Alameda County, CA Earthquake Damage, Oct 1868



San Francisco, Oct. 23. -- Some details of the destruction of property in the interior of the State by the earthquake of the 21st last, have been received.
Alameda County suffered most. (Alameda County lies on the east side of the bay of San Francisco, and directly opposite the peninsula which includes the County and City of San Francisco.) The damage to property in Alameda extended in all directions. Back of the town of San Leandro (in the northern part of Alameda County), there are numerous fissures in the earth, from some of which issued clouds of dust, and from others volumes of water. San Leandro Creek, which has been dry for months (as is usual at this season of the year), is now a rapidly running stream.
In some places hot water and steam gushed from the ground. The villages of San Leandro and Hayward are almost in ruins. (These villages are fifteen or twenty miles apart.) The brick buildings were all thrown down, and a hundred tenements have been rendered uninhabitable. Numerous wooden structures were much damaged.
At Hayward there is only one building remaining uninjured. The towns of Alameda, Brooklyn and Oakland an suffered severely. The destruction of property in the towns of San Jose and Redwood City was very great. (San Jose, the old capital of the State, is in Santa Clara County, which joins San Francisco on the south.) The brick and adobe buildings in the "Old Mission San Jose," which is some miles east of the town of San Jose, are a mass of ruins.
At Sacramento City, Stockton and Marysville the injuries to the buildings are slight and the losses small.
In the towns of Petaloma, Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Vallejo and Martinez, the full force of the shock was felt; chimneys and fire walls were thrown down, and the damage is considerable. (The localities of some of the towns here mentioned may be described as on a line ranging generally north from the north side of the entrance to the Bay of San Francisco, extending through the coast counties of Marin and Sonora for 100 miles or thereabouts.)
At Los Angeles (say 250 or 300 miles in a direct line, a little east of south of San Francisco), and at Visalla (say 250 miles southeast of San Francisco), the shock was slight, and no damage was done.
The towns of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Watsonville (on the coast south of San Francisco) suffered very little damage.
In the State of Nevada, the shock was scarcely felt.
The Committee of Architects, appointed by the Board of Supervisors. have reported that the City Hall building is damaged and will have to be taken down. Meanwhile the courts and city officials will have to find temporary quarters elsewhere. The other city buildings were not injured to any great extent. The damages to the school-houses prove trifling. The schools will be open as usual on Monday next.
The large building on Recon Point, occupied by the United States Marine Hospital, has been condemned by the proper authorities. (The stability of the foundations of this building were long ago considered injured by excavations in the hill on which it is situated.) The hospital patients are at present encamped on the grounds adjoining the institution. No proper accommodations have as jet been provided for them.
The Custom House is wrecked to such an extent that it will probably not be occupied again. The officers have removed temporarily to Haywood's building, on California Street. An army of laborers are at work today on the shattered buildings and removing the debris from the buildings.
The merchants exhibit no disposition to abandon their property or their locations. Some structures are being taken down entirely, and others are undergoing repairs. A busy scene is presented in the neighborhood of the wrecked buildings.
Some further damage was done by the shock at 2:15 o'clock this morning. Several buildings and some of the chimneys of the several manufactories that suffered considerably by the first shock, will now have to be entirely demolished and rebuilt.
No definite estimate of the damage to property can be made until a proper survey of the entire city has been made. Some estimates place the loss at $500,000, others at $2,000,000; the latter figures are probably nearest to the truth, as quite a number of costly buildings will have to be torn down and reconstructed, and extensive repairs made to many more.

San Francisco, Oct. 24. -- There have been no earthquakes since yesterday morning. The excitement has entirely subsided. The value of real estate is apparently unaffected by the disaster, and work on new buildings seems as promising as before. Men enter into contracts with as little hesitation as ever.

The Sun New York City New York 1868-10-26