The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire eBook

Charles W. Morris
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire.

The destruction of Santa Rosa gave rise to general sorrow among the residents of the interior of the State.  It was one of the show towns of California, and not only one of the most prosperous cities in the fine county of Sonoma, but one of the most picturesque in the State.  Surrounding it there were miles of orchards, vineyards and corn fields.  The beautiful drives of the city were adorned with bowers of roses, which everywhere were seen growing about the homes of the people.  In its vicinity are the famous gardens of Luther Burbank, the “California wizard,” but these fortunately escaped injury.

At San Jose, another very beautiful city of over 20,000 population, not a single brick or stone building of two stories or over was left standing.  Among those wrecked were the Hall of justice, just completed at a cost of $300,000; the new High School, the Presbyterian Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Numbers of people were caught in the ruins and maimed or killed.  The death list appears to have been small, but the property damage was not less than $5,000,000.  The Agnew State Insane Asylum, in the vicinity of San Jose, was entirely destroyed, more than half the inmates being killed or injured.


The Leland Stanford, Jr., University, at Palo Alto (about thirty miles south of San Francisco), felt the full force of the earthquake and was badly wrecked.  Only two lives were lost as a result of the earthquake, one of a student, the other of a fireman, but eight students were injured more or less seriously.  The damage to the buildings is estimated by President Jordan to amount to about $4,000,000.

The memorial church, with its twelve marble figures of the apostles, each weighing two tons, was badly injured by the fall of its Gothic spire, which crashed through the roof and demolished much of the interior; the great entrance archway was split in twain and wrecked; so, too, were the library, the gymnasium and the power house.  A number of other buildings in the outer quadrangle and some of the small workshops were seriously damaged.

Encina Hall and the inner quadrangle were practically uninjured, and the bulk of the books, collections and apparatus escaped damage.

Sacramento, together with all the smaller cities and towns that dot the great Sacramento Valley for a distance fifty miles south and 150 miles north of the capital, escaped without injury, not a single pane of glass being broken or a brick displaced in Sacramento and no injury done in the other places, they lying eastward of the seat of serious earthquake activity.

Los Angeles and Santa Barbara escaped with a slight trembling; Stockton, 103 miles north of San Francisco, felt a severe shock and the Santa Fe bridge over the San Joaquin River at this point settled several inches.  The only place in Southern California that suffered was Brawley, a small town lying 120 miles south of Los Angeles, about 100 buildings in the town and the surrounding valley being injured, though none of them were destroyed.

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The San Francisco calamity by earthquake and fire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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