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Sydney Tyler.

San Francisco's great disaster; a full account of the recent terrible destruction of life and property by earthquake, fire and volcano in California and at Vesuvius .. online

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San FRANCISCO'S
GREAT Disaster

A Full Account of the Recent

Terrible Destruction of

Life and Property by

EARTHQUAKE, FIRE
AND VOLCANO

In CALIFORNIA and at VESUVIUS

AND A BRIEF ACCOUNT OT ANCENTAND MODERN EARTH-

QUAKES AND VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS IN

AUL PARTS OF THE WCMO-D

BY

SYDNEY TYLER

Cornqpondait. anJ Amber •{ " The Xapai|..R|inu War.** Etc^ Etc.

With an Intecestrng Chapter, on the Causes ef this and
other. EarthqjuaU^-TGrow'aia Mountains
andjVc^taiiMS .

. BY

RALPH STOCKMAN TARR

Pnfenor e( Geolegy in ConieU Uohrenily ; Formerly of the U. S. Geologieal Sunrey:

AiShor ef Geelogicel TeH-Books; Lecturer and Student

. of ^reriout Eaithquaket on the Pacific CoatL



ILLUSTRATED



P. W, ZIEGLER CO.

PHILADELPHIA



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127838



Gopynght. 1906

by

SYDNEY TYLER



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PREFACE.

San Francisco, ninth of the great American cities,
has been visited by the greatest disaster which ever visited
a community on this continent. Indeed, in all of the an-
nals of the world, few calamities equal it, and, perhaps
only the annihilation of Pompeii and Herculaneum, ex-
ceed it in the totality of destruction. The civilized world
has stood aghast at the spectacle of a proud muncipality
laid in ruins. To the sudden horror of earthquake has been
added the devastation of fire. Together these destroyers
have swept away three- fourths of a magnificent city. Where
rose great marts of trade, public buildings of every kind,
temples of worship, temples of the drama; earthquake and
fire left only shattered and smoldering heaps of debris.
Where were reared fifty thousand homes, centres of social
life, monuments of the people's thrift, tokens of civiliza-
tion, prosperity and happiness, only gnarled skeletons of
charred timbers and blackened bricks remained. Like light-
ning from a sunlit sky, like knife thrust in the dark, as
dramatic, as unexpected as though the sky itself should fall
in a molten deluge and engulf the earth, so fell this catas-
trophe. A great city reared by the faith and toil of half
a cewtury well nigh perished. The world stood appalled.

PURPOSE OF THIS VOLUME.

History must open her pages to have enrolled among
the tra^c events of time, the story of this horror. Not only
will the awful story remain the vivid possession of every
man who has lived in the year and through the days when
it ^''Q been unfddinjf, but future generations will pause

5



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C\ PREFACE.

in awe to read. This volume is designed to give, with ac-
curacy, in graphic detail, the story of the destruction of
San Francisco. The publishers have had in mind, not only
the present generation, but those to come after. The work,
therefore, has been broadened. To givt the readers of to-day,
and of the years to come, a basis of comparison, to determine
the tremendous extent of the catastrophe, the volume in-
cludes equally graphic descriptions of the notable visita-
tions of Providence, which in the past have left death and
havoc where they have fallen. It is a compendium of the
great tragedies of history, a glossary where will be found
descriptions of the moments in the history of the world,
when mankind has stood at bay before nature and the ele-
ments locked in deadly struggle. In such crises the puny
might of man stands revealed before the limitless power of
the elements. Nature, herself, seems to shudder at her
very power and after brief spasms of riot and anarchy, calls
off the forces that threaten universal annihilation. In an
hour a mighty mountain disembowels itself under the in*
fluence of Titanic, unknown, uncontrollable, internal forces
and two great cities are buried, to remain lost for centuries.
The mighty ocean, breaking for an hour from the laws of
its control, engulfs a coast, gluts its receeding waves with
the carcasses of the dead, and leaves a city, flourishing an
hour before, only a barren wastie. In the bowels of the
earth there is a shudder, as though a giant writhed in his
deep, rock-ribbed prison, and, to! a monster city, spreading
for miles in prosperity over densely peopled hills, totters
and falls. Where was peace, prosperity and happiness, in
an hour is only the scene of indescribable desolation.
Where were tens of thousands, secure in the enjoyment
•f life, accepting to-day's realities and calling t0-morr#w
their •wn, tww are ranks on ranks of the dead, and tens



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PREFACE. 7

of thousands of the living paralyzed with the fleeting glimpse
they have had of the awful might of powers hid in the
far, mystic chambers of nature.

UNCERTAINTY OF FINITE THINGS.

The world seems secure on her foundations, the heavens
eternal, the universe unshakable, man supreme, until, in
one of these dread hours, the narrow border between order
and chaos, between law and anarchy in nature's realm, ends
man's dream of supremacy, ends his faith that the universe
is unshakable, that the heavens are eternal, that Old Earth
is secure on her foundations. Such a revelation is the
destruction of San Francisco. It is not alone the posses-
sion of the people of the day on which the awful visita-
tion has fallen, but the property of all the ages, a pointed
lesson of the mutability of the finite, a grim fable whose
moral points to the realms of the Divine and infinite. The
lesson is for all peoples, everywhere, for who can tell where
next nature will run riot? Who knows that the next out-
break of elemental anarchy will confine devastation to a
single locality? Who can give security that the globe in
its entirety will not crumble into dust when next the natural
law is violated?

AWFULNE88 OF THE CATASTROPHE.

The publishers of this volume have approached the
subject in a serious spirit. They have undertaken to unfold
the story of the destruction of San Francisco from every
standpoint. Such a catastrophe has many aspects. In the
first hours of shock and dismay the human side is fore-
mast. The minds of civilized peoples were filled with the
thou^fht of h«mes destroyed, of people fleeing in awful



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8 PREFACE.

terror from a foe in the bowels of the earth, pursued, too,
by leaping flames, devouring what the throes of the disturbed
earth had left standing. They saw thousands hungry, with-
out water, threatened by pestilence. They saw the unburied
dead, they heard the cries of the wounded, and millions of
hearts went out to the victims ; millions of purses flevy open
to send gold to succor and save. This aspect will always
be uppermost in the history of the catastrophe. But a blow
so sweeping paralyzes commerce and all of the linked ac-
tivities that make a city prosperous and great. The eflfect of
this aspect of the tragedy has been little less great in inter-
est than the human sacrifice and suffering. The tide of hu-
manity will close over the dead and only isolated hearts
will ache. [ The blow to commercial life involves the whole
community, and its wounds heal less slowly than those of
the heart. San Francisco, for a quarter of a century, will
feel in her industrial and commercial life, the effects of the
blow that has fallen. VThis aspect has been seriously con-
sidered. There is a scientific aspect. Earthquakes, for-
tunately, are rare on this continent. For half a century
scientists have been studying this problem, aided with every
decade by broader conceptions and improved mechanical
appliances. To-day, science confesses that, so far as seis-
mic influences are concerned, little progress has been made.
Every such visitation adds to the information at hand.
The San Francisco earthquake will be the subject of study
far more thorough, made by men far better equipped for
their task, than any study of a similar phenomenon ever
made. The whole world may profit by the results. It is
too early to give results, but full credit has been given
to the men and the means which will be employed. Tt is
an aspect of universal concern.

This catastrophe has given fresh proof that /man is



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PREFACE. 9

linked in an universal brotherhood. J Here is an unportant
aspect. The fact that the government of the United States,
every individual State and the whole body of the people
flew to the aid of their stricken fellows in the Empire City
of the West will appear in flaming letters on the shaft tha(
to-day has reared to her memory in the plaisance of his
tory. It has been demonstrated, too, that ties of sympafhy
unite the remotest sections of tht earth, for, from the sov-
ereigns of the nations of the world have come words of sor-
row and sympathyj No student of his time, no future student
of our time, can overlook the marvellous development in
recent times of the spirit of brotherhood among men, and
the San Francisco tragedy has proved a climax in this de-
velopment. Just as, in the history of the country there has
been no such other event to unite men's hearts, so thei;e
has never been so noble a demonstration of the power of
men's hearts to feel the griefs and reach out to share the
burdens of others. This is an aspect to which attention has
been paid, commensurate with its importance.

OTHER VISITATIONS.

Vesuvius, after twenty centuries of acitvity, has only
recently added another to the many tragedies it has oc-
casioned. This fresh work of destruction is reviewed, to-
gether with the ever-old story of the destruction of Pom-
peii and Herculaneum. Other notable earthquakes, floods,
and volcanic eruptions are recorded, with the accuracy which
historical perspective permits.

In the author, the publishers have been fortunate. Mr.
Tyler is even now before the public as the author of a bril-
liant historical work, "The Japan-Russia War." The pub-
lishers called upon Mr. Tyler to tell, in his well-known
graphic style, the story of the catastrophe, and were greatly



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10 PREFAd.

pleased to immediately receive his acceotance of the task.
His work speaks for itself. The publishers feel assured
that tfie same welcome will be accorded this timely, splen-
didly, if quickly done chronicle, that has been given to the
several notable historical works from the pen of the same
author.

As in the case of the recent history of the great Far
Eastern war, Mr. Tyler has illuminated his theme with d
notable collection of photographs. These are an admirable
complement to the text. They bring before the eye, more
graphically than any pen could tell, the story of havoc,
jointly wrought by earthquake and fire. They show the
city in its pride and they show that same city levelled and
crumbled in ashes. The publishers believe that this volume
represents a chronicle of the San Francisco disaster that will
not be excelled, and present it to the public secure in the
belief that it will prove, not only of interest for the moment,
but a permanent contribution to literature, an invaluable
possession in the homes and libraries of those who would
have their knowledge extend to the most dramatic, and awe-
inspiringf events unfolded from the scroll of Time.

The PuBLiiiHEms.



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CONTENTS.

Earthquakes and Their Causes,

By Prof. Ralph S. Tare.

PAGE

Vesuvius and the Earthquake — Location of Earthquakes and
Volcanoes—The Growth of Mountains— Distribution of Earth-
quakes — Cause of Earthquakes — Earth Crust Being Broken —
Causes of Earthquake Shocks — Slipping of Rocks along Fault
Planes — Mountain Growth in Progress — Future Earthquake
Shocks— Place of Greatest Violence— Tidal Waves 17

The San Francisco Disaster.

No Terror Like the Earthquake — When the First Shock Came
— Thousands in Peril of Death — A Brood of Destroyers — An
"Earthquake City" — Have Always Feared Disaster — First Big
Building in 1890 — The Business District — Why Water Mains
Failed — Bedlam Follows Earthquake — Awake to Death and
Doom — Business Section Stricken — Searched Ruins for Human
Victims — Sweep of Destroying Angel — Streets Become Im-
passable — Mechanic's Pavilion Morgue — Federal Troops on
Guard — "The Dynamite is Gone" — Scene of Death and De-
struction — Danger from Falling Walls — Valuable Records
Found Intact — Mint and Post Office Open — A Day of Wed-
dings—The Turn in the Tid« of Flame — High Prices for
Wagon Hire 47

In the Path of the ConAairation.

Became a Metropolis — Great Ferries— Many Big Buildings —
Magnificent City Hall — Burned Area Twenty-six miles Around
— Streets Sunk into Great Gaps — All of the Old Landmarks
Gone — Famous Stanford Home — ^Reduced to Ruins — Fine Old
Hotels — Apartment Houses— Fine Papers Burned Out — Palace
and Grand Hotels— The Cliff House— Other Prominent Build-
ings—Loss of the Sutro Library— Collection Never Classified-
Ancient Newspaper File — Stanford University Losses 97

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12 CONTENTS.

PAGE
Fighting Flames Without Water.

Success Achieved at Last— The Last Stand— Credit for Work
Accomplished — Million in Property Blown to Dust — Dynamite's
One Victory — How the Mint was Saved — Mint Employees
Work Rapidly — Tongue of Fire Licks Inner Walls — Defend-
ers Exhausted — Mint Saved 137

Caring for Three Hundred Thousand Homeless Victims.

Safe on the Hillsides — Still Burning on Thursday — Shelter for
the Homeless — Oakland Houses 50,000 Refugees — The Second
Night in Camp — Ample Medical Supplies — All Social Barriers
Down — 15,000 Sleep Under the Sky — Procession of the Home-
Icbs — Schniitz to Roosevelt — Supplies by Trainloads — Mili-
tary is Placed in Charge — Cooked Breakfast in Streets — A
Difficult Problem Solved — Medical Attention Increased — Plenty
of Food and Water — The Rain Climax to Misery — Suffering in
Hospitals — System in Feeding Homeless — Chinese Suffer Se-
verely — Race Track a Camp — Work of Relief Soon Under Way
— 300,000 to be Fed — American "Nerve" to the Fore — Cheer-
ful in Misfortune — The Committee of Safety 151

Survivors Tell Heartrending Tales.

Everybody Just Walked — Joked While They Shivered — Sailors
Using Big Guns — Shoes Cut from Women's Feet — Merchants
Threw Stores Open — Were on Twelfth Floor — The Scene from
the Harbor — Some Prominent Victims — Metropolitan Opera
Company — Guarded His Valise — Slept Near the Lions — Mme.
I^ames Tells Earthquake Story — Experience of Adolphus Busch
— Saw His Companion Killed — A Woman's Description— Shot
to End Their Agony — The Story of a Prisoner 201

Death the Penalty for Looting.

Orders to Shoot on Sight — Public Opinion Sustains Order —
Thieves Hanged by Civilians — Robber of Dead Shot Down —

Fourteen Lives Pay the Penalty 233

\ Nation Gives Millions for Relief.

Limitless Generosity — Americans Prompt to Aid — Government
First Appropriated a Million — Secretary Taft's Letter — Asks
Another Million — Congress Gives Two and a Half Millions —
Cities, Villages, Churches, Societies and Individuals Respond
—Total Contributions 241



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CONTENTS. 13

PAGE

President Leads in Work of Succor.

Shocked by Awful News — Humanity's Call Heard — Swift Mes-
sages of Sympathy — President Makes Appeal — Relief Message
to Congress — Funds to Red Cross at First — Later to Chair-
man Finance Committee— Tribute to San Francisco 253

Insurance the City's Salvation.

Growth of the Insurance Business — Value of Insurance —
Companies Liberal in Settlement — Will Increase Business —
Companies in California— In Other States— In Other Coun-
tries — ^Total Losses — Insurance Paid by Companies 269

Funston and Schmit^ the Heroes of San Francisco.

Funston Famous Before — Exploits in Cuba — In the Philippines
— Prompt Action in San Francisco — Acts and Receives Au-
thority Afterward — Stories of Trouble Mongers Only Serve
to Bring Out Testimonials — Mayor Schmitz Shares Laurels... 283
' Rebuilding San Francisco.

The Crocker Losses— To Go Up Like Baltimore— The People
Hopeful — Three Elements of Profit — Chinese Women Slaves —
To Be a City Beautiful— No More of Chinatown— Chinese
Wives to go East — Shows Faith in City— A Question to be
Decided — Disaster of Continent — Chicago's Quick Recovery
—$40,000,000 for Rebuilding Baltimore More Beautiful

Resources of the Financial Institutions — The Municipal Bond
Situation — People Will Soon Return — Revival of Productive
Activities — The California Banks in a Substantial Position —
Result of Chicago Fire — Capital Can Bear Heavy Strain —
Cities Hard to Destroy 299

Great Fires of the Past.

The Chicago Fire — 98,860 People Homeless — How the City
Was Rebuilt— The Great Boston Fire— The Baltimore Fire—
The Fire of London 336

Earthquakes in America.

Earth Tremors of California — Residents Used to Shocks — The
First Big Fire — Sixteen Blocks Burned — Last Previous Earth-
quake — Many Tragedies in Orient 347

Science BafHed by the Phenomena.

No Connection with Vesuvius — Rotation of the Earth — Prof.
Hove/s Views — Prof. Berkey*s Opinion — Many Pacific Shocks
— An Open Question 355



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14 OONTBNTS.

FACE

How Earthquakes Are Recorded.

The Seismograph — Records Shock, But Gives No Warn-
ing — A Superior Type Installed in Weather Bureau —
A Progressive Tilting — Extreme Sensitiveness — Many Uses
for Seismograph 370

California, Land of Gold and Romance.

Name Born in Romance — Franciscans in Control — Before Gold
Was Discovered — The Mexican War — Declared Independent
—"Stars and Stripes" Up— The Discovery of Gold 378

The Vigilance Committee.

Vigilants Begin Work — Make War on Ruffians — Committee's
Victory — Mark Completed — 5,000 Men Relieved From Duty. . 385

Vesuvius, the Chimney of Hell.

Better Precautions Now — Mountain Rent Its Cone — Professor
Perret's Account — Pompeii and Herculaneum — Description by
Pliny— Darker Than Thickest Night — Dangerous and Dreadful
Scene — A Graphic Word-Picture — Eruptions of Vesuvius —
Pompeii an Artistic Quarry — Progress in Recent Years — Great
Theatres of Pompeii— The Cattle Market— The Architecture
of Pompeii 395

Great Earthquakes of History.

Destruction of Sparta, B. C. 464— The Lisbon Tragedy— Fear-
ful Havec of Shock— The Great Rush of the Sea— A City
Perished and Prostrate — Lima and Callao, 1746 — Peru and
Ecuador, 1868 — Krakatoa, 1883 — Japan, 1888 — Guatemala, 1902
— Martinique, 1902 ." 414



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.



PAGE

Ruins of New City Hall, San Francisco 2

The City Hall, San Francisco, Showing Library 19

Ruins of San Francisco— View of the Mission District 20

Fault Lines on Yakutat Bay 25

Elevated Beach and Wave Cut Beach, in Yakutat Bay 25

Japanese Earthquake of 1891 > 26

Effect of the Earthquake on a Brick Building 35

The Mission, San Juan, Capistrano 36

Buildings Partly Destroyed by Earthquake and Fire 45

Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, on April 20th 46

Market Street, San Francisco, After the Fire 55

A Million Dollar Structure in Ruins, Market Street 56

View on Market Street, San Francisco 65

San Francisco After the Fire, Looking Down Market Street 66

San Francisco, Looking Over the Great City, After the Fire 75

The Chronicle Building, Kearney and Market Streets 76

Complete Destruction of Many Dwellings in the Residential Por-
tion of San Francisco 85

Palace of a Railway Magnate, Nob Hill, San Francisco 86

The Crocker Residence, San Francisco 95

Residence on Nob Hill, San Francisco 96

Building Destroyed by the Earthquake i©5

Devastation and Ruin, Comer Howard and Stewart Streets 106

Memorial Court and Arch at Leland Stanford University 115

Arcade at Leland Stanford University 116

Ruins of Memorial Church, Stanford University 125

Birds-Eye View of Leland Stanford University 126

Memorial Church at Leland Stanford University 135

Scene Near the Empire Theatre After the Earthquake 136

Scene in Front of the New Post Office I4S

San Francisco Fire on April 19th, Market and Valencia Streets... 146

The Cliff House, San Francisco, Showing Seal Rocks 155

The Ferry House, San Francisco 156

Refugees in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 165

Scenes on Arrival of First Relief Train at San Francisco 166

IS



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1 6 ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGfi

Victims of San Francisco Horror, Cooking in the Open Street. . 175

Volunteers' Camp at the Presidio Military Reservation 176

A Fish Alley in Chinatown, San Francisco 185

The Bread Line i«6

Union Square, San Francisco, After the Fire I95

Union Square, San Francisco 196

Street Scene After the Shock 205

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, on Music Day 206

The Mission Dolores, Founded October 9th, 1776 215

Crowds in Lafayette Square Watching the Fire 216

The Tivoir Opera House, San Francisco. After the Fire 225

The Phelan Monument, Mason and Market Streets, San Francisco 226

A Street Scene in San Francisco, Overlooking the Bay 235

Ruins of St. Luke's Episcopal Church on Van Ness Avenue 236

Awful Rush of Flames on Market Street 245



Online LibrarySydney TylerSan Francisco's great disaster; a full account of the recent terrible destruction of life and property by earthquake, fire and volcano in California and at Vesuvius .. → online text (page 1 of 25)