The municipality was in excellent financial condition to meet and rise above the extraordinary needs of the situation. It had a bonded debt of only $4,245,100, while its realty valuation was $402,127,261 and its personalty $122,258,406. The question of issuing further amounts of bonds was therefore one of the first measures considered by Mayor Schmitz and his co-workers, and an appeal was made to the Federal Government to guarantee the proposed loans, so that the most urgent work which lay in the city’s province could be undertaken at once and without an excessive burden of interest.
The vast insurance loss was divided among 107 companies, and, though only a little more than half the damage was covered by policies, the total swelled toward the colossal sum of $150,000,000. Several of the largest companies were seriously crippled by the disaster and some were forced into liquidation. To the great relief of the entire country, nevertheless, the financial situation was not severely affected, and there was every reason to believe that the great bulk of the insurance would be paid.
The Earthquake Wave Felt Round the Earth.
The outbreak of earth forces at San Francisco did not stand alone. There were others elsewhere at nearly the same time, the whole seeming to indicate a general disturbance in the interior of the earth’s crust. Some scientists, indeed, declared that no possible connection could exist between the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the earthquake at San Francisco, but others were inclined to view certain facts in regard to recent seismic and volcanic activity as, to say the least, suggestive.
As to the actual cause of the California earthquake, the wisest confession we can make is that of ignorance, there being almost as little known as to the origin, period and coming of earthquakes as when Pliny wrote 1,800 years ago. The Roman observer knew that the tremor passed like a wave through the surface of the earth; he knew that it had a given direction, and he knew that certain regions were rife with seismic disturbance. More he could not say, and when this is said all has been said that is known to-day.