Early in the morning of April 18, 1906, San Francisco was awakened by a severe shock of earthquake which, breaking the electric wires, set fires in many parts of the city. The same shock which set the fires destroyed the means of defense by breaking the watermains, and the city was unprotected against the fury of the flames which raged uncontrolled for three days and nights. Few, if any, of the great fires of the world have equaled it in extent of property damage. Picture a city, rich, substantial, with a beauty and grandeur peculiar to itself, covering hills and valleys, with vast mercantile and manufacturing industries, changed in three days to a pile of broken brick and twisted girders, 2,560 acres of ruins, 28,188 houses destroyed, 275,000 people homeless, $350,000,000 property values wiped out of existence!
It was a time that tried men's souls; and never was American