Lest We Forget
Citizens' Committee Takes Charge of the Distribution of Supplies, Aided by the Red Cross Society and the Army—Nearly Three Fourths of the Entire Population Fed and Sheltered in Refuge Camps.
PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT inaugurated the organized and systematic relief work through the National Red Cross Society. Before the embers of the conflagration had cooled he issued the following statement:
Washington, D. C., April 22.—The following statement was issued from the White House this afternoon:
"To the public: After full consultation with Secretary Taft, the president of the American National Red Cross Association, who also as secretary of war is controlling the army work and the expenditure of the money, probably two millions and a half, appropriated and to be appropriated by congress for the relief of San Francisco, I wish to make the following suggestion:
"Contributions both in money and in kind are being given most generously for the relief of those who have suffered through this appalling calamity. Unless there is a proper organization for handling these contributions they will in large part be wasted and will in large part fail to reach the people to whom it is most to be desired they should reach.
"The American National Red Cross Association has sent out to take charge of the relief work Dr. Edward Devine, general secretary of the Charity Organization Society of New York, whose experience has been large in work of this kind. Dr. Devine will work in conjunction with Judge Morrow. United States Circuit judge of the Ninth circuit, and the head of the California Red Cross Association. Gen. Funston already has been directed to co-operate with Dr. Devine, and has advised the secretary of war that he will do so.
"Secretary Metcalf, who is on his way to the Pacific slope, will at once put himself in touch with Dr. Devine, as well as with the judge, the governor of California, and the mayor of San Francisco, to see if there is anything else the administration can do, and he will assist in all possible ways the effort to systematize what is being done.
"I recommend that all charitable and relief organizations and individuals who desire to contribute do so through the Red Cross Association, and that where provisions and supplies be sent they be consigned to Dr. Devine, Red Cross, San Francisco, and that Dr. Devine be notified by telegraph of the consignments. At the same time Jacob H. Schiff, the treasurer of the New York Relief Cross Association, in New York, may be notified that the consignments have been sent to Dr. Devine, or else the notification can be sent to Charles H. Keep, assistant secretary of the treasury, Washington, D. C., and treasurer of the American National Red Cross Association.
"I also suggest that all contributions that already have been forwarded be brought to the attention of Dr. Devine by telegraph, which telegram should state the name and address of the consignee and the amount and nature of the consignment. It is better to send all moneys to Mr. Keep or Mr. Schiff; they will then be telegraphed to Dr. Devine as the money is needed.
"The White House, April 22, 1906. Theodore Roosevelt."
At the time the foregoing was issued the President was not aware that the Citizens' Committee of San Francisco headed by ex-Mayor James D. Phelarn was completely organized for relief tvork and was at the time directing the succor of the victims.
Upon learning this fact he speedily endorsed the committee and its work, and instructed the Red Cross Society to co-operate with the Citizens' Committee.
President Roosevelt aroused criticism in some directions by declining aid from foreign countries. The first tenders of aid from abroad came from foreign steamship companies and later several foreign governments expressed a desire to contribute. The President took the ground that the United States was able to provide all the relief necessary. The justification for his attitude was expressed in an address by General Stewart L. Woodford, former minister to Spain, speaking with the authority of the resident. He said:
"The President, in the midst of the horrors of San Francisco kindly but firmly declined the assistance offered by the other nations, and especially, through St. George's society, the assistance of England. The President meant simply that, bowed as the American people were under their load, it was his wish that the American people show to the world that under such an adversity the United States would take care of its own; would rise equal to the terrible occasion; would feed their own hungry, would clothe their own naked, and, spurred on by the indomitable courage which this people always have exhibited under stress of distracting calamity, set up their flag and move to the assistance of 'the city that once was,' and build a new city, even though the earth shook beneath its foundations.
"In doing this—-in refusing your great beneficence, the President still feels that he is greatly honored, as the American people are, in that England and the other great nations not only sent messages of regret, but offers of substantial material aid. He felt that the nation, as a nation, would set in example to other nations."
All funds and supplies were dispensed through the Citizens' Committee or general relief committee as it was known, with the co-operation of the army and the Red Cross. Money, food, shelter and clothing poured in from every quarter. On the Monday succeeding the fire the food problem had been solved and its distribution reduced to a system. The people were fed thereafter in a thoroughly businesslike manner. From the water front, where the boatloads of provisions docked, there was an endless procession of carts and drays carrying food to the scores of sub-stations established throughout the city and the parks. At these stations food and drink, comprising bread, prepared meats, and canned goods, milk, and a limited amount of hot coffee, was served to all those who applied. About 1,500 tons of provisions Nvere being moved daily from the water front.
The food supply committee had fifty-two food depots in operation. Plain food of every description was plentiful.
The troops who dispensed the food played no favorites. Sometimes it took two or three hours to get through the lines, and with three meals a day a man living in the parks passed a good part of his time standing for his food.
The Red Cross saw that weak women and children were provided for without waiting in line. Even the people living in houses had to take their chances with the rest of the crowd in the parks near by.
Fully 30,000 refugees were fed by the government at the Presidio and North beach. Provisions were bountifully supplied to all who made application, and there was no suffering from hunger. Over 10,000 tents were given and the authorities distributed them as long as the supply lasted.
Barracks were erected in Golden Gate Park to accommodate 15,000 persons. The buildings contained thirty rooms, in two room apartments, with kitchen arranged so as to suit a family or be divided for the use of single men.
By great luck a lot of lumber yards along the water front escaped. Their stock was appropriated and used for barracks. Two or three lumber schooners arriving from the northern forest country were seized and the stocks used for the same purpose.
Further, the Red Cross, with the approval of Funston, went through the standing residence district and made every householder give over his spare room to refugees. Here, generosity was its own reward. Those residents of the western addition who took in burned out friends or chance acquaintances on the first day had a chance to pick their company. Those who were selfish about it had to take whomsoever the Red Cross sent, even Chinese and new arrivals from Hungary.
The Red Cross people enjoyed the grim joke of this. They trotted ten refugees up to the door of a Pacific Heights residence. The woman of the house came to the door. The sergeant in charge made brief explanation.
"Heavens," she said, looking them over. "You have brought me two of my discharged cooks."
"See that the guests are quartered in the parlor," said the sergeant briefly to his high private.
What with tents, barracks, the exodus to other parts of California, the plan of concentration in the standing houses of the western addition, there was shelter for everyone.
The water supply improved every day. Nearly everywhere the order to boil drinking water was enforced.
All vacant houses in the unburned district were seized. Many vacant flats were taken where the homeless are housed and the sick found good accommodations. Churches, and other buildings, including schoolhouses, were turned into living rooms for the homeless.
In some of the provisional camps established for refugees near the foot of Van Ness avenue and near Fort Mason it was difficult to distinguish men from women. The supply of women's clothing had been exhausted, and many women could be seen dressed in ordinary soft shirts and overalls. In that garb they walked about their tents unconcernedly.
It was no time for false modesty and those who were able to make themselves comfortable in any sort of clothing were indeed fortunate.
Within a week conditions had improved so rapidly that there was enough water in the mains to justify the removal of the restrictions on washing. Up to that time the only way to get a bath was to dip into the bay. Lights, only candles, of course, were allowed up to 10 p. m.
An idea of the Titanic task of feeding the refugees may be gained from the figures of the number of hungry people fed in one day. Throughout the city rations for 349,440 persons were distributed. At one point provisions were given out to 672 people in an hour for ten hours.
Two thousand persons were fed daily at St. Mary's cathedral on Van Ness avenue, a relief station organized by the Rev. Father Hannigan and headed by him as chairman of the committee. This was perhaps the best organized and most systematically conducted private station in the city. The committee has a completed directory of the fifty square blocks in the district, and so perfect was the system that there is no duplicating and wrangling. Nine substations gave out orders, and it was arranged for those stations to give out food also. Fourteen members of the clergy were in charge of the various branches of the work.
The emergency hospitals were well organized under direction of army medical officers, and there were plenty of doctors and nurses after the second day.
The only complaint that really existed at that time was the lack of
bedding. Though the army and navy were called upon for blankets, quilts,
and the like, the supply furnished by those departments was not enough
to relieve immediate needs.
Only 30 patients were quartered in the territory that comprised the park emergency hospital at the end of the first week. Considering that over 500 injured people received attention at the park during that time the record was remarkable.
More than 100 physicians and attendants were serving in the park within forty-eight hours after the first shock.
Among the many pathetic scenes connected with the work of relief were others that illustrated the saving sense of humor which keeps people from going insane in times of great calamity and mental stress.
In the vestibule of a church they were giving away clothes. One shivering woman was being fitted out. "Here, dear," said the woman in charge, "here is a nice, good warm waist." "Oh, I couldn't wear it," she answered. "You know, I'm in mourning."
Another girl near by said: "Yes, please, I want a waist. I want pink and white, you know; they're my favorite colors."
Quite suddenly the smile died on our lips. A little mother came up. "I want clothes for my baby; it's cold," she said. They took the baby from her, and a man near by said to another: "The child is dead."
We went down to Broadway to look for friends. Some people were so dazed they would make no effort to reach the homes of their friends. On the corner was a dapper youth whom we have long known.
A helpful feature of the relief work was the establishment by the Southern Pacific company of a chain of information kept by bureaus, which was served by relays of pony riders carrying the latest bulletins and instructions relative to transportation facilities, provided to relieve the congestion in San Francisco.
A committee sent by the Japanese consul, representing the Japanese relief society, cared for many of the stricken Japanese who still remain in the city. They rendered assistance to white people wherever required. They wired to every large city on the coast asking for supplies to be sent by the Japanese.
It was the desire of President Roosevelt that the work of the Red Cross
in alleviating the distress in San Francisco should be done wholly without
regard to the person and just as much for the Chinese as for any others.
United States Troops at the Presidio and Fort Mason Under Command of General Funston Bring Order Out of Chaos and Save City from Pestilence—San Francisco Said "Thank God for the Boys in Blue"—Stricken City Patrolled by Soldiers.
THANK GOD for the Boys in Blue!" was the ardent and praiseful exclamation of the people of San Francisco during and after the terrible days that rent by shock and consumed by fire their beautiful city. And as their courage and devotion to save and protect, and their tenderness towards the dying and the dead became known the entire country re-echoed the tribute. For it was the soldiers of Uncle Sam, untiring and unafraid amidst horrors and dangers seen and unseen, that stood between half-crazed refugees from the quake and the fire and downright starvation and anarchy.
When the catastrophe occurred Major General A. W. Greely, in command of the military department of the Pacific, was on his way east to attend the marriage of his daughter, and so the command of the troops and of the department devolved on Brigadier General Frederick Funston; and as on previous occasions when pluck and wise decision were required he showed himself equal to the emergency. The first thing that was done was to divide that portion of the city where order and protection were most needed into six districts, four of them being guarded by the military, one by the marine and one by the navy. Other portions of the city were patrolled by the National Guard and by the city's police force. Because of these arrangements there was thereafter but little trouble, and practically no more looting. During the fire General Funston established his headquarters at Fort Mason on the cliffs of Black Point, and at once it became the busiest and most picturesque spot in San Francisco. There was an awe-inspiring dignity about the place, with its many guards, military ensemble and the businesslike movements of officers and men. Few were allowed to enter within its gates, and the missions of those who did find their way within were disposed of with that accuracy and dispatch peculiar to government headquarters. Scores of automobiles rushed in and out of the gatie, and each car contained an armed guardsman in the front seat furiously blowing a sentry whistle to clear the roadway. At the sound of that tremolo the crowds scattered as if by magic. San Francisco was virtually under martial law, and order was wrought from chaos.
After the quake the President and Secretary Taft were chiefly concerned at first with getting supplies, and that work was performed with extraordinary expedition and thoroughness. At the same time they were rushing troops, marines, and sailors to guard the devastated city.
The marvelous work done by the soldiers, from General Funston down to the newest recruit, won the admiration and congratulations of the entire country. The sentiment everywhere was and is that the army has demonstrated its splendid capacity not only to preserve peace in the face of armed resistance, but to take charge of affairs in a stricken city at a time when intelligent discipline was more needed than everything else.
Secretary Taft expressed the belief that congress would have to give him absolution for the violence he had done the constitution in those terrible days. He ordered General Funston to take complete command of the city, to put martial law into effect, and to enforce sanitary regulations without regard to the wishes off the people.
The war department had been morally responsible for the unhesitating way in which the troops shot down looters and the people who refused to understand that great situations must be controlled without regard to law.
It was the soldiers apparently who brought order out of chaos. They headed the unfortunate refugees farther and farther on ahead of the flames, until finally they had located the vast homeless mob in the Presidio, in the Golden Gate Park, and in other wide expanses. General Funston had not exceeded his orders. He was given full discretion to employ his forces as he saw fit. He turned loose the soldiers under him with general instructions to act as their own good sense dictated, and it is to the eternal credit of the noncommissioned officers and the privates that every report sent to the war department and all the descriptions in the press reports indicated that the army had saved the situation in San Francisco.
When a sturdy sergeant brought down the butt of his musket on the counter of a bake shop where they were beginning to sell bread at 75 cents a loaf, and announced that bread thereafter in that concern would be sold at 10 cents a loaf or there would be one less baker in the world, he was guilty of an act which in any other time might have landed him in prison.
If he is punished for it now, it will only be after the Secretary of War and the President are impeached, because he was only obeying the spirit if not the letter of their instructions to General Funston.
Soldiers guarded the water wagons, which were driven about the streets, and this show of force was necessary, so that the scanty supplies might be distributed with even-handed justice. In the same way, when General Funston issued orders as the result of which the soldiers compelled citizens to dig graves for the temporary interment of the dead, he violated the law most flagrantly, but he acted as the emergency demanded, and the incident contributed with other things to make the army organization of the United Statrs a little bit the most popular thing in the country in these days.
When the army was reduced at the close of the Philippine insurrection, the machinery was left intact. In this way, although the quartermasters' stores in San Francisco were wiped out of existence, it was possible to hurry supplies to San Francisco. They began arriving there promptly and the danger of famine was averted.
It is the purpose of the war department to continue practical martial law in San Francisco.
It is believed the greatest work of the soldiers, in which term of course are to be included the marines and sailors as well, was, in the prevention of pestilence. Practically all of the house to house sewage system of San Francisco had been destroyed. An army of two or three hundred thousand men encamped in the suburbs of a great city would ordinarily die like flies unless it provided itself with proper facilities for the removal of garbage and the general sanitary cleansing of the immense camp. Even with trained soldiers under strict discipline it was an extremely difficult thing to enforce sanitary regulations.
Immense supplies of medical necessities already had been forwarded from the bureau at St. Louis, and General Funston organized at once a series of camps on military lines. The refugees were compelled to live up to sanitary rules whether they liked it or not. Those who refused felt the pick of a bayonet.
Furthermore, out of the tens of thousands of homeless people the soldiers forced as many as were needed to go to work for the common good, putting up shelters, erecting tents, devising storehouses, and, above all, creating the necessary sanitary appliances and safeguards to prevent the outbreak of pestilence.
It required the utmost vigilance on the part of the army officers and the most constant attention by the medical corps to prevent an outbreak of typhoid, dysentery, and the ordinary train of nearly fatal diseases which are common to large military camps, and which are almost inevitable when dealing with an unorganized and unintelligent mob.
Efforts were made to compel every man, woman, and child to obey constantly the strict sanitary regulations which the army provides for its own protection.
Every medical officer and every man in the hospital corps within a wide range of San Francisco had been ordered to report at once for duty under General Funston. With the flames practically under control and with millions of army rations on the grounds or actually in sight of the people, the efforts of the War Department became directed to the preservation of health and in a secondary degree to the location and registration of the dead, the wounded, and the saved.
Following close upon the heels of the rations and the tents there came tons upon tons of disinfectants unloaded at Oakland and every possible device was being employed by the medical bureau to make as good a record in this regard as the quartermaster and commissary departments had already produced in supplying food and shelter.
Meanwhile the ever-ready American private soldier and his splendid executive officer, the American noncom., were really the rulers at San Francisco. They defied the law every minute, but evidently they acted with characteristic good sense. The price of bread was kept down, the mob was being systematized and taught to respect authority, and enough thieves had summarily been shot in San Francisco to render looting a dangerous and an unprofitable avocation.
People who went through the great fire at Chicago in 1871 remember that when Gen. Sheridan brought in regular soldiers he established order within a brief period of time, and there was a feeling of relief when men under his command began to blow up houses in the vicinity of Wabash avenue and Congress street.
The laws of the United States had been violated every minute. Supplies were purchased in the open market, government property had been handed out without receipts to anybody who seemed to have authority to receive it, and the distribution of supplies had been wholly free from the slightest suspicion of red tape. In spite of these facts, the President and Secretary Taft felt proud of the fact that the army organization had proved itself able to withstand the sudden strain put upon it, while the enlisted rnan showed his ability to act at a distance from his commissioned officer with an intelligence and an initiative which would be impossible in the European armies.
As during the days of disaster and terror stricken San Francisco was absolutely under the control of General Funston, a few facts about his career will be appropriate here. Red-headed, red blooded; a pygmy in stature, a giant in experience; true son of Romany in peace and of Erin in war—the capture of Aguinaldo in the wilds of North Luzon and his control of affairs in San Francisco fairly top off the adventurous career of Frederick Funston, fighter.
General Funston was born in Ohio, but when he was two years old his family moved to Kansas. After passing through the high school he entered the University of Kansas. His father lead been a congressman for a number of years. His ambition was to enter West Point, but he failed to pass its examination. He later broke into the newspaper business, but his career in that field was short. In 1900 his father secured him an appointment as botanist in the Department of Agriculture. After a trip to Montana and the Dakotas he was attached to the party which made the first Government survey of Death Valley, the famous California deathtrap. Seven months were spent in this work, and Funston is the only man of the party alive and sane today.
In 1891-92 the Government sent him to make a botanical survey of certain parts of the Alaskan coast, and in 1893 he returned to the Arctic and made a similar survey of the Yukon. He negotiated Chilkoot Pass, then an untrodden pathway. After trying to start a coffee plantation in Central America and to fill a job with the Santa Fe railroad, the torch of the Cuban revolution became a beacon to his adventurous spirit. He joined a filibustering party which the Dauntless landed at Camaguay in August, 1896. He was assigned by Garcia to the artillery arm of the insurgent service.
Twenty-three battles in Cuba was his record with his guns. Once he was captured and sentenced to death, but escaped. Later still a steel-tipped Mauser bullet pierced his lungs. This healed, but the fever struck him down, and compelled his return to the United States. As he was preparing to return to Cuba the Maine was blown up and in his certainty that war with Spain would result he awaited the issue. Governor Leedy, of Kansas, telegraphed for him, and he became Colonel of the Twentieth Kansas. He went with General Miles to Cuba in June, 1898, and sailed with his regiment for Manila in October. Three weeks before he sailed Colonel Funston met Miss Ella Blankhart of Oakland. As impetuous in love as in war he wooed and won her, the marriage taking place the day before the transport sailed.
Of his daring risks and feats in the Philippines and of his capture
of Aguinaldo the general public is so familiar as not to need recapitulation
here. Of his qualities as a fighting man pure and simple, there can be
no two opinions. Says General Harrison G.Otis: "Funston is the greatest
daredevil in the army, and would rather fight than eat. I never saw a man
who enjoyed fighting so much." Another friend of his once said that Funston
was a sixteenth-century hero, born four hundred years or so too late, who
had ever since been seeking to remedy the chronological error of his birth.
Scenes of Destitution in the Parks Where the Homeless Were Gathered—Rich and Poor Share Food and Bed Alike—All Distinctions of Wealth and Social Position Wiped Out by the Great Calamity.
NEXT to viewing the many square miles of ruins that once made San Francisco a city, no better realization of the ruin can be gained than from the refugee camps located in the districts which were untouched by the flames. Golden Gate park was the mecca of the destitute. This immense playground of the municipality was converted into a vast mushroom city that bore striking resemblance to the fleeting towns located on the border of a government reservation about to be opened to public settlement.
The common destitution and suffering wiped out all social, financial and racial distinctions. The man who before the fire had been a prosperous merchant occupied with his family a little plot of ground that adjoined the open-air home of a laborer. The white man of California forgot his antipathy to the Asiatic race and maintained friendly relations with his new Chinese and Japanese neighbors.
The society belle of the night before the fire, a butterfly of fashion at the grand opera performance, assisted some factory girl in the preparation of humble daily meals. Money had little value. The family who had foresight to lay in the largest stock of foodstuffs on the first day of the disaster was rated highest in the scale of wealth.
A few of the families who could secure willing expressmen possessed cooking stoves, but over 95 per cent of the refugees had to do their cooking on little camp fires made of brick or stone.
Kitchen utensils that a week before would have been regarded with contempt were articles of high value.
Many of the homeless people were in possession of comfortable clothing and bed covering. The grass was their bed and their daily clothing their only protection against the penetrating fog of the ocean or the chilling dew of the morning. Fresh meat disappeared the first day of the catastrophe and canned foods and breadstuffs were the only victuals in evidence.
Not alone were the parks the places of refuge. Every large vacant lot in the safe zone was preempted and even the cemeteries were crowded.
A well-known young lady of social position when asked where she had spent the night replied: "On a grave."
Throughout the entire western portion of the peninsular county of San Francisco these camps were located.
Major McKeever of the United States Army was appointed commandant of the camps and, with his staff of assistants, brought system and order out of the chaotic situation. His first thought was to supply food and water and then to arrange sanitary measures. The throngs of people who crowded elbow to elbow in the open lots and fields without conveniences that are naturally demanded were constantly threatened with an epidemic of disease.
Good order and fellowship prevailed in these impromptu settlements and the common ruin and poverty made all of the unfortunates akin.
In buildings close to the camps the police stored available foodstuffs and bed clothing for convenient delivery. No distinctions were drawn and but few favors shown in the distribution of supplies.
Although efforts of the various relief committees were bent to appease the gnawing hunger of the destitute thousands—efforts that were in a large measure entirely successful—there were many persons without sufficient food or entirely without it.
The government officials took charge of every grocery store in that part of the city still standing and gave out foodstuffs to all those who were hungry. Broad lines were established at Fillmore and Turk streets, at Golden Gate park and at the Presidio and every person who stood in line was given a whole loaf. The line at Fillmore and Turk streets was four blocks long all one afternoon and those at the parks were even longer. A large supply of milk was received from Oakland in the morning and this was distributed to women and children whenever they were found in need. A great deal of this milk was used for the exhausted women.
The breadlines at the parks furnished striking instances of the absolute patience and fortitude that has marked the behavior of the people throughout their trying experience. There were no disorders when the hungry thousands were told to form a line and receive their bread and canned goods. All were content to wait their turn. Silk-hatted men followed good naturedly behind Chinese and took their loaves from the same hand.
Soup kitchens were established in the streets of the unburned section, no fires whatever being allowed indoors, and many hungry persons were fed by these individual efforts.
At the ferry station there were some pathetic scenes among the hungry people. When the boat came in from Stockton with tons of supplies a number of small children were the first to spy a large box of sandwiches with cries of delight. They made a rush for the food, seized as much as they could hold and rushed to their mothers with shouts of "Oh, mamma, mamma, look at the sandwiches!"
Seated around the ferry buildings sat hundreds of people sucking canned fruits from the tins. Some were drinking condensed cream and some were lucky enough to have sardines or cheese. At several places along Market street scores of men were digging with their hands among the still smoking debris of some large grocery house for canned goods. When they secured it, which they did without molestation from anybody, they broke the tins and drank the contents.
At Filbert and Van Ness avenue at 6 o'clock at night a wagon of supplies conveyed by soldiers was besieged by a crowd of hungry people. They appealed to the soldiers for food and their appeals were quickly heeded. Seizing an ax a soldier smashed the boxes and tossed the supplies to the crowd, which took time to cheer lustily.
Owing to the energetic efforts of General Funston and the officials of the Spring Water Company the sufferers in all parts of the city were spared at least the horrors of a water famine. As soon as it was learned that some few mercenaries who were fortunate enough to have fresh water stored in tanks in manufacturing districts were selling it at 50 cents per glass the authorities took prompt action and hastened their efforts to repair the mains that had been damaged by the earthquake shocks.
The work of relief was started early on the second day of the disaster. A big bakery in the saved district started its fires and 50,000 loaves were baked before night. The police and military were present in force and each person was allowed only one loaf. The destitution and suffering were indescribable. Women and children who had comfortable, happy homes a few days before slept—if sleep came at all—on hay on the wharves, on the sand lots near North beach, some of them under the little tents made of sheeting which poorly protected them from the chilling ocean winds. The people in the parks were better provided in the matter of shelter, for they left their homes better prepared.
Instructions were issued by Mayor Schmitz to break open every store containing provisions and to distribute them to the thousands under police supervision.
At one time bread sold as high as $1 a loaf and water at fifty cents a glass, but the authorities at once put a stop to the extortion.
Among the many pathetic incidents of the fire in San Francisco was that of a woman who sat at the foot of Van Ness avenue on the hot sands on the hii1side overlooking the bay east of Fort Mason with four little children, the youngest a girl of three, the eldest a boy of ten.
They were destitute of water, food and money. The woman had fled with her children from a home in flames in the Mission street district and tramped to the bay in the hope of sighting the ship, which she said was about due, of which her husband was the captain.
"He would know me anywhere," she said. And she would not move, although a young fellow gallantly offered his tent back on a vacant lot in which to shelter her children.
Among the refugees who found themselves stranded were John Singleton, a Los Angeles millionaire, his wife and her sitter. The Singletons were staying at the Palace Hotel when the earthquake shock occurred on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Singleton gave the following account of his experience: "The shock wrecked the rooms in which we were sleeping. We managed to get our clothes on and get out immediately. We had been at the hotel only two days and left probably $3,000 worth of personal effects in the room.
"After leaving the Palace we secured an express wagon for $25 to take us to the Casino near Golden Gate park, where we stayed the first night. On the following morning we managed to get a conveyance at enormous cost and spent the entire day in getting to the Palace. We paid $1 apiece for eggs and $2 for a loaf of bread. On these and a little ham we had to be satisfied."
Mr. Singleton, like thousands of other people, found himself without funds and he had difficulty in securing cash until he met some one who knew him.
To allay the fears of the refugees in the various camps Mayor Schmitz issued the following proclamation which citizens were instructed to observe:
"Do not be afraid of famine. There will be abundance of food supplied. Do not use any water except for drinking and cooking purposes. Do not light fires in houses, stoves or fireplaces. Do not use any house closets under any circumstances, but dig earth closets in yards or vacant lots, using if possible chloride of lime or some other disinfectant. This is of the greatest importance, as the water supply is only sufficient for drinking and cooking. Do not allow any garbage to remain on the premises; bury it and cover immediately. Pestilence can only be avoided by complying with these regulations.
"You are particularly requested not to enter any business house or dwelling except your own, as you may be mistaken for one of the looters and shot on sight, as the orders are not to arrest but shoot down any one caught stealing."
The refugees numbered all told about 300,000. At least 75,000 of them made their way to Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Benicia and neighboring cities while many more fortunate and prosperous succeeded in reaching Los Angeles.
The work of caring for the homeless in the refugee camps was splendidly managed under the direction of the citizens' committee, the military authorities and the Red Cross.
The people were fed in a thoroughly businesslike and systematic manner. From the water front, where the boatloads of provisions docked, there was an endless procession of carts and drays carrying food to the scores of substations established throughout the city and the parks. At these stations food and drink, comprising bread, prepared meats and canned goods, milk and a limited amount of hot coffee, were served to all those who applied. About 1,500 tons of provisions were moved daily from the water front.
Large supplies of blankets, tentings and other material to provide coverings for those who were scantily supplied theretofore reached the supply stations rapidly. Barracks were erected at several points and in those many people have found comfort and shelter against the inclemencies of the weather.
The situation in the congested districts such as Golden Gate Park and the various public squares throughout the city, was considerably relieved by the departure of many people for points on the other side of the bay, as soon as access was had to the ferry building. The exodus continued daily from the time the fire broke out until every one who wished to get away had departed.
The greatest hardship experienced by the homeless refugees was on the first Sunday night following the fire.
From midnight Sunday until 3 o'clock Monday morning a drenching rain fell at intervals, while a high wind added a melancholy accompaniment, whistling and sighing about the ruins of the buildings in the burned district. Five days before when the fire catastrophe was in its infancy this downpour would have been regarded as a mercy and a godsend.
When it came it could be regarded in no other light than as an additional calamity. It meant indescribable suffering to the tens of thousands of people camped upon the naked hills and in the parks and open places of the city.
Few of them were provided with water-proof covering. For the most part their only protection from the wet was a thin covering of sheeting tacked upon improvised tent-poles. Through this the water poured as through a sieve, wetting the bedding and soaking the ground upon which they lay.
When it is understood that thousands upon thousands of delicately nurtured women and infants in arms and old and feeble people were in this plight nothing need be added to describe the misery of their condition.
What could be done was done by the guards in charge of the camps to relieve the distress. Whenever covering could be had for the women and children it was taken advantage of. They were housed in the chill and cheerless churches, garages and barns, and those who had been fortunate enough to save their homes were called upon to take care of these unfortunates. With few exceptions these people responded readily to the new call made upon them and where they did not the butt ends of Krag rifles quickly forced a way through inhospitable doors.
Of individual instances of suffering the whole number is legion, but one will tell the story of them all.
About 4 o'clock, when the rain had been falling heavily for an hour, a middle-aged man, white-faced in his distress and fatigue, appeared at the headquarters of the general committee. He had walked two miles from his camping place in the park to make an appeal for his suffering wife and little ones. As he told of their distress the tears welled up in his eyes and coursed down his cheeks.
They were, he said, without covering other than a sheeting overhead and were lying on the naked ground and their bodies protected only by a quilt and blanket, which of his household bedding were all he had managed to save. These had quickly been soaked, and while unwilling to complain on his own account he had been unable to listen to the wails of his little ones and had tramped all the way from his camping place to the committee headquarters in the forlorn hope that there he might find some means of getting his family under shelter.
The condition of the 5,000 people or more camped in Jefferson Square Park was something terrible. Not more than 5 per cent had even an army tent and the makeshifts were constructed of carpets, bed sheets and every imaginable substance. They were totally inadequate to keep out the heavy rain.
The 100 soldiers of the Fifth and Sixth California National Guard were requisitioning.
Glenn A. Durston of the Spanish War Veteran's relief committee, had charge of the relief work.
The spirit and courage shown by the sufferers in the face of their misfortunes was wonderful. An aged, crippled woman lying on the dirt floor of patchwork, bed sheets, carpets and tin roofing made a remark which was a sample.
"I am the widow of a union soldier," she said. "The sufferings related by my husband at Vicksburg were as nothing compared to mine. I am very comfortable, thank you."
Many temporary emergency hospitals were established in and near the refugee camps. The St. Paul Lutheran church near Jefferson square was one, but the big hospital at the Presidio, the military headquarters of the government, provided for the greater number of cases.
A temporary detention hospital was also established in the basement of the Sacred Heart school, conducted bv the Dominican Sisters at the corner of Fillmore and Hayes streets, and the first commitment since the earthquake was made on the Sunday following the fire. The sisters of the Sacred Heart kindly turned over a part of the already crowded quarters to the insanity commissioners, and a number of patients made insane by the fire were cared for there.
At the general hospital the wards were soon full of patients, but few were suffering from severe types of sickness. There were many cases of tonsilitis, colds and such ills.
Within a week after the fire thousands of people left the refugee camps and found homes with friends in nearby places. One week after the disaster the authorities estimated that the number of campers on the grounds had been reduced to less than 8,000, where over 30.000 people had camped.
Temporary structures were erected in Golden Gate Park for the housing of 40,000 people, who had been sleeping out of doors for nearly a week and they were moved into comfortable quarters. About the same time a supply of blankets and bedding was received.
Within a week from the beginning of the disaster the refuge camps were
converted into comfortable places of residence, with adequate sanitation,
and the homeless at least had temporary homes. All this was accomplished
with a minimum of suffering and illness that speaks volumes for the courage,
energy and common sense of the American people.
San Jose, the Prettiest Place in the State, Wrecked by Quake—State Insane Asylum Collapsed and Buried Many Patients Beneath the Crumbled Walls—Enormous Damage at Santa Rosa.
OUTSIDE of San Francisco the earthquake did immense damage for fifty miles north and south of the Golden Gate City. San Jose, the prettiest city in California, sustained the severest shock, which killed a score of people and left the business section a pile of ruins. The loss in this one city alone amounted to $5,000,000.
The State Insane Asylum at Agnews near San Jose collapsed and buried upwards of 100 patients beneath its walls.
Among the buildings wrecked in San Jose are St. Patrick's church, the First Presbyterian church, the Centella Methodist Episcopal church, the Central Christian and South Methodist churches.
Every building on the west side of First street from St. James park to San Fernando street either went down, toppling or was badly cracked. The Auzerias building, Elks club, Unique theater and many other buildings on Santa Clara street went down to the ground.
On Second street the six-story Dougherty building and several adjoining blocks were destroyed by fire. A new high school in Normal Park was a complete wreck.
The Nevada & Porter building on Second street, the Rucker building on Third and Santa Clara streets were also ruined.
The annex to the Vendome Hotel was completely wrecked, and one man was killed therein.
Sheriff William White, of Los Angeles, who was in San Jose at the time attending a convention, thus describes the scenes following the quake:
"San Jose, which was the prettiest city in California, is the worst-looking wreck I ever saw. When I left there nineteen dead bodies had been recovered and there was a possibility that others would be found. I reached Agnew Asylum a few hours later in an automobile and was one of the first on the spot. There I helped to carry out sixty corpses. At noon, when I arrived at San Jose, it was believed that fully 100 bodies were still in the ruins.
"The shock came to San Jose exactly at 5:12:45, according to the clock in the St. James Hotel, which was stopped. Supreme Court Clerk Jordan, my young nephew; Walter Jordan and myself occupied apartments on the fourth floor of the St. James Hotel. The shock awoke the three of us, but only seemed to disturb my nephew, who commenced calling out.
"There was not a brick or stone building of two stories or over in San Jose that was not leveled to the ground or so badly damaged it will have to be torn down. Some fires started after the quake, but the fire department soon lead them under control.
"I secured an automobile at 7 o'clock and left for Agnew, where the insane asylum was located, with two or three of the visiting sheriffs. The sight there was awful. The walls were standing, but the floors had all fallen in.
"Scores of insane persons were running about in the grounds, unwatched and uncared for. I helped to take out the body of Dr. Kelly, the assistant superintendent of the asylum, who had been instantly killed. A nurse who was also taken out of the ruins by me died a little later.
"After getting away from San Jose I saw evidences of the earthquake at Niles and even as far as Livermore in the shape of fallen chimneys and broken glass."
The main building of the State Hospital collapsed, pinning many of the patients under fallen walls and debris. The padded cells had to be broken open and more dangerous patients were tied to trees out on the lawn in lieu of a safer place. The doctors and nurses stuck heroically to their posts and 100 students from Santa Clara College went over in a body and assisted in succoring the wounded.
State Senator Cornelius Pendleton, who escaped the earthquake shock at San Jose, thus narrated his experiences:
"We were all at the Vendome Hotel. The shock of the earthquake was so severe the floors and walls of the building collapsed at once and those of us who escaped made our way as best we could out of the ruins. On the side of the hotel where my room was there was a large tree. The side wall of my room fell against this tree, which also sustained that portion of the roof, preventing it from falling in on us.
"My room was on the second floor, but when I picked myself up I was in the basement of the building. I crawled up and out over the debris and escaped through a winclow on a level with the ground. After getting out I found this was one of the third story windows. Those of us who were uninjured at once set about assisting the less fortunate. I saw one dead woman in the hotel. We carried her out. The remainder of the dead were in various parts of the town. The residence district was not badly damaged. Martial law had been declared in the city when we left.
"Among the large buildings that were totally demolished were the Hall of Justice, the First Presbyterian Church, the Catholic Cathedral, the Hale Block, and the Vendome Hotel. Fire broke out following the earthquake in several quarters, but fortunately the water mains were uninjured and the spread of the flames was checked."
At Salinas the immense plant of the Spreckles Sugar refinery was completely destroyed, and the loss of property aggregated $2,000,000.
The estimated loss of life and damage in California cities outside of San Francisco is as follows:
Oakland, $500,000, 5 lives; Alameda, $400,000; San Jose, $5,000,000, 19 lives; Agnew (state hospital for insane), $400,000, 170 lives; Palo Alto (Stanford University), $3,000,000, 2 lives; Napa, $250,000; Salinas, $2,000,000; Hollister, $100,000, 1 life; Vallejo, $40,000; Sacramento, $25,000; Redwood City, $30,000; Suisun, $50,000; Santa Rosa, $800,000, 40 lives; Watsonville, $70,000; Monterey, $25,000, 8 lives; Loma Prieta, 10 lives; Stockton, $40,000; Brawley, $100,000; Santa Cruz, $200,000; Gilroy, $500,000; Healdsburg, $25,000; Cloverdale, $15,000; Geyserville, $12,000; Hopland, $10,000; Ukiah, $50,000; Alviso, $20,000; Niles, $10,000; Hinckley Creek, $10,000, 9 lives; Deer Creek Mill, $10,000, 2 lives: Santa Clara, $500,000; Pacific Grove, $50,000; Wrights, $75,000; Delmonte, $25,000, 2 lives.
The beautiful city of Santa Rosa was a terrible sufferer from the quake, both in loss of life and property:
The entire business section was left in ruins and practically every residence in the town was more or less damaged, fifteen or twenty being badly wrecked. The damage to residences was caused principally by the sinking of the foundations, which let many structures down on to the ground.
The brick and stone business blocks, together with the public buildings, were all thrown flat. The courthouse, Hall of Records, the Occidental and Santa Rosa hotels, the Athenaeum theater, the new Masonic Temple, Odd Fellows' block, all the banks—everything—went, and in all the city not one brick or stone building was left standing except the California Northwestern depot.
It was almost impossible for an outsider to realize the situation as it actually existed there. No such complete destruction of a city's business interests ever before resulted from an earthquake in America. The very completeness of the devastation was really the redeeming feature, though, for it put all upon exactly the same basis, commercially speaking. Bankers and millionaires went about with only the few dollars they happened to have in their pockets when the crash came, and were little better off than the laborers who were digging through the debris. Money had practically no value, for there was no place to spend it, and this phase of the situation presented its own remedy. Almost every one slept out of doors, being afraid to enter their homes except for a short while at a time until repairs were made.
There were plenty of provisions. Some were supplied by other towns and much was brought in from the surrounding country. Two entire blocks of buildings escaped being swept by the flames, which immediately broke out in a dozen places at once as soon as the shock was over and from the tangled ruins of those buildings complete stocks of groceries and clothing were dug out and added to the common store. Then before the fire gained headway several grocery stores were emptied of their contents in anticipation of what might follow.
The city was put under martial law, company C of Petaluma having been called to assist the local company in preserving order. Many deputy sheriffs and special police were also sworn in, but no trouble of any kind occurred.
The relief committee was active and well managed and all in need of assistance received it promptly. The work that required the principal attention of the authorities was removal of the wreckage in order to search for the bodies of those missing and known to have perished.
Forty marines under command of Captain Holcombe arrived from Mare Island and did splendid work in assisting in the search. Forty-two bodies were buried in one day and the total dead and missing numbered upward of 100.
Santa Rosa, in proportion to its size, suffered worse than San Francisco. Mr. Griggs, who was in the employ of a large firm at Santa Rosa, tells a story which sufficiently proves the earthquake's fury, so great as to practically reduce the town to ruin. In addition to the death roll a large number of persons were missing and a still greater number were wounded.
As in the case of San Francisco, an admirable organization had the situation well in hand. Forty sailors from Mare Island, fully equipped with apparatus, were at work, while volunteer aid was unstinted.
Santa Rosa suffered the greatest disaster in her history, but the indomitable spirit of her people was shown all along the line. Even so early as Friday an announcement was made that the public schools and the college would open as usual on Monday morning, the buildings having been inspected and found to be safe.
At Agnews the cupola over the administration department went down and all the wards in that part of the building collapsed. Twelve attendants were killed and Dr. Kelly, second assistant physician, was crushed to death. There were 1,100 patients in the hospital. C. L. Seardee, secretary of the state commission in lunacy, who was in Agnews and attending to official business, declared that it was a marvel that many more were not killed. Dr. T. W. Hatch, superintendent of the state hospitals for insane, was in charge of the work of relief.
Friday morning 100 patients were transferred to the Stockton asylum. Forty or fifty patients escaped.
Dr. Clark, superintendent of the San Francisco County Hospital, was one of the first to give relief to the injured at Agnews. He went there in an automobile, taking four nurses with him, and materially assisted the remaining members of the staff to organize relief measures.
Tents were set up in the grounds of the institution, and the injured as well as the uninjured cared for. A temporary building was erected to house the patients.
The St. Rose and Grand hotels at Santa Rosa collapsed and buried all the occupant. Thirty-eight bodies were taken from the ruins. There were 10,000 homeless men, women and children huddled together about Santa Rosa. As the last great seismic tremor spent its force in the earth, the whole business portion tumbled into ruins. The main street was piled many feet deep with the fallen buildings.
The destruction included all of the county buildings. The four story courthouse, with its dome, is a pile of broken masonry. What was not destroyed by the earthquake was swept by fire. The citizens deserted their homes. Not even their household goods were taken. They made for the fields and hills to watch the destruction of one of the most beautiful cities of the west.
C. A. Duffy of Owensboro, Ky., who was in Santa Rosa, was the only one out of several score to escape from the floor in which he was quartered in the St. Rose hotel at Santa Rosa. He went to Oakland on his motor cycle after he was released and told a thrilling story of his rescue and the condition of affairs in general at Santa Rosa.
Mr. Duffy said when the shock came he rushed for the stairway, but the building was swaying and shaking so that he could make no headway, and he turned back. He threw himself in front of the dresser in his room, trusting to that object to protect him from the falling timbers. This move saved his life. The dresser held up the beams which tumbled over him, and these in turn protected him from the falling mass of debris.
"I was imprisoned five hours," said Mr. Duffy, "before being rescued. Three times I tried to call and the rescuers heard me, but could not locate my position from the sound of my voice, and I could hear them going away after getting close to me.
"Finally I got hold of a lath from the ruins around me, poked it through a hole left by the falling of a steam pipe, and by using it and yelling at the same time finally managed to show the people where I was.
"There were about 300 people killed in the destruction of the three hotels.
"The business section of the place collapsed to the ground almost inside of five minutes. Then the fire started and burned Fourth street from one end to the other, starting at each end and meeting in the middle, thus sweeping over the ruins and burning the imprisoned people.
"I saw two arms protruding from one part of the debris and waving frantically. There was so much noise, however, that the screams could not be heard. Just then, as I looked, the flames swept over them and cruelly finished the work begun by the earthquake. The sight sickened me and I turned away."
Fort Bragg, one of the principal lumbering towns of Mendocino county, was almost totally destroyed as a result of a fire following the earthquake of April 18.
The bank and other brick buildings were leveled as a result of the tremors and within a few hours fire completed the work of devastation. But one person of the 5,000 inhabitants was killed, although scores were injured.
Eureka, another large town in the same county, fifty miles from Fort Bragg, was practically undamaged, although the quake was distinctly felt there.
Relief expeditions were sent to Fort Bragg from surrounding towns and villages and the people of the ruined area were well cared for.
The town of Tomales was converted into a pile of ruins. All of the large stores were thrown flat. The Catholic church, a new stone structure, was also ruined. Many ranch houses and barns went down. Two children, Anita and Peter Couzza, were killed in a falling house about a mile from town.
The towns of Healdsburg, Geyserville, Cloverdale, Hopland, and Ukiah were almost totally destroyed. The section in which they were located is the country as far north as Mendocino and Lake counties and as far west as the Pacific ocean. These are frontier counties, and have not as large towns as farther south. In every case the loss of life and property was shocking.
At Los Banos heavy damage was done. Several brick buildings were wrecked. The loss was $75,000.
Brawley, a small town on the Southern Pacific, 120 miles south of Los Angeles, was practically wiped out by the earthquake. This was the only town in southern California known to have suffered from the shock.
Buildings were damaged at Vallejo, Sacramento, and Suisun. At the latter place a mile and a half of railroad track is sunk from three to six feet. A loaded passenger train was almost engulfed.
R. H. Tucker, in charge of the Lick observatory, near San Jose, said: "No damage was done to the instruments or the buildings of the observatory by the earthquake."
At Santa Cruz the courthouse and twelve buildings were destroyed. Contrary to reports, there must have been a tidal wave of some size, for three buildings were carried away on Santa Cruz beach.
The Moreland academy, a Catholic institution at Watsonville, was badly damaged, but no lives lost.
In a Delmonte hotel a bridal couple from Benson, Ari.—Mr. and Mrs. Rouser—were killed in bed by chimneys falling.
At 12:33 o'clock on the afternoon following the San Francisco quake Los Angeles experienced a distinct earthquake shock of short duration. Absolutely no damage was done, but thousands of people were badly frightened.
Men and women occupants of office buildings, especially the tall structures, ran out into the streets, some of them hatless. Many stores were deserted in like manner by customers and clerks. The shock, however, passed off in a few minutes, and most of those who had fled streetwards returned presently.
The San Francisco horror has strung the populace here to a high tension,
and a spell of sultry weather serves to increase the general nervousness.
California's Magnificent Educational Institution, the Pride of the State, Wrecked by Quake—Founded by the Late Senator Leland Stanford as a Memorial to His Son and Namesake—Loss $3,000,000.
ONE of the most deplorable features of the great California calamity was the destruction of the Leland Stanford, Jr., University, situated at Palo Alto.
The magnificent buildings, including a beautiful memorial hall erected by Mrs. Stanford to the memory of her husband and son, were practically wrecked.
Leland Stanford University was one of the most richly endowed, most architecturally beautiful, and best equipped institutions of learning in the world. Mrs. Jane Stanford, widow of the school's founder, in 1901 gave it outright $30,000,000—$18,000,000 in gilt edged bonds and securities and $12,000,000 in an aggregate of 100,000 acres of land in twenty-six counties in California. This, with what the university had received from Leland Stanford himself, made its endowment the enormous sum of $34,000,000 besides its original capital, and on the death of Mrs. Stanford this was raised to $36,000,000.
In a way the real founder of the university was a young boy, Leland Stanford, Jr. On his death bed he was asked by his parents what he would like them to do with the vast fortune which would have been his had he lived. He replied he would like them to found a great university where young men and women without means could get an education, "for," he added, "that is what I intended all along to do before I knew I was going to die."
The dying wish was carried out.
The foundation stone was laid on the nineteenth anniversary of the boy's birth, and in a few years there sprang into existence at Palo Alto, about thirty-three miles southeast of San Francisco, the "Leland Stanford University for Both Sexes," with the colleges, schools, seminaries of learning, mechanical institutes, museums, galleries of art, and all other things necessary and appropriate to a university of high degree, with the avowed object of "qualifying students for personal success and direct usefulness in life."
The architecture was a modification of the Moorish and Romanesque, with yet a strong blending of the picturesque mission type, which has come down from the early days of Spanish settlement in California. Driving up the avenue of palms from the university entrance to the quadrangle, one was faced by the massive, majestic memorial arch. Augustus St. Gaudens, the great sculptor, embodied in his noblest conceptions in the magnificent frieze which adorned the arch.
However beautiful the other buildings, they were easily surpassed by the marvelous Memorial Church, which was built at a cost of $1,000,000.
The organ in this magnificent new edifice was the largest and most expensive in the world. It had nearly 3,000 pipes and forty-six stops. The church was 190 feet in length and 156 feet in width. It cost $840,000.
The substantial magnificence of Memorial Church was followed in every line of the university's program. The assembly hall and the library were adjoining buildings of the outer quadrangle. The former had a seating capacity of 1,700, and with its stage and dressing rooms possessed all the conveniences of a modern theater.
When Stanford University opened its doors almost fifteen years ago people thought the Pacific coast was too wild and woolly to support Stanford in addition to the big state university at Berkeley, Cal., and, as President David Starr Jordan remarked "It was the opinion in the east that there was as much room for a new university in California as for an asylum of broken down sea captains in Switzerland."
But Stanford grew steadily and rapidly, until last year its attendance was more than 1,600. Its president is David Starr Jordan.
The gateway to the university is opposite the town of Palo Alto, which has a population of 4,000. It is surrounded by part of its endowment, the magnificent Palo Alto estate of seventy three hundred acres. The value of the total endowment is estimated at $3,000,000. The university buildings are the most beautiful group of public buildings in America. They are but parts of one plan, and are constructed of Santa Clara Valley brown sandstone throughout—beautiful and restful in color and in pleasing contrast to the walls of green of the surrounding hills and the great campus in front. The buildings of the university are not piled sky high, but with long corridors rise two stories, for the most part completely enclosing a beautiful quadrangle, in itself about a ninth of a mile long by eighty yards broad. The massive memorial arch in front, and the beautiful Memorial Church, with its cathedral-like interior, great arches and allegorical windows, are the most imposing features of the group. Flanking the main buildings to the right is Encina Hall for the boys and Roble Hall for the girls, while across the campus are the new chemistry building and the museum. The large grounds are most carefully tended, and all the flowers and trees and shrubs that help beautify California find a home here. The walks and drives are delightful. There is no other alliance of buildings and surrounding grounds quite so pleasing as those of Stanford University. Tuition at the University is free, and the equipment is that naturally to be expected in the richest endowed university in the world. The students of the present semester number fifteen hundred. Financial figures mean but little in connection with a university—and yet since the new church is not describable, it may be mentioned that it cost $500,000. The buildings represent an expenditure of several million dollars.
To reach Palo Alto and Stanford University one has to travel from San
Francisco thirty-three miles southward over the coast line of the Southern
Pacific road. The town of Palo Alto is situated in the Santa Clara Valley—a
riverless area of bottomland lying between San Francisco bay and the Santa
Cruz range. The Santa Clara Valley is one of the various vales found here
and there about the continent which proudly lay claim to the title "garden
spot of the world."
The Memorial Church was Mrs. Stanford's gift to the university from her private fortune, was dedicated "to the glory of God and in loving memory of my husband, Leland Stanford." Its erection and administration were matters entirely apart from the regular university control. In terms of money, it probably cost over $1,000,000. Clinton Day of San Francisco drew the plans, which were complemented in a hundred ways, from the ideas of Mrs. Stanford herself and suggestions obtained by her from a scrutiny of old world cathedrals.
The building of the university was decided upon by Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford in March, 1884, after their only son had died in Italy at the age of 16. Construction began, May 14, 1887, the anniversary of the boy's birth, and instruction October 1, 1891. As for the name, here is the joint declaration of the Stanfords: "Since the idea of establishing an institution of this kind came directly and largely from our son and only child, Leland, and in the belief that had he been spared to advise as to the disposition of our estate he would have desired the devotion of a large portion thereof to this purpose, we will that for all time to come the institution hereby founded shall bear his name and shall be known as the Leland Stanford Junior University." The object was declared to be "to qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life." On the title page of the first register ever printed and of every one since, appear these words of Senator Stanford's: "A generous education is the birthright of every man and woman in America." This and President Jordan's favorite quotation, "Die Luft der Freheit weht"—"the winds of freedom are blowing," reveal somewhat the genius of the place.
The major study was the key to Stanford's elective system of instruction. The ordinary class divisions were not officially recognized. Even the students until recently made far less of the terms "freshmen," "sophomore," "junior" and "senior," than is made of them at most colleges. Each student elected at the start some major study, by which he steered his course for the four years, unless he changed "majors," which was not unusual or inadvisable during the first two years, for after they had "learned the ropes" students naturally gravitated to the department whose lines they are best fitted to follow. The Stanford departments numbered 23, as follows: Greek, Latin, German, Romantic languages, English, philosophy, psychology, education, history, economics, law, drawing, mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, physiology, zoology, entomology, geology and mining, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering.
The chosen site of the university was part of the great Palo Alto ranch of the Stanfords, devoted to the raising of grain, grapes and the famous trotting horses that were "the Senator's" hobby and California's pride. It resembled the Berkeley situation, in that the bay lies before it and the foothills of the Santa Cruz range behind, but the former is three miles away and the Palo Alto country is so level that only when one climbs the rolling slopes behind the college does he realize that the great inlet is so near. The view from the foothills, by the way, or better still from the crest of the mountain range farther back, where the Pacific ocean roars away to the westward and the valley and bay appear to divide the space between you and the mountains that cut the horizon to the east, is one of California's treasures.
The idea that made the Spanish mission the model for the Stanford buildings was translated into plans by Shepley, Rutan and Cooledge. If ever there was an inspiration, says the visitor, this was one. Ever so many millions put into ever so ornate structures of the type prevalent elsewhere could not give these halls their appealing beauty. The main group of buildings formed two quadrangles. The 12 one-story members of the inner quadrangle were ready in 1891, and with the shops of the engineering departments, were for several years "the university." The 12 structures of the inner quad were increased to 13, for the church, provided for in the original scheme, but not begun until 1899, was added. Those inclosed—to quote statistics from the register—a court 586 feet long by 246 feet wide—3 1/4 acres—relieved from barrenness by big circular plots in which flourished palms, bamboos and a medley of other tropical translations. Penetrate 10 feet into one of these plots, which are always damp from much watering, and it takes little imagining to fancy yourself in an equatorial jungle. Surrounding this quadrangle vas another—the "outer quad," of 14 buildings that were bigger and higher and considerably more impressive than the pioneers. The extreme length of the second quadrangle was 894 feet. All the way around it stretched the same colonnades, with their open-arched facades, that flanked the inner court. And in addition the outer and inner quadrangles were connected here and there with these same arched pathways, which subdivide the space between the two into little reproductions in miniature of the main plaza within. The colonnades, the tiled roofs and peculiar yellow sandstone of which all the quadrangles were constructed formed a combination which is not easily nor willingly forgotten. Outside this central group, of which the great church and the memorial arch were badly wrecked by the quake, were enough other buildings used for the university proper to bring the number up to fifty or so. They include chemistry building, museum, library, gymnasium, engineering and two dormitories—one, Roble hall, for women; the other, Encina hall, for men.
The ruins wrought among those magnificent buildings by the frightful upheaval of the earth which wrenched some of them apart and threw down huge sections of walls aggregated in money value about $3,000,000.
The gymnasium and the library were wholly destroyed, nothing but skeletons of twisted steel remaining. The loss was half a million dollars on each. The Memorial church was left merely a frame, the mosaic work being torn down. The top of the 80-foot high memorial arch was crashed to the ground a heap of ruins. The original quadrangle was but little damaged. Many rare specimens from Egypt were lost in the museum, which was only partly destroyed. The fraternity lodge and Chi Psi Hall were a total loss. The engineering buildings were partly demolished. Encina Hall,where 200 boys stayed, was much shaken, and a large stone chimney crashed through the four floors, burying student Hanna, of Bradford, Pa. He was the only student killed. About twelve others were slightly hurt.
Roble Hall, women's dormitory, escaped without a scratch.
The damage at Palo Alto City amounts to $200,000. The damage in the neighboring towns was also heavy. San Mateo suffered more than Palo Alto. The Redwood city jail was torn down and all the prisoners escaped.
There was severe damage at Menlo Park. Burlingame suffered a loss of fully $100,000. Many houses were torn down there. The only other death in that vicinity was that of Fireman Otto Gordes, who was buried under the chimney of the power house at Palo Alto.
All the towns mentioned were left without light or power. President David Starr Jordan of Stanford University announced that the university authorities would begin at once to repair the quadrangle, laboratories and dormitories. The Memorial church was sheltered to prevent further injury and work in all classes was resumed on April 23.
President Jordan said that it was unlikely any attempt would be made to restore the Memorial church, the memorial arch, the new library, the gymnasium or the museum of the university.
The great rival of the Leland Stanford, Jr., University is the University of California at Berkeley, a suburb of San Francisco. The effect of the earthquake there is tersely told by Professor Alpheus B. Streedain of the zoological department. There were eight severe shocks in succession.
"It all lasted about twenty-five seconds," said Professor Streedain, "and talk about being frightened, to be more expressive I thought hell was coming to earth. I rushed down to the street in my pajamas, and people were almost crazy. Chimneys were down all over. I was safe and trusted to God for any coming shocks. It was a mighty serious proposition, and one I shall never forget."
By a seeming miracle the big California University buildings that stand on the campus elevations escaped harm in the earthquake shock.
Recorder James Sutton of the University said; "I made a personal examination of the buildings on the campus and received reports from deans of the colleges and it appears that not one of the buildings was harmed in the slightest degree.
"Professor O'Neill of the chemistry department reported that the damage done to the instruments in the building did not aggregate more than $50. California Hall had not a mark on it to indicate that an earthquake occurred that morning. The other buildings were in the same condition. The Greek theater had not a Scratch on its walls."
The town of Berkeley was not so fortunate as the university in the matter of damage sustained. No lives were lost, nor were there any notable disasters to buildings, but the aggregate damage in the shape of twisted structures, broken chimneys and falling walls was many thousands of dollars.
The destruction of so many magnificent buildings at the Leland Stanford.
Jr., University was one of the worst calamities that has ever befallen
an American educational institution.