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Great Fires: 1906 Great Earthquake & Fire

LA Herald Articles - Part 1
1906 Great Earthquake & Fire


Special to The Herald.
SAN DIEGO, Cal. April 18.— San Diego has many residents In San Francisco and the fact that not a line can be heard from any of them is causing no small amount of worry and anguish In this city tonight though some consolation is to be had from the report that the guests were able to leave the big hotels after the shock of earthquake and before the fire commenced.

Chairman L. A. Wright of the Republican county central committee, E. S. Babcock, president of the Los Angeles-San Diego Beach railway; Mrs. Babcock, H. E. Doolittle. attorney; Miss Clara Ingle, Dr. R. M. Powers, former president of the gas and electric company and James Gillmore, real estate man, are supposed to have been at the Palace last night.

E. T. Blackmer, well known in the Masonic councils of the state, was supposed to be at the California.

Former Exalted Ruler F. S. Banks of the local Elks was at the St. Francis.

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Alken, who were married here on Monday, the bride being Miss Clara M. Cooley, were to have reached the Palace Tuesday evening to remain for a day before going to their home in Alameda.

Gerald Baldwin and wife, another bridal couple, were to have been at the Ramona last night and intended to start home.

Mayor Schon and the chamber of commerce sent messages to Mayor Schmitz and to the San Francisco C. C. C. and plans are already on foot for efforts to aid the sufferers.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 201, 19 April 1906 — THINK GUESTS LEFT HOTELS . IN SAFETY [CHAPTER]

1906 April 19
The Herald's staff correspondent at San Francisco wires the following description of the street scenes:

Following the last severe shock coming as it did at a time when the crowds on the streets were already In a panic, it would be impossible to describe the scene.

Men, women and children cried aloud. Others shrieked as though their senses had suddenly left them.

With each succeeding shock, whether than of an earthquake or caused by the large amounts of dynamite discharged in wrecking buildings to prevent the spread of flames, the panic grew in proportions.

Fissures were opened up in the streets several feet wide and as men and women gazed into their depths many fainted from the terrible scenes which confronted them.

Buildings fell by the hundreds

Great, seething (lames leaped and roared, while volumes of smoke rolled out from burning structures.
Rich and poor alike stood aghast. Men of millions attempted to save laborers and their families, and vice versa. All were, for the moment, reduced to the game ranks.

Here and there a father looked in vain for a son or daughter, or both. Members of other families also looked In vane for parents who had been entombed alive in tottering buildings or burned alive In doomed structures from which they could not escape.

No one thought of anything but the terrible disaster.

Early In the day every semblance of business stopped.

All stores and saloons closed.

As still other shocks arrived and still other buildings were hurled to the ground or were quickly consumed by flames, groups of terror-stricken people looked In vain for an avenue of escape.

To the right, to the left— whether they looked, east, west, north or south —burning buildings and ruined homes and business houses confronted them.

To leave the city by rail or boat was, of course, impossible, but to desert friends and dear ones, when perhaps they might be saved by further heroic efforts, could not and was not thought of by the stricken thousands.

No one will ever be able to picture the disaster.

No one has ever before seen such terrible, maddening sights.

Many will attempt to describe It today, tomorrow and for months and years to come. but the horrors of this city on the I8th day of April, 1906, and the night and still other days and night which followed, will never be accurately described.

In brief, such a feat is Impossible.

There have been many fires and many earthquakes, but only one San Francisco disaster has ever been recorded — the one of yesterday.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 201, 19 April 1906 — STREET SCENES ARE BEYOND ALL DESCRIPTION [CHAPTER]


Men and Women, Rich and Poor, Old and Young; Unfortunates Who Have Suffered the Tortures of Hell
Crowding the Streets of Aristocratic Oakland

Practically Every Man, Woman and Child Is Left Homeless, and Desolation Is Indescribable

Special to The Herald. OAKLAND, April 19.— The streets of Oakland tonight are thronged. Fifty thousand people are here already and every boat that lands here brings its crowds.

There is nothing left undone to make the refugees as comfortable as possible and every house that has a room or nook to spare is opened wide.

On the doorways of houses people sink down in sleep when once they realize that they are safe. The parks are crowded and tents have sprung up like mushrooms. People of all nations are assembled here and every effort is being made that looks toward their comfort.

The water front is crowded. There are many who, since coming here, have found their loved ones missing and they besiege each boat that leaves for the destroyed city for passage. The work, of rescue, goes on with unabated zeal. No thought of ceasing is contemplated until the last man or woman has been taken from the maelstrom that rages across the bay. The water front here is bare, seared clean by flames. The fires have died and families camp as best they can. There is constant shift of people to and fro. And there is hunger here, the hunger which makes weary women forget their weariness when they look at their children crying for bread.

Every place has its wreckage. Clothing of all sorts, and all the smaller household furnishings, is strewn around. Every place that makes a shelter for a man or woman is occupied. The houses are all filled. Up the streets that lead from the Oakland Mole are processions that warder on and on; not knowing where they go; not caring where: they go, but crying for a relief from peril that has palled them, for two days.

Wagons of all sorts are pressed into service. Chinese fairly swarm, making for the open, not caring where they go except that it be in the fields where there are trees instead of smoldering ruins. Homeless dogs and cats, former household pets that have escaped the ruin, can be seen every where. There is food famine here even now and what the morning will disclose no one can tell. There is a general expectancy: that supplies from Los Angeles will arrive early.

There is no such thing as sleep here tonight, save for those who have reached their limit of endurance and fall asleep even as they walk and lie like logs upon the ground where they have fallen. Oakland is doing all it can. Los Angeles and other cities must help and help at once.
SOURCE: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 202, 20 April 1906 — SAN FRANCISCO IS DEVASTATED [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION]


Death List Is Appalling, but at This Hour It Is Impossible to Secure More Than a Few Names

(By Herald Staff Correspondent.)
SAN FRANCISCO, April 19, — The horrors of the street scenes and the terrible suffering occasioned by the absence of water, can, perhaps, be Imagined by reading this statement When a small stream of dirty water spurted up through the cobble atones and formed a muddy pool at the corner of Powell and Market streets hundreds of men, women, rich and poor, old and young, knelt and drank to quench their terrible thirst. This la but one Instance — there were many similar In every fray.

Water! Water! Water!
It was the cry of the firemen.
It was the cry of the thousands, yes, two hundred thousand people who were compelled to remain In the doomed city for the time being. Imagine the horror If you can!

Special to The Herald.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19.— San Francisco tonight Is the city desolate. It seems that the some of Its misery was reached at dusk when flames burst from all sides of the beautiful Hotel Falrmount, the palace that above every structure was apparently most strongly entrenched against the attack of all consuming fire. And surrounding the lofty pinnacle of flame as far as the eye could see to the south and east and far out to the west lay In cruel, fantastic heaps, charred and smoking, all that remained 1 of a, prosperous city. . The metropolis of the western slope was in ashes.

This has been another day of an uneven struggle of man against the unconquerable element of nature. Acre j after has been ground into dust and ashes despite the heroic perseverance of the firemen to limit the conflagration. Tonight there Is a hope that the worst has been nearly reached and that when tomorrow dawns the end will have come, but the hope is faint indeed. If the flames can be barred In their devastation of the western addition, then finis will be written to the great disaster.

But San Francisco Is not discouraged. Its best and highest class has already begun to plan for restoration and to care for the stricken ones, and relief will be immediate and effective. Total subscriptions of $180,000 were announced. Arrangements were made for the Immediate relief of the needy.

The baking of 60,000 loaves of bread daily will begin tomorrow. Free transportation will be provided by the Southern Pacific to persons desiring to go to interior points. Major McKeever was appointed commandant of the camps of the homeless. It was announced that tomorrow there would begin a daily delivery into the city of 10,000,000 gallons of water. Tonight for the first time direct telegraphic communication was re-established between San Francisco and the outside world, and this message had the honor of being the first to be sent. By the most energetic efforts In the face of great obstacles the Postal Telegraph company succeeded in restoring one at its shattered lines, and its managers are hopeful of bringing back its service to the normal plane In a day or two.

The Postal office tonight Is located in a little wooden structure erected on piles at the water front shore. Tonight three distinct fires were burning. One was on that portion that extends from Nob Hill down easterly to the water front. It was traveling slowly north toward the Telegraph Hill section and may die out from lack of material or may again sweep toward the extreme water front. The second center was in the Mission district. Here the fire had reached Eighteenth street but was making little headway toward the hillsides to the west, where thousands of people are camped. The third and most dangerous fire is that the western addition. This is really a continuation of the Nob Hill fire. It is wedge shaped with the apex pushing forward.

This Is the point against which the firemen are bending their greatest efforts. Dynamite was used for back firing purposes with only fair success. Tonight many blocks may be blown up. Chief of Police Dlnan said he thought 250 would fully cover the number of deaths. He found it Impossible to secure details. About fifty bodies have thus far been found. There was considerable shooting of looters today, but the offenders were fortunate enough to escape with wounds.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 202, 20 April 1906 — SAN FRANCISCO IS DEVASTATED ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION

OAKLAND, April 19.— A terrible landslide occurred on Loma Prleta mountain, ten miles above Soqueli. Nine men were buried alive in their cabins at the Hinckley creek mill of the Loma Prleta Lumber company. The slide came down one side of the canyon and swept over to the other side, returning to bury the sawmill and the cabins in 600 feet of dirt.

A landslide occurred at Deer creek mill, just above Boulder creek, John Hannah and James Franklin being caught in their cabins and killed.

This afternoon at 4 o'clock water was obtained in the central fire district to the great joy of the firemen, and It was then thought that there was a good fighting chance to check the flames on the eastern side of Van-Ness avenue.

At 10 o'clock this morning the fire had reached Van Ness and Sutter. The big power house at Sutter and Polk street was dynamited, and this somewhat stayed the progress of the fire, but it swept across the street and the McNutt hospital was then blown up.

Then the big St. Dunstan apartment house was demolished with explosives. While the firemen ware fighting with dynamite the steeple of St. Mary's cathedral, a Roman Catholic edifice which had withstood the earthquake shock, caught fire. A fireman with a hose tied to his belt scaled the steeple and played a stream on the burning section and the blaze was extinguished.

Thousands of people cheered the heroic deed and the handsome building was saved.

At 9 o'clock tonight the fire on the easterly slope of Nob Hill was eating its way toward Telegraph Hill. A stream of salt water was being pumped from the bay through a hose one mile long to quench the progress of the conflagration, but it seemed that North Beach, like the greater portion of the city was doomed to destruction. William F. Herrin of the Southern Pacific company said tonight that in San Jose, a large number of buildings had been demolished but the city as a whole was In good condition.

The Conreid Opera company in its entire left for New York on tonight's Overland after having played two nights here. All the costumes and properties of the company have been destroyed and all of the individual members have suffered heavy personal losses.

There Is a great shortage In the bread supply in the city. A panic took place this afternoon at the California street bakery and the police took possession of the premises and it will be operated under municipal control.

While the heroic fire fighters were making their last stand at the fire line on Van Ness avenue panic reigned among the survivors in other parts of the city.

The intense heat and the absence of water have added to the horror and the strain since the beginning of the terrible calamity has been so unseemly terrible that scores have become frantic and others have dropped from exhaustion In the streets.

REFUGEES FILL STREETS. The streets are still choked with refugees hurrying hither and thither, scrambling wildly for an avenue of escape. Since early morning when the great rush of flames doomed. the hotel find apartment house districts along Ellis, O'Farrell and Sutter streets, men, women and children have been rushing or staggering under heavy loads of luggage.

Some to the ferries at the water front in the hope of getting to Oakland and the east side of the bay; others to the hills, Golden Gate park, the ocean beach, the Presidio and San Mateo way.

The trip to the hills and to the water front was one of terrible hardship. Famishing women and children and exhausted men were compelled to walk seven miles around the north shore in order to avoid the flames and reach the ferries. Many dropped to the street under the weight of their loads, and willing fathers and husbands, their strength almost gone, strove to pick them up arid urge them forward again.

In the panic many mad things are being done. Even the soldiers are unable in many Instances to prevent men and women made Insane by the misfortune that has engulfed them from rushing Into doomed buildings In the hope of saving valuables from the ruins.

In nearly every Instance such action has resulted in death to those who tried It.

At Larkln and Sutter streets two men weeping and calling for missing loved ones.

Probably 200,000 refugees are struggling to get out of the city, and hourly the task is becoming more difficult as the fire and heat, cut off avenue after avenue. The streets are filled with struggling people, some crying and

Crowding all sidewalks in the threatened are a are hundreds upon hundreds of householders attempting to drag some of their personal effects to places of safety.

In some Instances the men at ropes are dragging trunks tandem style, others have sewing machines strapped the trunks and other articles equally ridiculous.

Again women are rushing for the hills, carrying on their arms only the family cat or a bird cage.

There is no aid for any from outside sources. In the awful scramble for safety the half crazed survivors disregard everything but thought of themselves.

In every excavation and hole throughout the North Beach householders are burying household effects, throwing them Into the ditches and covering the holes. Attempts are made to mark the graves of the property so that it can be recovered after the names are appeased.

The lack of water throughout the burned area, together with the Intense heat and the total absence of food, has driven people desperate, and innocent victims of the catastrophe that has visited the great city are places invading what few buildings remain in the hope of finding something to eat.

They only desist when warned or shot by soldiers.

A crowd of a thousand people were gathered at the ferry building begging for food and transportation across the bay.

Hundreds had not even the 10-cent fare to Oakland. Most of the refugees at this point were Chinese and Italians who had fled from their burned tenements with little or no personal property. Suffering Is extreme tonight the suffering to many from hunger Is extreme. On the water front what, bread that Is to be had Is being sold for a dollar a loaf and in some instances at a much higher price.

At 5 o'clock a crowd of a hundred or more people mobbed a bread wagon and took the contents. The police made an attempt to interfere but were powerless. Bread Is beginning to arrive from Berkeley and Oakland and is being distributed in the north end of the town by the relief parties organized by Mayor Schmitz.

Thousands of people are sleeping on the hills tonight or standing, gazing with grim faces on the lurid scene below them.

Women and children and little babes in arms are huddled together, with the injured. In Golden Gate park the people are crowded together with gnawing hunger the companion of all The wail of the Injured and the calls of frantic survivors, for friends and relatives who are missing are most pitiful. These crowds are constantly Increasing and the relief committees are doing all In their power to get bedding and food for the homeless.

Oakland and Berkeley are short of food and In a few days will themselves be facing a serious shortage unless relief comes from the outside.

Expressmen are charging from ten to fifty dollars to haul a load of baggage or give any aid at all to refugees. Liquor stores in the north end were broken into by thieves and hundreds of men were carrying away the bottled liquors when the soldiers arrived. The men had to be clubbed by the militiamen before they would drop the bottles. Soldiers smashed the bottles on the stones and drove the mob at the point of bayonet.

When the mansions on Nob Hill, the Fairmount and Mark Hopkins institute were approached by the flames today many attempts were made to remove some of the priceless works of art from the buildings. A crowd of soldiers were sent to the Flood and Huntington mansions and Mark Hopkins Institute of Art to rescue the paintings from the Huntington home and the Flood mansion. Canvases were cut from the frames with knives. The collections in the three buildings are valued in the hundreds of thousands. Very low were paved from the ravages' of the fire fiend.

This afternoon at 4 o'clock the cadets of the University of California to the number of 500 entered the city to aid the militia and regular soldiers In their work of enforcing martial law.

The young college men have orders to shoot without warning those caught looting. In many parts of town where the crowds of survivors are the wildest it Is almost impossible to get around save fit pistol point. The soldiers are disarming every person seen with a weapon.

The only institution on Market street able to do business Is, according to a reputable business man who reached the ferry late tonight, the Market Street bank occupying the floor of the Grant building at Seventh and Market Streets.

Although the upper part of this building and every building near this was wiped out, the space occupied by the bank was practically undamaged. A sign posted in the window stated that the bank would be open for business as soon as it was considered safe. The greatest suffering among the thousands of homeless people today was from thirst.

Although the earthquake shock had broken water mains In probably hundreds of places, strange to say no water, or very little at least, appeared on the surface of the ground. Sky

At 11:30 tonight the flames were slowly but steadily moving on the sections of the city still untouched. The sky in all directions presented a lurid picture. The strongest fire tonight seemed to be In the western end of the city, while the volume of flame in the Mission district would indicate that the conflagration was less severe than during the day.

The steady booming of the artillery and the roar of the dynamite above the howl and cracking of the flames continues with monotonous and dazing regularity.

Such noises have been bombarding the ears of the panic stricken populace since the earthquake of forty-eight hours ago.

They have ceased to heed the sound and rush pell mell, drowning their senses In a bedlam of their own creation. There seemed to be an irresistible power behind the flames that even the desperately heroic measures being taken at Van Ness avenue could not stay.

Extending along the water front, It Is the only means of access to the ferries. It Is the one highway along which the rich and poor, old and young, with their bedding and worldly possessions tied up In every sort of odd package are making their way.

The scene beggars description and the pen of a Hugo or Tolstol would be unequal to give an adequate Idea of It.

And, oh! The loss of It! Awful desolation and waste of what men In this world set great store by!

The loss is untold and the effects will be far-reaching. The insurance companies are threatened with a loss probthe (sic) top of the proud Nob Hill, Chicago.

Viewing the smoldering ruins from the top of the only proud Nob Hill, with its mansions. Its gardens and its statue's, one gets a faint realization of how terrible a monster Nero must have been to be able to fiddle while Rome burned.

And the fire is still raging. At 6 o'clock It Is burning with unrestrained fury. And the entire western addition is threatened. One final stand is being made at Van Ness avenue and O'FarrelI street. The old guard at Waterloo, begrimed with powder and driven back at a hundred points, made no more noble effort at the dusk of that terrible day than the remainder of the San Francisco fire department as it drew up to receive the onslaught of the wall of fire.

ENGINEER MAKES REPLY The reply of the dazzled engineer standing at the corner of Van Ness and O'Farrell street beside a blackened engine may not have been as terse, expressive and pointed as Hugo's captain of the guards at Waterloo, but the pathos of it could have been no greater. In answer to the writer's queries a to what he proposed to do he said: "We are waiting for it to come. When It gets here we will make one more stand. If it crosses Van Ness avenue the city Is gone.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 202, 20 April 1906 — SAN FRANCISCO IS DEVASTATED [ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION

SAN FRANCISCO, April 19.— With each succeeding hour the devastation and destruction in this stricken and prostrate ruin of a city grows and grows.

At 6 o'clock tonight it seemed as if nothing could save the comparatively small portion of the city that yet remains unburned.

The entire business and wholesale district Is now only a glowing furnace, while the giant tongues of fire have reached westward far beyond Van Ness avenue and are wiping out buildings and seeking more to devour.

At 4 o'clock Mayor Schmitz and Chief Dinan saw that the only hope of saving the western addition with Its forest of frame dwellings and the Richmond district with Its thousands of homes, was to check the cruel march of the wall of fire at Van Ness, which crosses the city from north to south where the retail store and fine apartment house district ends and where the smaller -residences begin,

This avenue is ninety feet wide and the possibilities of checking the march of the ■ flames here looked 'hopeful to those who were fighting ways and means In the hour of awful horror,

The orders were given to concentrate every fire engine In the city at this avenue, to marshal troops of soldiers there, the police and all the army of workers and make one last determined stand to save the remainder of the city:

The co-operation of the artillery was secured and huge cannon were drawn to the avenue by madly dashing horses to aid the dynamiters In blowing up the mansions of the millionaires on the west side of Van Ness in order to prevent the flames leaping across the highway and starting on their unrestrained sweep across the western addition.

Every available pound of dynamite was hauled to the spot and the sight was one of stupendous and appalling havoc as. the cannon were trained- on the palaces and the shot tore Into the walls and toppled the buildings In crashing ruin.

At other points dynamite was used and house after house destroyed dwellings worth millions were lifted into the air by the power of the bellowing blast and dropped to the earth a mass of dust and debris.

The work was necessarily dangerous and many of the exhausted workers kept going and working through a stretch of 48 hours without sleep and scarcely any food through force of Instinctive heroism alone, may have been killed while making this last desperate stand.

Many of the workers In placing the blasts took chances that spelled Injury or death.

The fire line at 6 o'clock extends a mile along the east side of Van Ness avenue from Pacific street to Ellis.

All behind this, excepting the Russian Hill region and a small district along the North Beach, has been swept clean by the flames and great steel hulks of buildings and pipes and shafts and spires have been dropped into the molten mass of debris like so . much melted wax.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 202, 20 April 1906 — SAN FRANCISCO IS DEVASTATED ARTICLE+ILLUSTRATION

By Associated! Preps
OAKLAND, April 20.— Governor Pardee has been an untiring worker in the interests of the sufferers from the earthquake and fire in San Francisco.

He came on a forced run to this city on the night of the earthquake and has since been working almost every hour in the office of Mayor Mott In the city hall.

He has sent hundreds of telegrams to mayors of towns throughout the west informing them of the loss which San Francisco has sustained and the needs of people for food and shelter which would have to be supplied. He has also replied to hundreds of telegrams asking for information on the subject and proffering assistance.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — GOVERNOR PARDEE PROVES UNTIRING IN HIS EFFORTS [CHAPTER]

1906 April 21
Following the shock of horror from the catastrophe at San Francisco comes a feeling of thankfulness that the loss of life Is far less than was apprehended. Early reports led to the belief that some thousands of persons had perished. That was a natural expectation from the havoc of the earthquake In the most thickly peopled portion of the city. The wide area of such destruction and the subsequent sweeping of the city by fire fully justified the early estimates of loss of life.

But the most reliable estimates now obtainable make the fatalities astonishingly light. The chief of police, who probably is best qualified to hazard an opinion, says he "thinks the loss of life will not exceed 250." He admits, however, that "an accurate estimate is not obtainable." Other conservative judges mark somewhat higher figures, reaching up to double the estimate of the chief. All present figures of the kind are liable to wide variation from the correct ones, when finally obtained, but with due allowance for errors the disaster loses much of its horror in the prospect of far fewer fatalities than were expected.

With this sense of relief the great weight of the calamity seems somewhat lightened. It Is appalling in all us aspects, of course, but it is not the greatest of American catastrophes, as was feared at first.

It is the loss of life, not of property, that stirs mankind to the depths. Measured by that standard the San Francisco calamity falls far below the level of other calamitous visitations that have occurred in our c6untry within quite recent years. It does not nearly approach the loss of life caused by the breaking of a dam at Johnstown, Pa., some years ago, nor that of the more recent great tidal wave at Galveston. Nor does it equal—assuming that the low estimates are approximately correct— the fatalities caused by either the destruction of the Iroquois theater in Chicago or the burning of the steamer Slocum at New York.

Property losses may be regained, but a life lost is gone forever. The two are not comparable. San Francisco will rise from its ashes, stronger and more prosperous than before its awful chastening, but the marks of its human sacrifices never can be effaced from the memory of the community.

Even In the depth of its woe, therefore, San Francisco has cause to be grateful that Azrael was comparatively merciful.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — RELATIVELY SMALL LIFE LOSS [ARTICLE]

1906 April 21
In the financial aspects of San Francisco's situation the most important matter is the question of fire insurance. If the face value of all policies were recoverable from the insurance companies there would be compensation for a large part of the destruction to property. But a fire Insurance policy does not cover, of course, loss caused solely by earthquake havoc. It does cover, however, any loss from fire that may have originated from an earthquake. Experts in New York are reported as stating the situation thus:

"Whether the fire Insurance companies are to be heavy, losers depends upon how the fires in San Francisco following the earthquakes prove to have originated. If any building fell, before It took fire, the companies carrying risks are not responsible for the loss. If any building took fire from an adjoining building, the companies are responsible for losses on the latter structure, if Insured."

An interminable tangle of interests can be foreseen in this situation unless some comprehensive system of adjustment Is practicable. In the many thousands of buildings destroyed, how will It be possible to reach such conclusions as are called for in the foregoing opinion? Where can the line of responsibility between earthquake and fire be drawn, at least in a large majority of cases?

It is to be hoped, however, that an equitable adjustment may be effected between. the companies and the policy holders, and that the infusion of insurance money may soon be perceptible in the restoration of San Francisco.

Incidentally, weren't those owl cars pretty fine while they lasted ? Why not keep up the good work?
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — AN INSURANCE TANGLE [ARTICLE]


1906 April 21
Members of the state legislature from Southern California met at the office of Senator Pendleton yesterday and passed the following resolutions:

Whereas, a great calamity has befallen not only our sister city San Francisco, but the whole state of California, by the visitation of a terrible earthquake and subsequent destruction of life and property by fire, and

Whereas, the people of Southern California deeply sympathize with her neighbors of the north in this, their great sorrow and distress, and are unanimous in the sentiment that every aid and assistance should be immediately extended to them by the proper state authorities;

Now, therefore, be it resolved, that we, the members of the legislature of the state of California, recommend that the governor of this state call an extraordinary session of the legislature for the purpose of relieving the 'suffering and destitute' and also to provide ways and means for protecting the state's property and rendering such aid as may be in their power for the rebuilding of our great metropolis and sister cities.

It was also resolved that in the event that a special session is called by the governor, the delegation from Southern California should go to San Francisco in advance of the assembling of the legislature and should make a report on the conditions there obtaining to the body assembled. Another resolution was passed to the effect that if the session Is called no more attaches should be appointed than are actually necessary to (he economical transaction of the business to be considered.

At the meeting of the Southern California legislative delegation there w>.e present Senators Hahn, Savage and Pendleton, Representatives Transus. Goodrich, Johnstone, Wickersham; Houser and Thompson of Los Angeles county, Representative Amerlge from Orange county and Representative Espey of Alameda county.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — WANT EXTRA SESSION CALLED AT ONCE [ARTICLE]


1906 April 21
Frank A. Garbutt, who arrived from the scene of the disaster yesterday morning, was the victim of circumstances, which prior to their unraveling had anything but a quieting effect upon his frame of mind.

At the time of the calamity Mr. Garbutt was inspecting properties near the Tesla coal mines, about one hundred miles south of San Francisco. Simultaneously with the news of the northern horror came word that Los Angeles had also been destroyed. Mr. Garbutt's wife was in San Francisco and the remainder of his family in Los Angeles.

Securing a saddle horse Mr. Garbutt rode into Tesla, a distance of fifteen miles. From that place he traveled by team to Livermore, a distance of eighteen miles. An automobile was rushed into service at Livermore and progress made to Haywards. Along the route the people appeared terror stricken, although damage was noticeable beyond a few broken windows.

From Haywards the electric cars carried passengers as far as Avenue Twenty-three, Oakland. A launch was chartered at the Broadway wharf and Mr. Garbutt reached the San Francisco ferry house. No cars were running but an expressman volunteered his services for a nominal sum and carried the Angeleno to his wife, at the corner of Pierce and Clay streets.

Mr. Garbutt, In regard to the calamity, said:

"No one will ever be able to picture the desolation that exists. The property loss cannot be exaggerated. My opinion is that the loss of life will amount to 2000, and not to exceed 5000.

"The federal troops are acting superbly. They are preserving remarkable order. Everyone and every thing Is being pressed into service. The day following the earthquake I saw two women in an auto being driven through the streets by a chauffeur. Two soldiers sopped the machine, pinned a star on the chauffeur, and ordered the women to alight. They then directed the chauffeur to proceed according to their directions, leaving the women in amazement by the curb.

"The earthquake itself would not have been such a great calamity had it not been for the fire. The strongly built buildings were not much disturbed and easily withstood the shock. It was the poorer class of structures that fell.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — HAS WILD RIDE TO WIFE'S SIDE [ARTICLE]


By Associated Press. WASHINGTON, April 20.— The treasury department has so far failed to locate the assistant treasurer or deputy at San Francisco, and grave tears are entertained that they have lost their lives. The only person connected With the sub-treasury who has been heard from is J. F. McClure, an assistant bookkeeper. He has wired Secretary Shaw from Oakland under yesterday's date as follows:

"San Francisco completely destroyed by fire following earthquake. Sub--treasury burned yesterday afternoon. Vaults appear intact. Found no guards. Finally communicated with Genera! Funston and secured detail of one company of soldiers.

"Unable to locate assistant treasurer and therefore acted on own responsibility. Chaotic conditions. Mint building and vaults safe". Please arrange with secretary of war for military protection to treasury vault." Secretary Shaw has wired the superintendent of the mint and also General Funston for Information as to what, If any, national or private banks are In a position to do business and to suggest means of relief.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — TREASURY BURNS; GOLD IS INTACT [ARTICLE]


1906 April 21
F. K. Quin, a shoe manufacturer of New York city, was one of the sufferers. He said:

"I was in bed at the Lick house when the first shock came Wednesday morning. Although I was not thrown from my bed by the force of the earthquake, I was shaken severely. I dressed as quickly as possible and hurried out of the hotel. As I was going down the stairs a portion of the walls fell and my leg was injured. As soon as I could I went over to Oakland, where I have been for the last two days.

"It is impossible to exaggerate the damage done by the fire in San Francisco. If fire had not followed the earthquake the loss of life and property would not have been the tenth part of what it now is.

"There is not one of the prominent hotels left standing in the city of San Francisco and the entire city looks as if some tremendous force had trampled it into the ground. It was reported that Caruso was missing, but I had dinner at the same table with him yesterday evening and I saw him leave for the east. None of the members of the Conreid opera company are injured so far as I could learn.

"I do not believe the loss of life is nearly so great as was reported. False rumors were to be heard everywhere. It was reported that Los Angeles had been swept off the map by a wall of water from the ocean. We also heard that New York and Washington had been destroyed by earthquakes."
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — WILD RUMORS OF OTHER DISASTERS WERE CIRCULATED [CHAPTER]


By Associated Press. SAN FRANCISCO, April 20 (10 p. m.) — A wind of high velocity is blowing from the northwest over the fire stricken districts tonight and the water front Is threatened, cutting off communication with Oakland and Berkeley. General Custer has ordered out a squadron of men to endeavor to keep the flames which threaten the Union ferry depot, the only means of egress from the city, from being destroyed.

The water front emergency hospital is endangered and the officials in charge are preparing to move from their quarters. The wind is of such velocity that brick and granite walls, weakened by the earthquake and the subsequent fire, are falling into the streets. Market street, the principal avenue of escape from the city to the ferry buildings, may be blocked up, thus shutting off practically the only means of escape.
Source: Los Angeles Herald, Volume 33, Number 203, 21 April 1906 — FLAMES THREATEN FERRY BUILDING [ARTICLE]

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