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1868 Damage Photographs

Oakland and East Bay Damage

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“Call” Editorial on Quake Damage

“Call” Editorial Urges Building Height Limit

Fire Chief Urges Care with Fire

Bd. of Supervisor’s Special Earthquake Meeting

Earthquakes and Real Estate Prices

Chamber of Commerce Telegram to the East

How to Act During an Earthquake


In Oakland and vicinity, from the time of the first shock up to half- past four o'clock in the afternoon, there were twenty-six distinct shocks. From the fact that the larger number of the houses in the city of Oakland are built of wood, that city escaped without serious damage. All the brick structures have been injured more or less. Among those which have been damaged, is Boardman's new building in Twelfth street. The fire-wall fell and demolished the awning. Shattuck and Hillegass' brick structure, where is located the Police Court and Council room, was considerably shaken; so much so, that is was not deemed safe to enter the Court room for the transaction of business. Ratcliff's grocery on Eighth street, was made a total wreck inside, all the shelves having fallen. Nearly all the chimneys in town have been thrown down. The chimney of the News office went through the roof into the editorial room. No one was hurt. The only accident reported was sustained by Mrs. Cord, who ran out of her residence, a one-story frame house on Twelfth street, and just passed in front of Boardman's building when the fire-wall fell. One of the falling bricks struck her on the head, inflicting a severe wound.

Immediately after the first shock Mayor Merritt issued an order that a thorough examination of all the chimneys be made before fires were built....The only damage done to the Boys' College and the Girls' College was the falling of the plastering. ....The draw of the railroad bridge leading to San Antonio was thrown out of place, thereby intercepting connection with the regular ferry. Passengers were forced to go by the Creek route....At San Antonio, Brooklyn and Clinton, the shock was felt more severely than at Oakland. At San Antonio, a two- story brick building, owned by Frederick Schimelpfenings, was shaken down....At Clinton, the machinery of the cotton mill was thrown out of gear. The brick buildings in the above-named three places were all more or less damaged.


The new structure in course of construction for the use of the deaf and dumb, situated at the foot-hills near the Telegraph Road, four and a half miles from Oakland, was greatly damaged. About one-third of the front wall was shaken down, and also the greater portion of one of the side walls. The chimneys were all shaken down, and the building was badly strained. What remains of the two walls mention, with have to be taken down and rebuilt. The building was constructed of stone, and was claimed to be one of the strongest and best built houses in the State. It is estimated that it will cost fully $20,000 to repair the damage.

San Leandro


At San Leandro the shock was more sensibly felt than at any other point on that side of the Bay. All the buildings there were terribly shaken, adobes were town to the ground, brick structures, and even frame buildings were demolished. The Court House and County Jail were shaken down. The prisoners were in the cells, in the basement, and when the building fell, the scene which follows may be better imagined than described. Many of the prisoners rent the air with their cries for help, while the others were engaged in prayer, calling on the Almighty to save them from the peril which surrounded them. The keys of the cells, which were in the safe, were after some trouble gotten out, and the prisoners were rescued and taken to the Calaboose in Oakland. Mr. J.W. Jossely, Deputy Clerk, was in the Court room at the time of the shock, and before he could make this escape the building fell, and he was buried amidst the ruins.

Back of San Leandro, in one of the canyons, the ground opened for a distance of over two miles. In some places the fissure is eight feet wide. When the ground opened, an immense cloud of smoke arose, which was followed by water gushing up through the fissure.

San Leandro Creek, which for some time past had been dry, now has a foot and a half of water in it.

In and about San Leandro a number of buildings were damaged.

CENTREVILLE, October 21.–The store of C.J. Stones was utterly destroyed to-day, and goods badly damaged. Store of J. Salez badly shaken and goods damaged very much. Dr. Selfridge's house partly destroyed and child injured. Banker's Hotel settled about two feet and badly damaged. At the Mission San Jose, the Church and many other buildings are in ruins. At Alvarado, the brick house of A. J. Lattin entirely destroyed, and the store of J. J. Sacks damaged, with great loss of goods. No lives lost at either place.
San Francisco Morning Call
Thursday, October 22, 1868

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