Valentine Democrat. (Valentine, Neb.) 1900-1930, April 26, 1906, Image 3

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frightful Seismic Shock
Shatters Half of
the Town.
Water Mains Broken
.and Fire Completes
'Other Cities on the Pacific
Also Stricken by the
Great Disaster.
.Appalling Loss of Life and Mil
lions of Dollars Worth of
Property Destroyed.
$1any New and Costly Skyscrapers
and Big Stores Fall in Heaps
of Debris.
Torn and shattered by the earthQuake -
Quake , which was followed by devas
tating fire , San Francisco is a city of
ruins. Hundreds , perhaps thousands ,
of lives have been snuffed out and mil
lions upon millions of dollars in prop
erty are lost. Where stood its stateli
est buildings are piles of twisted steel
and ruined stone. The homes of many
"families were wrenched into fragments
and the lives they sheltered taken.
The first shock was felt just at dawn
Wednesday , and the disturbances con
tinued for several minutes. The earlier
Swiftly the seismic visitant came
and as swiftly did it go. Behind was
a trail of dead and dying. And after
that the llames ! Nature , that rolled
the earth into waves and struck down
great piles of stone and marble , fur
nished a dismal and dreadful after
math in a tempest of wind. The wine
f-muecl the llames and the flames speed
ily completed the horrifying work of
the earthquake.
Thousands undoubtedly owe their
lives to the early hour at which the
siesmic shocks brought their wide
spread ruin. The district most dam
aged is the business portion of the
town. At the time of the shock 5:13 :
o'clock a. in. these structures practic
ally were deserted , and their collapse
caused comparatively little loss of life
A few hours later and they would have
been veritable human beehives. Then
the disaster would have been some
thing almost beyond the power of the
human mind to grasp.
By the time the earthquake reached
Its destructive period the streets of the
city were crowded with thousands of
terror-stricken persons , who rushed to
and fro and endeavored to keep out of
the way of falling buildings. IIuntK Js
were supposed to have been caught in
the falling debris and crushed to death
or killed later by the fires which sprung
ui > all through the business portion of
the city.
In general it may be said that the
district lying between Market and How
ard streets , from the bay as far west
as the city hall , has been badly wreck
ed. The Call and Examiner Buildings ,
as well as the Western Union Build
ing , have been wrecked. The large de
partment stores in this neighborhood
also were ruined. Farther east on
Market street toward the Ferry Slips ,
is a section occupied by cheap lodging-
houses and hotels and here the loss of
life is reported to be great.
Fire Follows tlic Shock.
Fire followed the crumbling of build
ings along Market street , and the fire
men were powerless to prevent the
spread of the flames. The earthquake
had broken the mains on the big street
and twisted off the side mains , and it
was almost impossible to take steamers
through the debris in the streets. Vol-
oaaaanc anaaDGafc , &
a no a oa n i a'D a a a a m * * .
* & * *
Xstf *
aa n an era a csa eg * < s& *
ancraacia '
" *
aoo3aaa X
DODO ! * -
" TRnn'nn'nr.i
The black line incloses the district in which the earthquake did the greatest
damage the shaded portions of the map show the areas of the big fires in the
skyscraper and wholesale districts.
demonstrations were mild , but as they
-continued the trembling of the earth be
came so violent that the whole popula
tion of the city was disturbed and a
.large proportion turned into the streets.
'The communication with the outside
> rocld quickly was cut off.
unteers brought supplies of dynamite
and began to blow up the blazing de
bris in a vain effort to confine the con
flagration to the ruined area.
All power in the street car and pri
vate electric lighting plants was cut off.
Wires in tangled masses had been hurl
ed into the streets.
Chicago Tribune.
Near 4th and Stevenson streets the
old red wood buildings made good tin
der for the flames. Fire swept through
the debris of the poorer buildings and
soon got beyond control of the fire fight
ers. Across the street the fire swept ,
licking up the debris in front of the
Winchester rooming house. Fire spread
to the buildings along the west side of
3d street. Desperate efforts were made
with powder , dynamite and other ex
plosives to stop the flames.
One block away the Palace Hotel
was threatened by the sweep of the
flames. With no water to extinguish
the fire , the big hostelry seemed doom
ed. Calls were sent to the Presidio for
soldiers to help save the business dis
trict from being entirely swept by the
conflagration. Powuer , dynamite and
other explosives were tried on the blaz
ing piles of debris.
On Market street merchants stood in
their doors calling loudly for wagons
and offering big sums to the drivers
who would load up with their goods.
Water Front in Flames.
Carried by a strong breeze , the
brands from the Market street fires
landed on the water front and threat
ened the lumber , oil and steamship
docks. On Fremont street one of the
worst fires of the early morning threat
ened to destroy a block in the whole-
ale district. Small fires appeared in
the debris on California and Pine
streets. Soon the flames , unchecked by
water or explosives , gained such head
way that all the wooden buildings as
far as Sansome street were attacked.
A strong westerly wind became
stronger as the morning wore away.
It fanned the several blazes in the
heart of the business district and
threatened to spread the fire through
out a section filled with valuable mer
chandise. As the noon hour drew near
; he flames were spreading in every di
rection , and the destruction by fire bid
fair to eclipse the damage wrought by
the earthquake. The loss of life seems
to have been confined to the poorer dis
tricts and manufacturing territory. On
lower Market street , the main thor
oughfare of the city , block after block
of substantial buildings was destroyed.
The Valencia Hotel , between Seven
teenth and Eighteenth streets , on Va
lencia street , a five-story frame build-
r.g , toppled over Into the street , bury
ing seventy-five people in the debris.
At Eighteenth and Valencia there Is
a crevice in the street six feet wide and
entire sidewalks are torn up. The
street cartracks are badly twisted all
through the southern section of 'the
Davis street , Font street , Battery
street , Sansom , Montgomery , Kearney ,
Spear , Main , Beale and Fremont
streets all were in the area of the
earthquake's greatest fury. Early re
ports indicated that the quaking earth
shook all buildings along these thor
oughfares from their foundations and
piled the debris high.
The cheap tenement house districts
suffered terribly. Old buildings , con
structed in the days of redwood , and
dilapidated and tottering , collapsed
with a succession of roars. Fires ap
peared in the ruins , but the fire fight
ers were almost powerless to extin
guish the flames.
IHs : Building Fall.
The offices of the Postal Telegraph
Company , in the Hobart Building , were
wrecked. The Associated Press Build-
ing at 302 Montgomery street also was
destroyed. The $7,000,000 City Hall
rocked and creaked in the earthquake ,
portions of it collapsing , bringing added
terror to the people who had rushed
into the streets near by.
Scarcely had the people realized the
extent of the great calamity when re
ports began to come in from surround
ing places indicating that the shock had
been disastrous throughout a wide area.
Some experts on seismic disturbances
estimated that a portion of California
100 miles in diameter had come within
the zone of greatest activity.
Night added to the horror , and as
darkness fell the sky was Illuminated
by the brilliant conflagration. There
was no light in the city except the light
that meant the destruction of homes
and the loss of life. The final dying
out of the fires leave only a barren
sand dune dotted with the blackened
ruins of what was a great city.
Ten Square Miles lluriteil.
Ten square miles of the heart of the
city were burned over , the water sup
ply was cut off because of the twisted
and broken mains , and the frantic res
idents , aided by Federal troop * , fought
the flames with dynamite in an effort
to save the remainder of the city from
destruction. The property loss is esti
mated at $200.000.000.
General Funston , in command of the
United States troops at the Presidio ,
declared the city under martial law as
soon as the extent of the horror be
came apparent , and the troops and po
lice worked together to save life , pro
tect property and recover the dead. The
earthquake shock destroyed so many of
the fire engine hoiwes that the depart
ment would have been virtually power
less even had the water supply not
been destroyed.
The saturnalia of crime and looting
which began when the soldiers sacked
the saloons broke out afresh with the
darkness , and unnumbered , untold
crimes were committed on every side.
No historian will ever describe the tor
tures which the homeless suffered ;
none dare attempt to recount the
agonies of those who sought the ruins
of their homes and missing members of
their household : none msiy think of the
woe and doom of those buried beneath
the wreckage or consumed by the re
morseless flames.
Xuinl > cr of Dead Xevcr Known.
It will be many days before the com
plete story of the ruin wrought by the
double calamity of earthquake and fire
that visited San Francisco will be writ
ten and then there will still remain un
told countless tales of pitiful tragedy.
The exact loss of life will never be
known , as hundreds of unfortunates
have been incinerated in the flames
which made the rescue of those buried
under toppling steeples and falling
walls impossible.
Famine in its most terrible form ex
panded through the devastated city and
stricken inhabitants Thursday. Hun
ger , growing into the first stages of
starvation , faced the spent thousands
who slept Wednesday night in the pub
lic square * , or on the bare pavements
of the city's streets. Thirst the most
terrorizing of the torments to follow
the eai'thquake , drove men and women
Vandals caught in the act of robbing
dead bodies were shot without explana
tion and their bodies consigned to the
flames of some burning buildings , with
out any further formality. The sol
diers patrolling the streets were or
dered to kill , forthwith , any person
seen robbing the dead or burglari/.ing
unprotected places of business- . Fully
a score of men were killed under this
The hysteria and terror of the people
were indescribable. The sanest and
most conservative individuals were af
fected , and ran about in a state of ex
citement suggesting madness Some of
them had lost a wife , a mother , or , in
deed , as was true in scores of instances ,
their entire family. Others had seen
their property waste away before their
eyes. First the mysterious attack by
nature from underground , and then the
fearful onslaught of the flames encour
aged by a gale. These persons became
irersponsible. They resisted officers
and would not obey firemen. They in
sisted on rushing into the ruins to
search for the bodies of their dead or
to retrieve valuables Scores of lives
were thrown away through foolhardi-
ness. Then came the thieving prowler
and the ghoul. General Funston was
in receipt of a stream of complaints ,
and under the stress of circumstances ,
rapidly growing desperate , the chief of
the military commanded his men to
shot such offenders on sight.
Berkeley I * Damaged.
Later reports extended the region of
earthquake to the Rocky Mountains and
included much of the Pacific slope in
the area of shocks. At Berkeley where
the State university Is located , there
was a big fire , the result of the earth-
The dead in San Francisco ( esti
mated ) 1,000
The dead , inmates of insane asy
lum at Agnews 275
The dead in San Jose 05
The dead in Santa Rosa 30O
The dead at other points 150
The injured ( estimated ) 3.00O
Estimated property loss. . . $200,000,000
Number of square miles devas
tated 10
Number of city blocks destroyed 1,000
Number of buildings in ruins. .30,000
Number of persons made home
less 150,000
Number of hotels destroyed. . . . 8
New-papers offices in ruins 3
Telegraph and telephone offices
wiped out 3
City placed under martial law.
Oilier I'laee.Stricken. .
Santa Ro a Town practically destroyed >
stroyod : . .00 persons killed and 10,000
made homeless.
San Jo > e Majority of buildings shat
tered and ! . " > persons killed.
Palo Alto All buildings but one of
Lehind Stanford University thrown
down and two persons killed.
Santa Cruz Number of buildings de
molished and many persons reported
Monterey Great damage done to
property and some fatalities.
Gilroy Large property loss.
Agnew State insane asylum demol
ished : 2T. persons killed and patients
rumnnir : 't large.
Iloli'uster Large property loss.
quake. Nevada felt the force of the
quake. All wires west of Reno were
thrown down. From Sacramento came
the report that miles of railroad track
between Suisun and Benecia had sunk
out of sight. Wires were carried with
the riN.
The appalling calamity in San Fran-
5sco places that city in a list of Lisbon ,
Caracas. Naples , and other cities de
vastated by earthquakes. The horrors
of the situation in California are the
greater because San Francisco is a pop
ulous and commercial city. The earth
quake destroyed : it OIK o hundreds of
bus-hio s blocks and thf means of sav
ing others from fire. It paralyzed com
merce , destroyed railways and bridges ,
' * '
' A'S
: S '
- \ yAJ'
exit off'communication with other cit
ies , and desolated the country to the
south and east.
But. as in the case of Galveston ,
there will be quick recovery from what
seems overwhelming disaster. Naples
is a great city in spite of the erup
tions of Vesuvius and in spite of earth
quakes. Tokio , desolated by earth
quakes several times , is the greatest
city of Japan. Chicago is greater be
cause of the fire of 1871. Charleston
is none the worse for the earthquake of
1SSG. And San Francisco will rise su
perior to the great disaster of 190G.
Tent * nnd Ration * for Sufferers.
Prompt action was taken by the War
Department in extending to the earth
quake sufferers of San Francisco all th
available resources at its command to re
lieve the wants of the distressed and t *
provide ehelter for the homeless