who are annually immigrating to the city. Here and there, at short intervals, rose a comfortable cottage, bungalow, or more pretentious residence. Over the entire peninsula, from Fort Point to Palo Alto, hung the same air of pride and peace and progress. None looked for evil or disaster; none dreamed of peril or privation; all watched the growth of the city with an ever-present consciousness of her greatness, and lingered not a moment over the picture of her possible desolation.
Such, in brief, was the condition of the city of San Francisco when the sun rose over the Berkeley hills on the morning of April 18th. Stillness hovered over the countless streets, and peace reigned in her thousand homes. The wheels of industry and commerce, resting from their labors, silently awaited the touch which should send them whirling into the activity of another day. Here and there an early milk-vender made his way through the sleeping streets. A belated cab or two, bearing homeward a company of bon vivants or maudlin singers, rattled through the famous "Tenderloin"—for San Francisco, extreme as it is in its virtures, is extreme also in its vices, and clings to its title of widedness with the same tenacity which has characterized its entire development. But the gorgeous and guady dens of illicit pleasure now lie buried in the common grave,—"requiescat in pace!"
At exactly five thirteen o'clock, then, on the morning of the eighteenth of April, year of our Lord one thousand, nine hundred and six, with a crashing, rumbling intonation incomprehensible to all save those to whom the experience has come,—the most violent contortion of the earth's surface ever known on the Western Hemisphere wrung from the horrified thousands who people that Golden City a cry of despair which echoed round the world, and drew from her distant sisters and admirers the ready help which came pouring in from the first hour and has continued steadily ever since. Beginning, according to authorities, in the vicinity of San Mateo, a beautiful suburb some twenty miles to the southward, the great subterranean temblor rolled and thundered over the entire peninsula; shivered along the mainland through San Jose, Oakland, Berkely, Alameda, Santa Rosa and half a hundred small towns; and wrought a billion dollars' worth of destruction in the twinkling of an eye. With a noise which none of those 500,000 souls shall ever erase from memory, the great stratas of rock and conglomerate which form Yerba Buena rolled and rotated in veriest agony. Like a broadside from the gunnery of the entire world boomed the hand of Almighty God through that writhing mass which He has fashioned from a habitation of His children. For forty awful seconds this living place of man was torn and rent by the internal forces of nature at war amongst themselves. And then,—the awful, awful stillness!
But what of humanity through all those fearful seconds of time? What of the horror-stricken thousands standing amidst the crackling structures of brick and wood and stone, which swayed, and paused, and swayed again to the very brink of Eternity? Awakened from the quiet repose of a night they rose or lay quivering, face to face with death itself. Few, I believe, but reached out a hand to touch the Presence of God. Few among those who swayed in that tumbling cataclysm and dreamed of any earthly future. The end of life, as to them, was more easily to be believed. Trembling and bewildered, questioning but unanswered, they lived that fraction of time as in a dream,—a startling, staring embroglio which carried them beyond the realms of reality out into the Never-never Land and left them, panting and helpless, worn and wondering, in the midst of alarms.
As abruptly as it came—so went the temblor. Silently the troubled ground sank back; the dust and debris of ruined buildings found a resting-place; the waters of the bay were calmed. "Peace, be still," the mandate came from Heaven, and was obeyed. The dreadful dream was over. No chronicler nor story-teller can describe, with accuracy, the workings of the human mind. No dreamer of dreams, nor thinker of thoughts, can tabulate the millions of prayers, and hopes and desires of that vast multitude on San Francisco's hills who gathered there in the early morning light and waited. Waited—for what? For the final great Destruction, of which we had read in the stirring chapters of the Revelations? For the moving and living Presence which should point the way to Paradise? Perhaps not. Yet it is safe to assume that those who knew or had known a God or godhead spanned the chasm of earthly things during those awful seconds and sought peace in other worlds than this.
Groups formed quickly in the streets, shaking their heads and nodding vacantly at friends and relatives. And then, as at Babel 2000 years ago, speech returned to them; conversation begat reason, and reason in turn brought forth action. Father and son, sister and brother, husband and wife, clasped in close embrace, thanked God for the other. The disaster had come, and gone, and left them scathless. The chimneys of houses were gone; others bewailed the loss of cornice or spire. Interior furnishings lay in crumpled heaps about them, while favorite paintings and mementoes were now but past glories. But that damage could be repaired in a week, or a month; the lost could be replaced by more. Their loved ones were safe! Truly, God was good!
But see—what was the strange yellow glow down towards the wharves, the docks and the Mission? Now it hovered over a familiar building, or died away in the hazy sunlight. Again it radiated a brilliancy which defied the sun itself. Can it be reflection? queried the anxious? A spurt of flame over the housetops answered the question,—it was fire! Fire! Fire! Six, eight, ten, a dozen places burst into flame while the anxious lips still discuss the first. From the engine houses of the city, on whose walls hung medal, and prize, and bade of honor, come the bravest crew of fire-fighters that ever mounted burning walls or hacked their way through flames and smoke to defeat death. Surely those bright red flames could be but a question of a few hours!
Past Market Street and into the Mission and Potrero dashed engines, and ladders, and hose-carts. Up to the fire-plugs and ready for business, in a shorter time than their record. Off comes the cap of the nozzle and on with the waiting hose. Turn that wrench. Seconds are dollars now! Stand back from that hose! But three strong tugs at the nozzle bring no answering spurt to gladden the hearts of the firemen. A few drops trickle through the hose and play upon a deserted fence some ten feet away. There is no water! Vainly those heroes strain at plug and nozzle; desperately they watch the flames mount round them, licking the buildings with their cruel tingues and breathing hot smoke and cinders into their grimy faces. THERE IS NO WATER! Do you understand? Can you see those awful flames leap from roof to roof with maddening speed and devilish ferocity? Can you picture that gallant army of hose and ax, awaiting with straining hearts a chance to do their duty? Far down the street, at a curve where the earthquake's wrath has torn the street asunder, do you see the tons upon tons of precious water rushing from the broken mains and flowing bayward,—lost and gone forever,—the only possible savior of the doomed city?
That is the story of 300,000 homeless ones. A fire department unsurpassed in all the world stood helpless before a raging holocaust, while a thousand feet away reposed three-fifths of all the water on the globe! From the heights the people gazed awestruck at the spectacle. Scarce recovered from the fearful shocks which wakes and sent them staggering for help, those pitiful, clinging throngs battled with nature to retain their senses. Along the paths chosen by the flames hundreds of half-clad families rushed blindly towards safety. Clasping her babies, a frantic mother fled for the high ground, leaving behind the thousand and one trinkets which made for happiness. Great walls crashed behind her; the street heaved in front,—but courage and womanhood go hand in hand in San Francisco and she gained the coveted resting-place. Back in that sea of flame and flying ashes the husbands and fathers and brothers of those fleeing bands joined forces with the police and fire laddies to stop the awful desolation of their homes. But there was no water!
The Fight Along the Line
All through the long Wednesday morning those splendid workers battled against the firece flames which were eating at the heart of San Francisco. All day the streets were filled with hurrying thousands who sought some refuge from that avalanche of fire. Commencing in some fourteen places along Mission, Howard and Folsom Streets, the greedy flames made rapid way through the flat lands between Market Street and the bay. Office and warehouse, cottage and mansion, alike succumbed to that terrible baptism of flame and heat.
To the watchers on the hills the fire seemed to be a thing alive—greedy, insatiable, pitiless. Like a snarling beast long kept from food it filled again and again its awful maw. From gable to garret and nook to corner it stole, leaving naught but barest bones to mark its path. Oh! the pity of it! Defenceless [sic.] and unprepared, the Golden City met the foe and offered its treasures, one by one, to appease the hunger of those dreadful flames. Only at long intervals was any sound heard above the crackling of burning wood or the crash of falling walls. Occasionally, however, the air was rent with loud detonations as some mighty building gave up its life before the raging heat. But in the main it was a silent sacrafice. In mute appeal the vast section along the bay lifted up its eyes to the hills,—and there was no help.
The sight from beyond the fire line was an impressive one. Huge billows of smoke rose over the entire city, colored brilliantly by countless hues from the fire beneath. The burning of a mighty colony of oil tanks can best convey an impression of the picture, though none can describe the raging hell of fire along the streets. At intervals the vast audience would see the outline of some well-known building stand out amidst the clouds of smoke, its windows filled with darting yellow flames and its sides charred and grimy with battle. Again the vision changed and through long lanes of fire one might descry a gallant little army of workers, eagerly seizing the slender chance to save some precious records, or to erect a hurried barricade.
The Campaign from Headquarters
In a large room at the beautiful Hall of Justice (even then doomed to fall before the flames) sat the indomitable officials of San Francisco, hastily banded together by a common knowledge of the city's peril. At the head, troubled but undismayed, was one whose personality throughout the entire struggle exemplified the glorious spirit which has made California and San Francisco great. Elected to the highest office in the gift of the city's people, it is but sensible to admit that Mayor Schmitz was not, until the present crisis, in possession of the complete faith or confidence of the body politic in San Francisco. Social and political enemies and opponents had been free and energetic in their criticisms of the man and his methods, and had secured many followers. Charges of party graft and municipal putrescence were rife throughout the city and the commonwealth. Mayor Schmitz was incompetent; a slave to party prejudice; a figurehead. His rule was gang rule and the city but a chess-board on which he and his cohorts played for personal gain. These and other accusations beseiged the chief executive on every side, while the city grew and improved. But now the accusing voice is still; those who one rebuked have changed their words to praise; and all who know of his work during those days of agony and uncertainty, are proud to do him homage.
For Mayor Schmitz has vindicated himself and his ambitions. In this emergency, when those supposed to hold the balance of power had fled, he has proven himself the man of the hour; a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. For three long days and longer nights, supported by a small band of stalwarts, he sat in his quarters (wherever they might be) planning, directing and watching the effect of the ways and means employed to stop the awful conflagration. In all that time he slept but little; ate but little; and thought much. Together with Brigadier-General Funston and Mr. James Phelan (ex-Mayor of San Francisco) he put his stalwart shoulders against the pitiless wheel of Destiny and stopped its mad career. And when the summons comes for those men who have fought and fearlessly strived that San Francisco might be great, the name of Eugene E. Schmitz should take high place amongst the rest.
By noon on Wednesday the fire (or multitude of fires) had consumed nearly a square mile of the city on the south side of Market street and was even then encroaching on that sacred high-way. All through the morning orders had gone forth in never-ending stream, tending to bring order out of chaos and system out of the wild misspent energies of those seeking to do good. Bands of volunteers were detailed for the many and various kinds of work to be accomplished. Some, armed with revolvers and official authority, were sworn in as deputy marshals and hurried off to restore order and prevent crime. Others were sent post haste through the burning streets to announce the approaching disaster and help in the flight for safer ground. Still another corps made brave sallies into the flaming districts to find the dead and dying. And here should be said a word for those tender hands and arms which raised the sick and helpless and carried them to safety out of the very jaws of death. No mother's touch was gentler than that of those gaunt and earnest men who risked their lives in the hope of saving a less fortunate brother. Hither and thither through the streets ran ambulance and automobile, on errands of mercy or assistance, some commanded by their gallant owners themselves, who had volunteered their services to the city, while others were commandeered by orders from headquarters. Out on the hills, where stood the splendid hospitals of the city, white-gowned nurses waited eager and ready to soothe and care for the sick and injured ones. Noble surgeons and physicians cast aside thoughts of personal losses and gave willingly the help and succor at their command. One of theses splendid heroes, honored and prosperous in the city of Los Angeles, from which he had come at the first cry for assistance, gave up his life in the work of mercy. "Greater love hath no man than this."
Martial Law Proclaimed
It was nine o'clock the first day of the disaster before Mayor Schmitz deemed the situation of such seriousness as to require the service and assistance of federal troops. His request for same, however, met with almost instantaneous response from Brigadier-General Frederick Funston, Commander of the Department of California, and temporarily in charge of the entire Pacific Division during the absence of Major General A.W. Greely. General Funston had already done many things to endear himself to the people of California. Ever since his appointment to the leadership of the Army on the Pacific Coast he has shown himself to be heartily in accord with the spirit of the West, and it is doubltful if any officer has ever before made as many friends among the civilians of a community during a short time as he has made in San Francisco.
Immediately upon receipt of an appeal from Mayor Schmitz the general commenced to "do things." Acting in full accord with the city officials he proclaimed a state of martial law throughout San Francisco, and ordered 1,500 of the regular troops under his command at the Presidio into the city, where they were quickly deployed through the streets. Supplementing this prompt action by the head of the army, Mayor Schmitz issued his famous order that any person discovered in the act of looting, or appropriating any property not his own, should be shot without question. This command, when it became known, caused an exodus of the human vultures who hovered around the burning city, and saved the people of San Francisco from a dangerous and desperate element of civilization, which, under less rigorous authority, would have brought untold trouble and anziety to the already unhappy populace.
In the early afternoon the fire, not to be denied, crossed Market street in several places at once. Far up the street, a mile from the Ferry Building, the red flames curled around the dome of the City Hall, reducting that famous piece of architecture to a mass of ruins in a short half-hour. The invalids in the Central Emergency Hospital, located on the ground floor, were only rescued by splendid work on the part of some of the attendants. From the City Hall the flames reached across Larkin street to the famous old Mechanics' Pavilion,—the scene of more prize-ring fistic battles than any other building in the world. All morning this immense hall had been used as a receiving hospital, and when the fire reached it, over three hundred sick and injured lay within its walls. Hastily summoning all the vehicles within call, these poor souls were carried away to distant parts of the city, some when the very roof above was crackling with the heat. The destruction of the Pavilion was accomplished in a short span of minutes, after which the flames leaped to the Hotel St. Nicholas, and from there into the homes and small business blocks located in that section of the city.
In Newspaper Angle
Further down Market street, towards the ferries and the bay, at the intersection of Kearny, Geary and Third street, stood four massive buildings,—three of which were owned and occupied by the leading dailies of San Francisco; the "Chronicle," "Call," and "Examiner." This point was appropriately named "Newspaper Angle." Each of the buildings was a credit to the city. The Spreckels Building (in which the "Call" made its home) was a modern steel structure of eighteen stories, the most commanding in the City; the "Examiner" home, a neat, eight-story building of Moorish design; while the "Chronicle" depended upon its solid, eight-story brick building, which had been the pride of the city for many years. Next door to the Chronicle Building and connected by arched doorways and promenades, stood the uncompleted Chronicle Addition,—sixteen stories high,—towering above all the other structures in that part of the city. Across Market street and removed only a few feet from "Newspaper Angle, stood the new Monandock office building and the Palace Hotel. All of these buildings had nobly stood the test of the earthquake's shock, forever ending the discussion as to the advisability of erecting high buildings in San Francisco. The modern steel skyscraper has come to stay. Of all the many structures in the city these mighty buildings of steel and stone showed the least effect of the temblor. But the fire would brook no interference from even these giants.
Attacking the Palace Hotel, Examiner and Call buildings from the rear, aided by the flimsy wooden structures around them, the flames soon had control of the situation at "Newspaper Angle" and poured into the skyscrapers by window and door and skylight. The Palace Hotel, world-famous for half a century, was soon a roaring furnace,—its beautiful courtyard serving as a huge chimney through which the blazing embers mounted to the sky. The Examiner building proved to be almost equally conbustible, offering only slight resistance to the scorching heat, and then, wall and flooring, went crashing to the ground. The Spreckels, or Call, building proved to be the most formidable opponent in the path of the flames. Attacked again and again by the remorseless heat, gutten from cellar to dome, its walls stood staunchly on their foundations and to-day rear their sides straight and high and undaunted in the sea of desolation around them.
From the Palace and Monandock buildings the flames reached out their angry tenacles and clutched the Chronicle building and its new addition, together with smaller structures surrounding them. Here, too, they met with sturdy resistance and the old and new buildings which formerly housed the famous daily stand steady and firm to-day. Out Kearny street the fire made its way, meeting at one of the cross streets another great conflagration which had come across town from the region of the wharves. Together these mighty forces of destruction swept up Sutter and California streets, pausing over the quaint and fantastic quarters in Dupont street which have been heralded all around the world,—"Chinatown," the home of the Celestials in America. But only for a few moments did that strange and oft-sung section hold the attention of the fire. Frail and flimsy and dry, its slender walls made but little food for the raging flames and they swept on up the hill, leaving behind an even greater mark of ruin than had been the fate of the city below.
Chinatown in Ruins
Since the inception of the city, San Francisco has boasted (or rather, admitted) a Chinatown. While it was yet a troubled mining camp, before the days of the exclusion laws, the yellow men from across the Pacific came pouring through the Golden Gate into the Land of Promise and pitched their tents on the peninsula. Out on the side of a flanking hill—then well removed from the center of population—they chose a camping-ground, which has since developed into a busy settlement. Around the little plot, filled with its myriads of blind alleys, cellarways and dark and gloomy passages, the city grew and extended, until Chinatown was regarded as a part of its very core. In this small quarter, at the time of the conflagration, more than 35,000 Chinamen strolled, worked, chattered and had their being. Thousands of tourists visited the section every year, attracted by the silks and fantastic novelties of its many curio shops, or by the grosser excitement of a trip through the underground passages which led to the opium dives and other weird sights of the Celestial colony.
But Chinatown is now no more than a memory. The shops and joss-houses, the gambling dens which so long eluded the vigilance of the police, the swaying lanterns and hanging gardens,—all have vanished. How many lives were lost in the crowded square we will never know. Hundreds who moved beneath the level of the streets must necessarily have perished. To-day the survivors are huddled in frightened groups about the ruined city, awaiting some action by the municipal officers which shall give them a new abiding place. This will probably be located six miles to the southward of the city, on a jet of land called Hunter's Point. Here the Chinese will be re-colonized and here they will work out their destinies. But it will be many years before the new Chinatown can hope to be such a point of interest and entertainment as the old—and the strange atmosphere of the Orient is gone forever.
The Last Stand
Through the long Wednesday night and Thursday morning countless caravans journeyed from the burning city towards the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Over those broad and blessed acres sprang a great city of tents, peopled by 200,000 refugees. Others hastened to the ferries, and, forsaking all, fled to the mainland and away from the city they professed to love so well. But, though it is estimated that 100,000 left the peninsula during the three days of the holocaust, nearly 50,000 have already returned, to build anew their fallen homes—and many more will come when accomidations are prepared to receive them.
Across the city, running north and south, situated about a mile above the center of the burned district, lay Van Ness Avenue, a boulevard lined with many splendid homes, churches, hotels, and other accessories of an exclusive residence avenue. Here, on Thursday evening, after almost thirty-six hours of continuous dynamiting and fire-fighting, Mayor Schmitz, General Funston and the strategy board whom they had called into consultation, decided to concentrate all efforts to control the flames. By this time the fire on the south side of Market street had about burned itself out, and refugees were already encamped on the smouldering ruins in the Mission. Though many other points along the line had been chosen as bases for operations against the flames, none had been successful, owing to the narrow streets and the prevailing winds. Van Ness Avenue, however, being exceptionally broad and flat and less encumbered with frame structures which had befriended the fire in the lower part of the city, was considered the most strategic point at which to fight the flames. From this it must not be deduced that the subsequent victory along Van Ness Avenue was an easy one. It was the last stand of a brave and dauntless band of heroes who would not understand defeat. Inch by inch they had battled with a fierce and remorseless enemy whose creed was complete annihilation; an enemy which asked no quarter, and gave none; which spurned arbitration or compromise; and which only surrendered, snarling and sullen, when the last of its pitiless flames were stamped out by the guant and tired fighters.
Thursday night, April 19th, will long be remembered by the citizens of San Francisco. Sleepless and afraid, out under the open sky,—which seemed itself to be ablaze with all the fires of hell,—they listened through the long hours to the dull boom of dynamite which tore its way through Van Ness Avenue. In the two immense hospitals at the Presidio lay 500 sick and helpless men and women, while 200 more reposed on mattresses on the green lawns near-by. Along the shores of the wild ocean ten thousand beds were made in the soft sand, swept by the gentle breezes which came with heavenly softness from the Pacific. The quiet depths of Golden Gate Park and the Presidio grounds resounded all night with strange noises. And, until the morning sun arose, 300,000 homeless, bewildered people sought relief from their misery in the compansionship of others.
Fire and flame have necessarily had large part in this story. They have been the leading characters in the tragedy of the Pacific Coast. But, though there remains material for a hundred books, as far as the writer is concerned they must leave the stage. This is no morbid treatise on death and desolation. It is not a story of a city lost beyond redemption. It must not appear to be a piteous cry from a once-proud people. What San Francisco was in yesterday's tale of glory she will be again to-morrow,—but a hundred times more glorious. Whatever she has lost of material things she will regain a hundred fold. Things that are not, are not.
By Friday morning the gallant army of fire-fighters had prepared their barricades along Van Ness Avenue. Slowly the firey demon approached and began the assault. From the ruins of two days' carnage it poured its entire strength against the ingenuity of man. Vainly the flames stretched out their brands across that blessed space,—they were met at every point with failure. Once they gained a foothold on the western side of the avenue, only to be thrust back again by the vigilant defenders. Again and again, in hopeless agony, they seized a favored home and crushed it like a shelll. But the victory was won! The broad avenue had justified the confidence of its people and gained an everlasting fame. The fire was at an end! Sullenly and long it fought, seeking a loophole through which to send its emissaries of destruction. At last, broken and dying, it swept slowly back over those pitiful, smoking ruins and was lost among the debris. The fire was over,—the work was done,— and it was Friday night. Worn and weary, spent with lack of sleep and want of proper nourishment, the little band of soldiery, militia, police, firemen and stalwart volunteers relaxed. One by one they sought a quiet resting-place for their aching limbs; for they had saved one-half of a great city from destruction,—and saving a city is no child's work. The honor that they gained is theirs alone, and it is sacred. In other pages than this they will receive their meed of praise. As truly as in battle line they fought, and suffered, and held their own with Duty. Their reward lies in their work.
In the lives of men, and cities, and nations, there occasionally come times when the ordinary voice is stilled,—when the lips are dumb and the heart alone is qualified to speak. There are times when the wells of gratitude run dry, and the words we use seem but poor mediums to express the thoughts we think. San Francisco to-day faces such a situation. Her debt of gold worries her not at all; her debt of gratitude worries her much. What shall we say to the relief? What reward of earthly things will recompense its generosity? San Francisco was stricken, and worn, and troubled—the world laid its treasures at her feet. Are there phrases of speech, or lines of poetry and praise, with which to air our grateful thoughts? Some point to San Francisco's generosity of other days and quote of "casting bread upon the waters." But that will not absolve us from the debt. When San Francisco gave, it was from the fulness of her heart, with no thought of future need or selfish gain. If her hand was ready, it was pitying. If her gold went forth, her heart went with it. Little wot she of the days when trouble might bend its various course and turn upon her golden sands.
Yet the world remembered. From the nooks and crannies and forgotten places of the globe the world went forth,—"Help San Francisco!" The beehives of human industy paused in their grasping, whirling hum to set aside a princely gift. It is useless to try to do them individual honor in a printed book. From the millions to the pennies, from the car-load of supplies to the single jar of jellied fruit, the spirit was the same,—"Help San Francisco!" No part of the world was careless, no tiny voice unheard. Across the continent sped train and caravan loaded with material help. Over the telegraph wires, almost before they were restored, came messages of hope and encouragement and consolation. Through the banking houses came huge sums of money for relief and rescue work. North and South, East and West, freely gave; and, in giving, erected here a monument to their nobility.
And San Francisco will remember. No prayer or admonition is needed "lest we forget." Deep in the city's heart swells the gratitude of her people to the cities, organizations, institutions and individuals who have reached out the hand of mercy and given to us of their stores. No man or woman among those 300,000 hungry refugees who stood in the generous "bread line" through the dark days but feels a personal thankfulness to the brothers who sent them food. No shivering child who crept with untold joy into warm and kindly blankets but knows the world's philanthropy. And somewhere on the alabaster walls of New San Francisco, where all the world may see and know, the names of those who came to aid her when in trouble will appear in letters of gold,—that they may echo through the city's story as long as mortal things obtain.
"The Golden City"
It is obvious to any one who has considered the geographical location of the city that it could not, from a political or diplomatic standpoint, long remain a mass of ruins and tangled depris. Commanding, as it does, the western gate of the republic and the greatest ship harbor on the Pacific Coast, even partial evacuation would be a piece of national folly. Ignoring for a moment the spirit of progress in the mind of every true San Franciscan to-day, it would be incumbent upon the federal administration to maintain a stalwart fortification and a seaport of no mean proportions on Yerba Buena peninsula. To establish a seaport which would, in any measure, care for the ever-increasing Oriental trade, would mean the outlay of a vast sum of money if the work was thrown upon the shoulders of Uncle Sam and its execution left to hirelings.
But San Francisco's men and women are built of stern material. They ask nor expect no alms or charity,—federal or otherwise. The splendid aid which came from her sister cities in times of distress was accepted in the spirit in which it was given. To-day San Francisco is on her feet again and her people are already preparing the work which is ahead. The bone and sinew of the city's host stand on the ruins to-day, planning the New City which is soon to rise from the ashes,—the less healthy elements have fled. Scarecely before the ashes of old San Francisco had cooled, the enthusiastic disciples of Greater San Francisco were carting them off to the ash heaps and filing requests for building permits. San Francisco will be rebuilt by San Franciscans!
When Daniel Burnham first discussed the practicability of rebuilding the old city, some three years ago, the problem which caused greatest discussion was that of demolition. "How," queried some, "can we persuade owners of staunch (though ancient) structures to tear them down and give us the space we require?" "How can we beautify the city when those tawdry structures may possibly last for half a centruy more?" To those inquirers Mr. Burnham could only advise patience, which was far from satisfactory. When San Francisco decides to improve or expand, she does not want to wait a hundred years to do it.
Now the way is clear from Mr. Burnham and the New San Francisco! He may glance down the city's highways and see no misplaced oddity to offend his architectural eye. Indeed, he will be fortunate if his vista includes more than a stray wall or so between his studio on Twin Peaks and the tall dome of the Spreckels Building. Mr. Burnham has a clear field for action,—such a one as he may never again encounter in his professional career of city-building. Let us see what he can do with the material! To the northward from his crow's nest on the Peaks lies the graveyard of a well-beloved city,—a city greater in the past than many, more ambitious than all. To the west-ward stand a hundred noble hills awaiting the master hand to decorate them. Toward the east and southward are a million eyes awaiting the outcome of his work. It is up to Mr. Burnham! Behind him stands a whole pulsing population of the most energetic pile of ashes in the history of the world! Money is needed,—it will come. Labor must be obtained,—it is awaiting his commands, a hundred thousand strong. Material, architects, artisans, builders,—all will be ready when he calls.
Instead of fifty years, New San Francisco asks for fifty months to build her Golden City. Fifty months to line her boulevards with the splendid structures which are promised by the money kings. Fifty months to grow, upon this new-made grave, a garden of beautiful homes, beautiful streets, beautiful offices and beautiful public buildings; to rear anew the greatest city on the Pacific Coast,—the mighty and princely Guardian of the Gate, which shall for ages stand first among the architectural triumphs of the world. Baltimore has had her holocaust, Chicago her conflagration and San Francisco will profit by their examples.
Then, clothed in all her new and costly attire, bedecked again where
now is seared desolation, cleansed by care and trouble and ceaseless work
of all that is unworthy and unwelcome,—yes, rejuvenated in soul and body,—San
Francisco, Queen of the Pacific, shall throw open her doors to the waiting
workd and bid them welcome to her sanctuaries. San Francisco,—laughing,
careless, conscoius, ever-delightful San Francisco,—will be herself again.
The curtain has but descended between the acts; already the hammers and
saws announce the setting of a new and beautiful scene. The actors
crurry around with busy heads and hands, preparing for a great and costly
picture. Let us wait with patience for the next act of the drama!
It is needless to say that California and the whole world were shocked beyond adequate expression by the calamity which has overtaken the splendid city of San Francisco. Through the long hours of waiting, between the first brief news of the calamity and the subsequent detailed accounts of the disaster, all eyes were turned toward the unfortunate peninsula and all ears attuned to catch the first messages from the scene of the cataclysm.
But now that the worst trouble is over and the homeless people are being generously clothed and fed from a great store of supplies, they are already showing signs of the splendid spirit of the California pioneers. There is no fear throughout the State as to the future of the stricken city. Bearing in mind the disasters that overtook Boston, Chicago, Charleston, Galveston, and Baltimore; remembering how soon and completely those cities recovered from the destruction which left them prostrate; remembering also that this is not the first time that San Francisco has been destroyed by fire, I have not the slightest doubt that the City by the Golden Gate will be speedily rebuilt, and will, almost before we know it, resume her former great activity.
No situation such as San Francisco occupies today,--lying on a great bay; reached by several transcontinental railways; directly opposite the awakening Orient,--no such situation as this can long remain unimproved. Our people are brave, resourceful and undaunted. They have no freezing winter colds, nor suffocating summer heats, to contend with. So soon as they can gather themselves together and have recovered from the terrors of those three dark days of April, they will again rebuild the city, which, in scarcely more than half a century, rose from the sand dunes and became the home-place of nearly half a million happy, progressive people.
California is too great and her resources are too numerous to permit
her chief city to long lie a waste of fire-scathed ruins. Our country is
too big, too generous, too wealthy, too busy to permit such a thing. The
wonderful demands of the trade now knocking at her doors, were all these
other influences missing, would soon force the rebuilding of the city of
Saint Francis, that she might once more take her proud seat among the cities
of the world.
Owing to the fact that the United States Weather Bureau Office was located on the top floor of the Mills Building, in the center of the burned district; and the further misfortune that the instruments and records of the department were totally destroyed by the conflagration immediately following the earthquake,—my data in regard to the recent disaster is necessarily confined to such personal notes and memoranda as I was able to gather.
The main shock of the great earthquake of Wednesday, April 18th, occurred at 5:13 in the morning. Its duration was something over forty seconds, and the end came more quickly than was anticipated. The registered vibration was close to one inch. Notwithstanding almost a lifetime of records made afterwards; notwithstanding the fact that we were looking at our watches and writing down the time during the earthquake,—strange to say, we did not get the exact ending. To many people it doubtless seemed as if the disturbance must certainly have exceeded several minutes; but forty seconds is a long time, and much can take place in that interval.
Following the first severe shcok, which is rated Number IX on the Rossi-Forel scale, there were shocks at 5:19, 5:21, 5:26 and 5:43, all being very moderate,—the last two being little more than "shivers." At 8:14 a.m. occured another sharp shock , which registered about Number V on the Rossi-Forel scale. From that time to the present writing (May 4th), there have been probably thirty-five or more shocks, nearly all of which have been very slight.
Contrary to general belief, seismology,—the science of earth shakes,— has made decided advances within the past ten years. In our own country Major Dutton published, only last year, a splendid book upon the measurements of earth disturbances. Ever since the Charleston earthquake, in 1887, much attention has been given to the measurements of the earthquake waves. Many other Americans have made great strides toward the solution of this great problem, while the scientific men of Japan also stand well to the front, which is natural owing to the great number of temblors which disturb the Flowery Kingdom. The archives at the Weather Bureau included a large collection of illustrations, notes, records and books bearing on the subject of earthquakes in California, Japan and other parts of the world. A list of the earthquakes in California, supplementing Holden's amount of work had been done in tabulating earthquake records in this State. The major portion of this data cannot now be duplicated,—indeed, I hardly have the heart to begin again.
It is generally believed and conceded by those scientists who have made a study of seismology, that earthquakes are purely a matter of rearrangements of earth strains. The mass which composes the earth was originally a molton, burning globule, cast off from the sun or other heavenly body in its centrifugal flight. After thousands of years of evolution a crust formed on this mass, cool enough to permit the presence of animal and vegetable life. But the interior of the lobe is perpetually undergoing the cooling process, which forces the mass to contract and fold in upon itself. Necessarily a great pressure is thus generated throughout the stratas which form the crust. The constant pressure continues under the earth's surface for a great distance, until some fault or break is discovered in the strata. When this pressure accumulates to such an extent as to overcome the adhesive force of the walls of this fault, there comes a slight shift or adjustment of the earth's crust. The movement is usually sudden, short and instantaneous, and is rapidly transmitted through the stratas of earth to the adjacent country. This, in simple language, is the common cause of earth tremors.
An idea is prevalent in the minds of many people that the great disaster to which San Francisco has been subjected is the result of a visitation from a vengeful Deity in punishment for the city's wickedness. This, in the light of scientific research, seems a palpably absurd and untenable position. The planet on which we live is, as is commonly known, but a very small part of our solar system, and a mere atom among the countless stars, satellites and other heavently bodies which we nightly see crowding the sky in endlesss throng.. Thought the lens of the telescope a meteor, or shooting star, may be seen at almost any time. Each of these phenomena represents a disturbance of integral matter in a thousand times more violent form than any recorded contortion of the earth's surface. It is, then, reasonable to suppose that this small body of elements upon which we live,—this fly-speck on the sideral map,—should be immune from the internal forces of nature?
We have never been able to trace any connection between weather and earthquakes, although we have noted that certain earthquakes have occured simultaneously with certain high-pressure conditions over the northern half of the Pacific Coast. But a great deal more study must be given this subject before any definite conclusions can be reached. It may be positively asserted, however, that there is no such thing as "earthquake weather." Earthquakes occur at any time of year and under any and all conditions of temperature, wind and cloud.
We have had thousands of earthquakes on the coast since the early times of the Spanish missions, but probably ninety-eight per cent of them have not done any more damage than a strong wind. The so-called "Great Earthquake" of October, 1868 (for there were several earthquakes during that month) was, to the best of our knowledge, something similar to this last one. The records of the tremor of '68 are very full, but the records of the earthquake of 1906 will, in all probablility, be complete beyond expectation. The consequent gain to science will of course be very gratifying.
Amid all the excitement one thought was present to those whose duty it was to register and record the data, and that was,—that they were working, not for themselves, nor for those around them, but for the guidance and welfare of the long line of men and women who shall inhabit these parts long after the present genreation shall have passed into the Great Beyond.
In complying with a request to write a few words apropos of the recent catastrophe for the initial number of the New San Francisco Magazine, I feel that I can say but little that can be of especial interest to the people of the United States. The part performed by the army in the assisting in the maintenance of order, in fighting the great conflagration, in relieving the destitute and in sheltering the homeless is now quite well known to the public through the mediums of the daily and weekly press. Beyond these accounts there seems to be little left for discussion by an army officer. One feature of the work of the army, however, seems to deserve especial mention.
Few people who were not in San Francisco on April 18th, 19th or 20th will ever fully appreciate the tact, sympathy and patience exhibited by the officers and men in dealing with the sorely tried people of this city through the three long days and nights of terror. Each man seemed to realize the enormous strain under which the people were living, and tempered his actions to the existing state of affairs. On the other side, the spirit and courage of the people of San Francisco under adversity commands the respect and admiration of the world. Their amenability to control was really remarkable, whether at the hands of civil or military officials. Indeed, through the entire ordeal there seemed to be an atmosphere of amiability and companionship which made the work of the authorities very easy in comparison to what it might have been had these conditions been reversed.
San Francisco, like all great sea ports, has its own proportion of men who would, if possible, have taken advantage of existing conditions to sack and plunder its banks and stores, besides indulging other vices and forms of lawlessness which demoralize a community. These men soon realized, however, that the quiet, businesslike men armed with magazine rifles were under orders to shoot down any malefactors caught in the act of looting, and this sort of crime was reduced to a minimum.
The men who would loot a burning city are not built of the same stuff from which citizens are made, but are at heart a cowardly, sniveling element who accomplish their work only when there are no restraining influences. Therefore the regulars had no chance to show what they could do when opposed to riot or armed disturbers, and we are glad that such is the case.
For a few days some wild press despatches [sic.] were sent out regarding the number of looters shot by the soldiers, but subsequent investigation fails to develop a single case of killing by an army trooper. I do not believe that the local newspapers should be blamed for these bloody rumors, as they were acting in good faith throughout. They themselves have to be governed by reports from different sections, and during the rush and chaos of those times had little opportunity to confirm their new items. I was personally deceived by a number of these fanciful stories; in fact, I wired the War Department that a few of the looters had been shot. The final reports show that two men were killed by State troops,—under circumstances with which I am not familiar,—and one man was apparently murdered by a body of so-called "vigilantes."
It is not claimed that the regular army of the United States is made up of angelic hosts; nor do army officers argue that their men are infallible. But they have all had a splendid training in the school of war and have a higly developed conception of discipline. One of the surest tests of self-discipline is the ability of a man to control his desire to use a rifle or bayonet, and it is to the credit of the regulars who took part in the protection of San Francisco that there were no cases of premature firing and no accidents or misfortunes resulting in loss of life.
The combined strength of the army and navy of the United States does not exceed 100,000 men, as against five or six times that number in each of the other large and powerful nations of the world. The present actual figures are estimated to be 60,385 men in the army and 33,297 in the navy. Small enough to protect the thousands of miles of sea-coast on either side of our country and at the same time maintain peace and order in the interior! Yet, with the various State militias aggregating ten million men, and another ten million ready to fly to arms at any time, Uncle Sam sits care-free as regards any fear of foreign wars.
In fact, the usefulness of 60,000 men in a time of almost universal peace had been seriously doubted by some of the more conservative citizens of the republic. Sixty thousand men stationed at various points throughout the United States, clothed and fed and paid by the federal government, seemd at times an unnecessary expense, in view of the patriotic American spirit which brough forth "a soldier a second" when trouble threatened. What was to be done with the regular soldier in times of peace?
Two thousand of those sixty thousand have undertaken to answer that question for all time. Two thousand well-drilled, well-conditioned American fighting men, stationed at the Presidio barracks, in the city limits of San Francisco, by marching in to take their part in the work of April 18th, 19th, and 20th, forever set at rest the clamor against an adequate standing army. Without their labor, their vigilance and their co-operation the burning of San Francisco would probably be a story of utter annihilation. It would surely be a story of much greater loss of life and personal property, together with uncontrolled lawlessness and hideous debauch.
But the army of the United States not only did what they were told to do, but understood why they did it. When martial law was proclaimed, they took the stations assigned to them and maintained it. Drastic measures were necessary in some cases. Ghouls and vandals were already commencing their miserable work. The regulars did not stop to parley, but their rifles and bayonets demanded instant flight by the looters. Along the fire line could be seen groups of army engineers engaged in laying dynamite or directing efforts against the flames. Throughout the long, weary struggle they were face to face with Duty and acquitted themselves with high honor.
The navy, too, was prominent in the fight against the fire king. Some two hundred blue-jackets from the cruiser "Chicago" were sent to do patrol duty in different parts of the city and made enviable records in the suppression of crime, vandalism and extortion.
When at last their work was done, the military and naval forces retired quietly to their stations; but the sight of their blue uniforms through those three days and nights caused many a despairing family to thank God for the standing army and floating navy! San Francisco owed to each a heavy debt of thankfulness. But, after all, Kipling's poem is true around the world:
"O, it's 'Tommy this' and 'Tommy that,' and 'Tommy go away,'
But it's 'Thank you, Mr Atkins,' when the band begins to play."
Any statement at this time intended to express the effect of the late catastrophe on the city of San Francisco and on the State is scarcely entitled to much weight. The immediate loss in dollars may be imprefectly estimated, but no one who values his position would be likely to hazard an opinion in respect tho this, any further than to say the loss will aggregate hundreds of millions of dollars. Thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of men who have passed the active period of life will undoubtedly find when the balance is struck that the accumulation of years has been wiped out. The full realization of this will not come for some time.
The disposition in great crises is to battle against conditions to the limit of capacity,—financial, mental and physical. This was the history of the struggle after the calamities that visited the city of Chicago in 1871 and the city of Charleston in 1886. Private fortunes were wiped out and misfortune came to many who had previously regarded themselves safely immune from financial disaster for the remaining years of their lives. This experience is without doubt to be repeated in this city. But other men with unimpaired capital will take the places of those to whom misfortune comes. The earthquake and the fire have roused new energy and will develop capacity almost beyond human expectation. Already courage to do and faith in the future of San Francisco is expressed in every movement, and the determination to rebuild the city more substantially and more beautifully than before has become a unitfied and universal sentiment. The intensity of this sentiment cannot be appreciated except by those who come in direct and daily contact with it.
Nothing better illustrates the force and energy of the West than the entire absence of discouragement manifested here by those in every walk of life. There is nothing of retrospection,—on the contary, there is one enthusiastic expression of hopefulness and confidence.
San Francisco and California have received a shock and the great general activity and prosperity of the State will, no doubt, be temporarily checked . The commercial importance of San Francisco before the fire was recognized throughout the civilized world. Her geographical position is unchanged. She stand to-day, notwithstanding her disaster, one of the foremost cities among the world's great commercial and financial centers.
As was the experience with stricken Chicago, so it will be here. Energy and capital will center here and in a few years Greater San Francisco will be not alone the pride of the Pacific Coast, but of this country.
As for the effect of the catastrophe on the State, the outlook is not so clearly discerned. The reaction from any sentimental shock is not likely to be as quickly experienced. The speculative element is wanting, but even here the development is only checked for a brief space of time.
Much depends on the position maintained by the people living in the interior of the State. Every advantage to the homeseeker that existed a month ago,—climate, productions, health and opportunity for a comfort and success,—remain unchanged. Nothing has transpired to change these conditions, unless it is to render still more desirable what has hitherto been demonstrated to have peculiar merit.
The interior of the State will act with San Francisco. The interest
is one and the spirit prevails from one end of the State to the other with
all California,—that San Francisco must and will be speedily rebuilt.
The attention of the world is by this experience directed to San Francisco.
Money almost without limit is likely to seek investment here. Thus
to the great capacity of the permanent population of this State will be
added the influence, experience, wealth and energy that will come from
other cities. A parallel to the opportunity here presented to capitalists
and State-builders, for profitable investment, has never before been known.
In launching the NEW SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE,—Salamander Number,—during this time of distress in our beloved city, it seems appropriate to announce to our subscribers and the public at large, just what this magazine stands for and on what basis it will be edited and conducted.
In the first place, be it known that the NEW SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE is to be an absolutely free and independent journal,—non-political, non-factional, and non-sectarian. Its founders are not hampered by any obligations to any man, or set of men, or corporation, or any political party or faction. The object of its publication is to aid and assist in the upbuilding of "New San Francisco" as speedily and as safely as possible, and the general development of the State of California.
In furtherance of this object, the NEW SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE will devote its columns and such talent as can be secured for its editorial department. The publishers will advocate any sensible suggestions looking to the rebuilding of our stricken city, and will vigorously attack (without fear or favor) all "calamity howlers" or pessimistic expressions which may either be under discussion or appear in the public prints.
The whole civilized world has responded generously and grandly to our appeal for help, and will help still more if we display the same bravery and "nerve" which has characterized the residents of old San Francisco. At such a time no cowards or laggards are wanted or needed! There are plenty of brave men and braver women who stand ready to aid in making the New City greater and grander than was that old one which we loved so fondly.
Let us all "get busy" now and make San Francisco once again the proud and undisputed metropolis of the Pacific Coast!
Two Hundred Million Dollars
The action of the United States Senate in disapproving a legislative indorsement of San Francisco's bond issue will be decided unpopular when it has been thoroughly discussed and understood. Having received from Congress a princely sum (or its equivalent) toward the relief of the stricken city, local comment is obviously suppressed,—at least, it is only courgeous to be silent. Yet a statement of fact cannot be miscontrued or out of place.
San Francisco, besides being a great city, is a valuable asset to the federal government. Commanding, as it does, the main gate to the western world, it holds the same position on the Pacific as the city of New York holds on the Atlantic Coast. The absence of a large city on Yerba Buena peninsula would cost the government much more than two hundred million dollars before the passage of many years. Innovations costing vast sums would be necessary before the change could be satisfactorily adjusted. Thousands of tons of trade would be compelled to find new ports of discharge, to the inevitable detriment of American commerce.
Notwithstanding the enormous refund to be paid back into San Francisco by the insurance companies, the deficit will be large and the city needs money. Her institutions are as sturdy as of old; her people just as willing and able to protect their credit. In order to borrow a large sum of money, however, the city needs an indorsement. New San Francisco asks no alms or charity, simply a "character." What is more natural at such a time than a request for federal assistance? For what purpose is the establishment at Washington maintained more than to protect the interests of its cities and citizens? Congress has voted war loans for many times the sum now proposed; it has subsidized the Philippine railroads for a vast amount; it has improved harbors and arid lands at a tax of many millions upon which communities which will never feel their benefits. Where else, then, should San Francisco apply for aid?
San Francisco will have no trouble in raising money to rebuild her fallen homes and business blocks. Already private corporations are offering more than the required sum, confident that the city needs but a few years to entirely rehabilitate itself. But it is a wise national policy to either encourage or permit one of the main citadels of its commonwealth to become so obligated to one or more of the private interests of the country? Should San Francisco or any other great city of the American republic be compelled to seek elsewhere than the national capitol for necessary indorsements? The Senate is prone to bury its talent in a napkin. San Francisco has not the time for argument.
Our Sisters on the Shore
Adjacent to most of the large cities of the United States lie kindred settlements containing the same life, the same vigor, the sane spirit as their larger neighbor. Within easy access of the metropolis, they quietly forge their way until some unforseen accident or incident awakens the world to their importance. Thus New York has Brooklyn, Jersey City, Neward, Paterson and Hoboken; Boston has Cambridge, Brookline and Roxbury; Philadelphia has Germantown, Camden and Frankford; while Pittsburg has recently annexed Allegheny, its sister city across the Ohio River. Each of these smaller cities has contributed more or less to the growth and development of the larger, besides partaking in the general prosperity. But few of them have had an opportunity to render aid in time of dire distress, or have acquitted themselves as nobly as did the city of Oakland during the recent disaster in San Francisco.
Upon receipt of the first news of destruction in the Golden City, Oakland, accompanied by the towns of Berkeley and Alameda, which lie on either side, rushed to the rescue. Her doors were thrown wide to receive the terrified, staring thousands who crowded the ferry-boats plying between the stricken city and the mainland; and a hundred thousand helpless refugees slept warm and well fed for a week or more in the city of Oakland. All thought of interurban rivalry was cast aside; even the realization of personal loss was made secondary to the relief of her more unfortunate sister; and all joined hands.
Berkeley and Alameda, as far as they were able, exhibited the same spirit. Upon the spacious grounds of the great University of California a tent city arose as if by magic; emergency hospitals were established at convenient points along the line; food, blankets and the necessaries of life were distributed without stint; everywhere could be seen the hurrying angels of mercy preparing to welcome the refugees. It was a sight to gladden the heart of man!
In some cases, it is to be regretted, citizens of Oakland failed to appreciate the spirit of charity, which occasioned some bitterness on the part of the homeless, penniless survivors who sought temporary headquarters for their business of food supplies for their familes. But for one unscrupulous merchant or land-owner there were ten who stretched out a helping hand, and to those San Francisco sends a message of high compliment and never-ending gratitude.
In the rush and turmoil of events following the great fire, the death of one man in San Francisco has necessarily met with less recognition than would have been the case at any other time. Yet in the passing of Dennis Sullivan, for many years the fire chief of the Golden City, San Francisco has lost a true friend and a great man. A friend, because he was always mindful of the city's welfare; a great man, because he built here one of the most perfect fire-fighting organizations in the world. Greatness is not necessarily measured by prominence in the public prints. The name of Dennis Sullivan is not one with which to conjure throughout the world. Yet he earned his title truly by unfailing devotion to his duty and by brave, decisive action when his services were needed.
Dennis Sullivan gave up his life to one of the forces which opposed his work. Sleeping in the loft above his engines, ready for instant duty should the call come, he was crushed beneath the falling walls of the California Hotel, which were hurled down upon him by the violent temblor. His wife, who lay beside him, barely escaped with her life. Guant but tender hands lifted the fallen chief and hurried him to the surgeons; but the spark of life was extinguished, and a few hours later Dennis Sullivan passed into the Great Beyond.
The fire department of which he was chief has been moulded into excellency against heavy odds. For years it has warded off this enemy to life and property with unequaled bravery and ability. But in the absence of water they were helpless,—as the soldier without a rifle,—as a knife without a blade. Yet it is regarded by many as more than a coincidence that the same day should see the death of Dennis Sullivan and the destruction of San Francisco. The Fire Chief never knew of the raging flames which devastated his city—and it is better so.
"On Fame's eternal camping-ground
His silent tent is spread,
And Glory guards, in solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead."
Important to Subscribers
The issue of the NEW SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE following the May Souvenir Number will appear under date of July, 1906, and will be mailed to subscribers and news dealers on or about June 25th. This will enable the publishers to conform to general custom of placing monthly periodicals on the stands a week before the first of the month for which it was issued.
The initial number, though appearing under date of May, is almost a month later than other magazines appearing under the same date. This is due to a desire on the part of the publishers to have the NEW SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE date from the birth of the New San Francisco. In a few short weeks the new publication has risen from the ashes of the old city, and it is but fitting that we should desire to start even with other great reconstructionists.
In order to overcome this discrepancy, all subscribers whose names appear on the books as dating from May, 1906, will receive the NEW SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE up to and including the issue of May, 1907,—or twelve consecutive monthly copies. Subscriptions not including the May Souvenir Number will be dated from July 1st, and the issues will appear consecutively from that date.
It is with regret that the publishers announce a postponement of the appearance of an article by Mayor Eugene E. Schmitz, which it was confidently expected would be ready for this number. When Mr. Schmitz was first approached on the subject, he signified his willingness to prepare an article, and upon this authority a number of circulars were issued containing a statement that the aforesaid article would appear. As the time for publication drew near, however, the chief executive became so entombed in a mass of urgent business that he could find no time to devote to the manuscript. As soon as Mayor Schmitz is relieved in some measure from this great pressure of business, we are assured that his article will be forthcoming.
The Burnham Plans
In the August number of the magazine, as has already been announced, will appear a complete resume of the work of Daniel H. Burnham, who has, in a few short years, made himself famous throughout the United States as an authority of city-building. Mr. Burnham considered San Francisco some years ago, but his ideas of what was necessary were, at that time, deemed too expensive and extended too far into the future. They seemed to represent a sort of local Paradise, which all coveted but few dared to consider in the cold light of reality.
Mr. Burnham has invariably placed himself on record as opposed to the decadence of American ideas in art and architecture. It must be admitted that many of our cities have been thrown together in a helter-skelter manner, whith little regard to artistic or practical arrangement of details. Against these defects Mr. Burnham has instituted a crusade of artistic reformation, with a result that several large cities,—notably Washington, Cleveland and Manila,—have adopted his ideas and will immediately commence the work of remodeling their streets and highways to conform to the Burnham plans.
This great city-builder has prepared a general building scheme for San Francisco, which comes most fortunately at this time. If constructed in accordance with those ideas, the New City will not only be able to claim the title of "the most beautiful city in the world," but will also be fire-proof, commodious, convenient and artistic. Besides, Mr. Burnham builds not only for the present generation but for our posterity in ages to come.
A citizen of Oakland writes to one of the enterprising dailies of that
metropolis stating that he has "waited forty years to see a city" on the
site now occupied by Oakland, and that now is the accepted time.
The gentleman has certainly been patient and longsuffering and the publishers
of this magazine sincerely hope that his "dreams of empire" may yet be
realized. But Oakland will profit much more by co-operation with
her big sister than by any attempt to decry her virtues while she is wounded
And still some people maintain that San Francisco is not a lively town.
It is proposed that we have a house-warming here in 1915. Hasn't the inventor of that idea had enough for a while?
As yet nothing has been heard from the immortal Rudyard. Do we have to burn the whole cussed town to tempt him into verse?
The "Tenderloin" was pretty well done by Saturday morning, thank you!
We began our spring cleaning a little late this year, but it was none the less thorough and effective.
It is said that "truth crushed to earth will rise again." Shall we infer that this alludes to Newspaper Angle?
One youth thinks that our conflagration "beats the Last Days of Pompeii." It ought to,—we paid more for it.
One of the "distinguished weeklies" must have cornered all the ice in town. How it managed to get "cold feet" during the fire is hard to understand. It will soon be "distinguished weakly" at the present rate of progress.
It gives us great pleasure to announce without equivocation that the Golden Gate was not burned, but stands intact and on its hinges. Mare Island, however, kicked up her heels a little.
Camping parties in Golden Gate Park are the latest craze. Indeed, many parties have moved their entire belongings to the new resort, preferring it to the present heat of the city.
John D. Rockefeller sent us $100,000. It is understood that the money will be thoroughly scrubbed before disbursement.
The publishers announce a prize of $100 for the first correct answer
to the following momentous question: How many bricks lie between
the Grant building and the Ferry building, on Market Street? Answers
to be accompanied by the bricks and a year's subscription.
Will Crown Again Her Splendid Hills
Los Angeles Times, April 22
When the Easter Sunday sun climbed a week ago the grand heights of the great Sierra Mountains and looked down over the rippling waves of the Pacific, a magnificent city clumbered in the dawn upon a half a hundred sublime hills upon the great bay by the Golden Gate. Today that once glorious city lies a burned, tortured and blackened wreck along the wharves upon her magnificent water front, back along the broad plains where the commerce of the world had been carried on and handled, and up along the vine-clad, flowered slopes among her palace-crowned hills where stood the homes of those whose foresight, skill, energy and courage had reared that world's emporium for commerce and for trade.
The story of the terrible upheaval of nature and of the cruel, relentless flames which wrought this ruin and made a charred, blackened heap of all the glories of one of the most beautiful cities on the earth has been told over and over again during the four days that have elapsed. It is needless to recount the tragedy.
Let us turn from yesterday to today and set our faces toward tomorrow. To use a most expressive and energetic phrase, San Francisco will not "lie down." The people of San Francisco have in their veins the blood of the Argonauts. They have in their hearts the courage and determination begotten of the very atmosphere of western life. There are no quitters among the people of the city, even in this its hour of dire disaster. Seated upon a bay capable of giving refuge to the combined merchant fleets of all the nations of the earth and anchoring by their side all the squadrons of all the warlike nations on the globe, San Francisco shall not be permitted to lie in ruins. Looking out the Golden Gate from that safe harbor where all these fleets might ride in safety at their anchorage, the great city of the hills faces the great Orient with all its teeming millions of people, with all its rich possibilities of commerce and trade. Behind the city by the Golden Gate upon the glorious bay lies all America, a hundred millions of busy, prosperous, progressive, resolute men and women. The Golden Gate is the principal gate, and will be the principal gate for all the great commerce of all America with all the trade of all the great Orient. We will get our share, and a handsome share it will be, of all this trade here in the harbor at our own doors. The same will be true of Portland and the cities on Puget Sound, but it is too great, too magnificent, too overflowing in volume for any of us to be able to handle it all.
The great captains of industry, commerce and finance by the Golden Gate have been terribly hit. The destruction of their property must be counted in hundreds of millions of dollars. But that wealth has all been created, dug from the earth and cropped from the soil or gathered in legitimate trade during a short period of fity years by those in whose name this great wealth stood a week ago, or by their immediate ancestors. It is not like long-inherited wealth. The people who owned it a short week ago and the people who have lost it in that week know how it was created, know where it came from, know how to create it again, know where to go to duplicate it. They will re-create it, they will go again and dig it anew from the ribs of the ore-packed earth, garner it anew from the broad fertile plains of California, gather it anew in trade with every port into which a ship sails on the whole earth.
Tomorrow the ashes of the conflagration will be cool. Tomorrow a hundred thousand hands with steady nerves, under the direction of clear-headed leaders who know no such thing as hesitation, trembling, or failure, will be busy amid these charred ruins from Telegraph Hill around the wharves on the water front to Rincon Hill and westward through the Mission and up the slopes of the once beautiful hills now blackened and ruined, but to be made more glorious than ever. These busy hands and muscular arms will be engaged in clearing away the debris and preparing for the immediate uplifting of the city in all her glory and greater pride than she stood a week ago. The people of San Francisco, great as their losses have been, are by no means stripped of their resources. There are millions in the vaults of all her banks, millions still to the credit of those who have lost the magnificent structures they had reared during the last twenty-five years. There will come from the insurance companies millions more to swell this great volume of wealth. It will be poured out like water, poured out unstintedly, spent wisely but spent immediately to rebuild the glorious city by the bay.
There may be here and there a weak-hearted owner of San Francisco real estate. The terrible experience of the past week may well shake any but the steadiest nerves and appall any but the strongest heart. Butthe nerves of the San Francisco people are steady and their hearts are still full of courage. Wherever there is one weak-hearted or weak-nerved property owner who will wish to go away from the stricken city there will be a dozen resolute wills with hands full of coin to take advantage of every piece of real property offered in that city at any considerable sacrafice.
Looking forward to tomorrow? Let us look forward through the year. Before the anniversary day of this terrible catastrophe shall have rolled around the spheres again you will see rise along the wharves and over the broad plain where the business of San Francisco is carried on and up along the slopes of her glorious hills a city more magnificent than that which has perished. It will be better built, more handsomely built, more lastingly built probably than any other city of the age.
Nature is exceedingly cruel. The scars that her blind fury has left upon the gray streets and the green hills of the city by the Golden Gate are horrifying. But Nature has her kindly moods, too. She soon heals the scars of the sores she makes. A year from now the city of San Francisco will be once again and more than ever the pride of every American Heart. A hundred thousand craftsmen of every class will delve and hammer, lay course upon course and drive rivet after rivet during every day of the coming year to unmake the terrible havoc wrought by Nature in her mood of blindest fury and to remake the city which has been destroyed. The suffering of today will give place to prosperity tomorrow. Tears will soon be turned into laughter and sorrow into joy. The past will be forgotten in the full enjoyment of the future, more brilliant, more magnificent than the past.
As to the rest of the Pacific Coast, the memory of this terrible visitation, while it may return now and then across our thoughts, will only make a little ripple in the stream of our progress. We shall go right on to our manifest destiny, unappalled, untroubled, unterrified, unchecked in our resolute course to make here a civilization in every respect the most advanced, the most glorious and the most blessed that human beings have ever partaken of since the first city was raised by human hands.
As Ye Sow, Ye Shall Reap
Oakland Tribune, April 21st
The heart of the world is touched with sympathy for San Francisco, and generous offers of assistance are coming from every quarter of the globe. Money in large amounts is being subscribed in every city and hamlet in the land, while trainloads of provisions are being hurried by every railroad leading to California. Workers, nurses and physicians, are coming with the food, clothing and medicines.
For all this the people of the stricken cities are grateful. Their hearts are touched more by the deep sympathy than by the offers of material aid, through they appreciate the prompt and liberal assistance extended to relieve destitution and suffering. Californians of every degree are thankful for the kindness that is being shown them, and they will not forget the friends who came to their succor in time of need.
Yet why should not the hearts and purses of the civilized world be opened to San Francisco, plunged to the depths of woe and desolation? Has not San Francisco ever been the first to hear the call of distress far and near? The readiest with material aid, the warmest in expressions of sympathy, the most liberal of givers? When yellow fever smote the cities of the South, San Francisco poured out her gold and pity; when Charleston was shaken in ruins by earthquake, all California was quick to respond; when Chicago and Boston were burned no community on earth gave so much proportionately as San Francisco; when Johnstown was swept away by flood the first city to start a relief fund was San Francisco.
It has always been so. The famine-stricken in Ireland, the flood sufferers of the Loire Valley, the starving millions of India, the earthquake-smitten in Japan and Martinique, the drouth [sic.] sufferers in Austria, the starving peasants of Spain, all have reason to remember with love and gratitude the generosity of California, and of San Francisco in particular. During the Civil War the sanitary fund for the sick and sounded in the hospitals, raised in California and Nevada, was an outpouring of wealth and pity that made the world applaud.
For fifty years San Francisco money and sympathy have reached out to relieve and console distress whenever calamity visited any section of the globe, gone freely and generously to every land and people.
Is it any marvel, then, that the world turns with open hands and tear-dimmed eyes to San Francisco in the hour of her affliction? The bread cast on the waters is returning. San Franciso is reaping the bounty she has so generously sown. She has loved and succored her fellow men, and they remember it in the day of her tribulation. Mankind is neither ungrateful nor forgetful of kindness, thank God!
San Francisco, April 25.—
And now that one week has passed since the great calamity befell this stricken city there comes no evidence of defeat. Who says San Francisco has been dealt a fatal wound? Not the child shivering in the open square with little to shield its tender body from the cold and rain; not the mother whose frail strength has been transformed into that of a packhorse; not the father who realizes all but still walks with head erect and firm step. Certainly nobody who knows the pioneer stock says quit.
Our fathers drove the waters back from Montgomery street. Yet they were a handful. Many times since they have fought fire and conquered it, and with heroic energy have reared the city of cities in fifty years. What can we, with our teeming population, not accomplish? We can rebuild and add to what they have done in a decade—yea, half that time! That is the spirit of the San Franciscans. Terror in its various forms they have conquered; fire, cold and pestilence they have fought and won.
Building of New City
Monday witnessed the beginning of the movement of the new San Francisco. First to blaze the way in this period of reconstruction were the owners of the magnificent Call building. Laborers were started on its reconstruction, and the trip of the hammer was again heard on the loftiest of the city's structural giants. All the fires of hell raged around it, and the earth shook beneath it, but it still holds its head proudly. Scarred, it is true, and blackened, but unbent and undaunted. Its wounds soon will be healed and it shall rear its head for centuries to come.
Over at the city hall the bronze angel on the high dome still holds her torch aloft, though beneath and all around her tremors and fire have wrought havoc undescribable. The marble quarries of the world sent forth their choicest products to build that magnificent dome. But somewhere in the bowels of the earth there are more beautiful slabs of marble. They shall be given up in the rebuilding of the great city of the future. Not alone the vast dome of the city hall, but every structure that was beaten down by the titanic conspiracy of the elements shall rise again. San Francisco says so, California says so, the American people say so.
"Serene, indifferent to fate,
Thou sitteth at the Golden Gate."
And thus it shall be ad infinitum.
Tribute to Womanhood
Los Angeles Express, April 20
Just a word of San Francisco's womanhood. If ever her worth was proved it has been proved here. The women of San Francisco did not flee, they would not flee. Had the men turned craven they would have mocked them. Their courage was inspiring. Many a brave man who wanted to fight the fight for his city, strengthened with the thought that those whom he loved were beyond danger, discovered this. The women were at their posts. They are still there. They have showed that they, too, have the blood of the pioneers.
The period of depression is over and now the people have begun to laugh. It is not hysteria; it is the cheerful buoyant laugh which is ever an attribute of confidence.
Already they have a new Market street and Fillmore street, where their newest city hall is located. Somehow they discovered enough electrical energy in the carhouse located on it to run the car for a few blocks Saturday night. This was just to show that the pulse was still beating.
Then, too, there is music. In some way a piano was saved from a ruined mansion on Nob Hill. Every night there are wags who gather around it and jangle merriment on its keys. Also there are phonographs. Many of these were saved from the ruins, and in the parks and squares where the homeless are located their strange melody is going on day and night. Many are disappointed because the theatres have all been wiped out. But in the interim improvised music by wandering minstrels will lighten the music-loving hearts of the homeless. Those who had the wealth and means to flee are still here. Veteran kings of finance like Claus Spreckels and Raphael Weil say, "We could go, we are old and could enjoy luxurious rest. But the part that we played in the building of this city we will play again." And the younger men of millions will fight the game as their fathers fought it.
Even those who have won but little could go if they chose. But they, too, said no; they, too see new hope; they, too, have learned much and know what San Francisco was and what it will be again. Today sees the people already recovering from the shock. Even the weariness of watching, or working, and of suspense is worn away. The sight of the ruins no longer apalls.
Henley's boast was meant for San Francisco:
"I am the master of my fate,
I am the capatain of my soul."
Nature sometimes elects, in mammoth satire, to mock man with his helplessness. In a cooly homicidal mood, which takes no count of its victims and which makes no distinction between Dives or Lazarus, she seems to delight in pressing upon him the gigantic irony which besets his greatness. He may have girdled the earth, and brought many of its forces into subjection; he may have hitched the lightning to his car; he may have blotted out deserts and substituted a blooming paradise; he may have reckoned the distance between worlds that swim in space; his mind may have given origin to systems of penetrating logic, astute philosophy, climaxes of art and poetry and good and evil; he may be even daring the secret of life itself and seeking to thrust aside the veil that hand of flesh has never lifted. When she moved him from a confident lethargy it is to show his nakedness. His shackles have at least never curbed her power. She strikes, and he is helpless as a child in the dark, quivering fearfully at terrors unfathomable in their sort or source.
At San Francisco the horror was complicated. The crumbling earth tore loose water mains, and when the ruins of skyscrapers and of smaller buildings blazed and spread fire throughout the sections untouched by the quake, the people were well nigh powerless. The best they could do was to resort to dynamite, as in the disasters at Jacksonville and Baltimore, and sacrifice whole blocks of property that the city itself might be saved.
The South knows how to sympathize with the stricken city. A visitation at Charleston in 1886 familiarized her with the horrors attending just such disasters. Disasters, equal in scope but different in character at Galveston, Jacksonville, and Baltimore, here tried sorely the mettle that is resident in the southern people. As they proved equal to the task of recuperation, building better than had been destroyed, so will the people of San Francisco. As yet it is, perhaps, too early to talk of recovery. The imminent task is the bringing of order out of chaos.
In this sad mission, and in the moment of shock which now supervienes, the heart of Atlanta and the south will go out tenderly to a stricken people.
Calamity at the Golden Gate
St. Louis Globe-Democrat
San Francisco's catastrophe is a sharp reminder of man's weakness in the grasp of the elemental forces of nature. In a provisional way he has calculated the number of years which have elapsed since the beginning of life on the earth. He has measured and weighed the planets with considerable exactness, and determined the ingredients out of which they are built. To a second he can herald eclipses of moon or sun, mark out their extent and point out the spots on the globe at which they can be discerned most advantageously. The lenghth of the orbits and the dates of the return of Encke's, Tempel's, Pons' and Halley's comets he has marked out with tolerable accuracy, and has learned the materials out of which these wanderers of the stellar spaces are composed. With a good deal of confidence he has measured the distance of the stars, although light traveling at the rate of 190,000 miles a second requires hundreds of years to bridge the distance between us and some of the nearest of them.
But right under his feet is a force which eludes man's tests. He knows the zone of earthquake disturbance. The location of volcanoes, extinct as well as active, is spread out on his charts. But the time of their advent, the duration of their stay and the destruction which they may cause are still beyond his powers. There were rumblings the other day at Vesuvius before the eruption occurred, but these carried no necessary portent because they are frequent, while disastrous outbursts come seldom. San Francisco in its sixty years of life as an American city has had several earthquakes, and in the natural course of things others were expected. But none of them gave any intimation of a destructiveness like that which has just struck that town, and there were no signs in sky or on earth to herald it. However, it is as the primary link in the chain of disasters that the present earthquake is so calamitous. It started a conflagration by the falling buildings, burst the water mains so that the fires could not be fought, destroyed gas and electric plants, and threw the city into the grip of darkness and death. Nothing in recent decades in any civilized land has equaled the ravages of yesterday's catastrophe at the Golden Gate.
The Stricken City
Indianapolis Morning Star
There is a striking similarity between the physical aspects of the two regions under the spell of seismic disturbance. Travelers say that San Francisco harbor resembles the Bay of Naples in many particulars. Especially on the north side of the bay, in the neighborhood of Sausalito, appear the same general outlines of bay and shore, the same soft haze upon blue ranges of mountains, the same picturesque hillsides whose white embowered cottages stand out in beautiful contrast against the low, graceful shrubberies of vivid green, the same distant view of the shimmering ocean, the beauty and mystery and terror of the sea.
There is a further resemblance in the character of the population, for no city in the new world exhibits that perennial gaiety which is characteristic of the Latin peoples so exuberantly as San Francisco. It is the Naples, or, perhaps more correctly, the Paris of America. Its people love the open air, the cafes and restaurants, the theatre, the sidewalk promenade. Dress and amusements, wine and flowers, mirth and abounding hospitality are the outward signs of the California spirit, which is always optimistic, sanguine, rapturous, volatile. Loath to leave the delights of the sensuous life, multitudes stay abroad on the streets or at dining places until long after midnight. It is the gayest city in the New World.
But it is the pain of mercurial temperament that while it enjoys keenly, it suffers keenly, too; and it would be impossible to imagine the extremity of terror and grief into which the city at the Golden Gate must have been thrown at the dreadful catastrophe. Passionately devoted to their city and State as San Franciscans are, they will feel a pang at the general clamity, in many cases equal to the shock of personal bereavement. Homes and purses will be opened to relieve distress; universal laughter will give place to universal tears, and the festival of summer's prime, which arrives with March, will be turned into a saturnalia of grief.
Placerville Mountain Democrat
Her place in the commercial world and the best qualities of her unfortunate people have been revealed in the light of a consuming conflagration. The loss, whether by earthquake or by fire, or however shifted from insured property to insurers, is total. Seven square miles of slag and ashes are all that remain of values never to be recovered. But sitting at the Golden Gate of inland and ocean highways, with the trident of commercial supremacy in her jeweled hand, San Franciso waves grateful thanks to the commisserating cities, states and nations, and proclaims for herself the pageant of a new coronation and continued supremacy.