San Francisco 1906 Earthquake Marriage Project


The St. Louis Brewer Tells of His Adventures in San Francisco.

ST. LOUIS, April 20.A special to The Globe-Democrat from Adolphus Busch, the St. Louis Brewer, dated Sparks, Nev., says:

"I left San Francisco this morning with my family, Henry Nicolaus, and Carl Conrad. The earthquake which shook San Francisco made all frantic, and was undoubtedly the severest ever experienced in the United States. The beautiful Hotel St. Francis swayed from south to north like a tall poplar in a storm. Furniture, even pianos, was overturned, and people were thrown from their beds.

"I quickly summoned my family and friends, and urged them to escape to Jefferson Square, which we promptly did.

"An awful sight met our eyes. Every building was either partly or wholly wrecked, roofs and cornices were falling from skyscrapers on lower houses, crushing, and burying the inmates.

"Fires started in all parts of the city, the main water pipes burst and flooded the streets. One earthquake followed another. The people became terrified, but all behaved wonderfully calm. Over 100,000 persons are without shelter, camping on the hills. There is no light, water, or food. Fortunately, martial law was declared at once, and the regulars and milita maintained order and discipline. Otherwise more horrors would have occurred, and riots might have prevailed. Then the worst happened.

"The fire spread over three-fourths of the city, and could not be controlled, no water to fight it, no light, and the earth still trembling.

"Building after building was dismantled to check the progress of warring, seething flames, but all of no avail. We were fortunate to secure two conveyances and fled to Nob Hill, from which we witnessed the indescribable drama. Block after block ws devastated. The fires blazed like volcanoes, and all business houses, hotels, theatres, in fact, the entire business portion, lay in ruins, and two-thirds of the residences; but I trust 'Frisco will rise a phoenix from its ashes, that a new and more beautiful San Francisco will be born and that the generous American Nation will give it the support and financial assistance it so fully deserves.

"After a night of horrors we boarded the ferry for Oakland, where my private car had been since Tuesday.

"We are now en route home with nothing saved but what is on our backs, but extremely happy at having escaped unharmed.


Source: New York Times, 21 April 1906, page 2.

20 November 2005 | copyright © 2005 Ron Filion and Pamela Storm. All rights reserved.