Note - This is a recast of a newspaper article of the same title published in
The Sun April 21, 1906, three days after the Visitation came upon San
Francisco. It is here published by special permission of The Sun. For
the title, I am indebted to Franklin Matthews. W.I.
"I'd rather be a busted lamp post on Battery Street, San Francisco,
than the Waldorf-Astoria." - Willie Britt.
The old San Francisco is dead. The gayest, lightest hearted, most
pleasure loving city of the western continent, and in many ways the most
interesting and romantic, is a horde of refugees living among ruins. It
may rebuild; it probably will; but those who have known that peculiar
city by the Golden Gate, have caught its flavor of the Arabian Nights,
feel that it can never be the same. It is as though a pretty, frivolous
woman had passed through a great tragedy. She survives, but she is
sobered and different. If it rises out of the ashes it must be a modern
city, much like other cities and without its old atmosphere.
San Francisco lay on a series of hills and the lowlands between. These
hills are really the end of the Coast Range of mountains, which stretch
southward between the interior valleys and the Pacific Ocean. Behind it
is the ocean; but the greater part of the town fronts on two sides on
San Francisco Bay, a body of water always tinged with gold from the
great washings of the mountain, usually overhung with a haze, and of
magnificent color changes.