Disaster Spreads Over the Golden State
The first news that the world received of the earthquake came direct from San Francisco and was confined largely to descriptions of the disaster which had overwhelmed that city. It was so sudden, so appalling, so tragic in its nature, that for the time being it quite overshadowed the havoc and misery wrought in a number of other California towns of lesser note.
As the truth, however, became gradually sifted out of the tangle of rumors, the horror, instead of being diminished, was vastly increased. It became evident that instead of this being a local catastrophe, the full force of the seismic waves had travelled from Ukiah in the north to Monterey in the south, a distance of about 180 miles, and had made itself felt for a considerable distance from the Pacific westward, wrecking the larger buildings of every town in its path, rending and ruining as it went, and doing millions of dollars worth of damage.
In Santa Rosa, sixty miles to the north of San Francisco, and one of the most beautiful towns of California, practically every building was destroyed or badly damaged. The brick and stone business blocks, together with the public buildings, were thrown down. The Court House, Hall of Records, the Occidental and Santa Rosa Hotels, the Athenaeum Theatre, 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.
In the residential portion of the city the foundations receded from under the houses, badly wrecking about twenty of the largest and damaging every one more or less; and here, as in San Francisco, flames followed the earthquake, breaking out in a dozen different places at once and completing the work of devastation. From the ruins of the fallen houses fifty-eight bodies were taken out and interred during the first few days, and the total of dead and injured was close to a hundred. The money loss at this small city is estimated at $3,000,000.