It had been the author's intention to devote a page of this little work to one of the most, if not the most, cosmopolitan of cities in the world. But the hand of fate was upon the city of the "pioneers of '49." Every one who had visited delightful, debonair San Francisco loved it, and its double disaster made many, all the world over, sick at heart — as though a dear friend had received a severe injury.
On Wednesday, April 18, 1906, at 5.13 A.M., Pacific time, a severe earthquake shook the city. Still, the apparent damage was not great ; the tall steel buildings had stood the strain, and business went on as usual at the Palace Hotel, which had vindicated the proud boast of its being earthquake-proof. But the great damage done by the earthquake was the unseen — the water- mains were broken, and the fires that were bursting out everywhere in the city were unchecked for lack of water.
For three days the fires raged, until the heart of the city, comprising about one-sixth of the total area, was destroyed. The western addition was only saved by the strenuous use of dynamite. Up Market Street swept the flames, gutting the Palace Hotel, the "Call" and " Chronicle" Buildings, and utterly destroying the seven- million-dollar City Hall, Chinatown, and the palatial residences on Nobs Hill — only to stop on the eastern side of Van Ness Avenue.
The Mint, containing two hundred million dollars, was saved by the heroic efforts of its officials and of men assisting. The United States Appraisers Building and Montgomery Block were saved, and the Calvary Presbyterian Church suffered no damage from the double disaster; but what pleases San Francisco most is that the old Mission, erected to the glory of God and in honor of San Francis d'Assisi, still stands, unshaken and serene, an assurance that the foundations of San Francisco are to endure, but with better facilities for combating that arch enemy of man, — fire. The wonderful Bosch-Omori seismograph recorded the earthquake in Tokio, Japan, within eleven and one-half minutes, and in Europe within twenty minutes, from the time of its occurrence.