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Oakland Tribune (Newspaper) - April 7, 1968, Oakland, California
Ave april Fosters 1906 memories there Are still some years to go before All the old timers disappear from the ranks of those who witnessed san Francisco s tragic Dawn of april 18, 1906 when the Earth Shook and flames lashed out Finger lighten the billowing Clouds of smoke Over the City. But the roster of those who re member has thinned considerably during the past 62 years and Many recollections already come from the children and grandchildren of those victimized by that horrible 1906 holocaust. We re certain that one Jack Elbridge Arnold was t around at the time. But Bis Mother was. Jack is the proprietor of fifteenth s t r e e t s popular Fulton lunch in downtown Oakland and it was Over Ham and eggs the other morning that he brought Forth a snapshot of what is said to be the first restaurant to operate in the fire ravaged regions of downtown san Francisco in april 1906. The picture was among other Earth quake photos and mementos held by his Mother Mabel Hope Fenton Arnold who served As a Volunteer nurse in san Francisco during the quake and fire emergency. Nurse Mabel Hope Fenton was the daughter of Elbridge Seth Fen ton founder of Fen tons Creamery in Oakland and a Niece of or. Susan Fenton one of the Early woman doctors of Oakland whose labors As resident physician at Fabiola hos Pital Here resulted in the establish ment of a Susan Fenton Wing at the old Fabiola As Well As for the Susan Fenton Home for children that operated up until Public welfare took Over. On the evening of the third Day of san Francisco s great 1906 conflagration a Gale swept Over the City from the West and fanned glowing embers into flames once again turning the fourth and last Day of the fire into one of dire calamity. By this time Many of the Volunteer fire fighters were exhausted. Nurse Mabel Hope Fenton has de scribed the pre Dawn hours of that fourth and last Day of the fire As a scene of splendid unselfishness. Tired staggering men with Little or no fight left in them would throw themselves on the wet grass in the Parks and fall fast asleep. Women gave up their blankets and walked about covering the exhausted men. The wind turned the fourth Day of fire fighting into what Many de scribed As the most spectacular of flames broke out anew North of Telegraph Hill As a re sult of the Gale and soon the ferry building Only Means of egress photo from Tom collection of Jack Elbrige this might have been san Francisco s first restaurant after the broken bricks and rubble was pushed aside and the smoke cleared from that disastrous 1906 earthquake and fire 62 years ago. From the devastated City was threatened. Fire tugs Drew up along the waterfront and threw streams of Bay water on the advancing fire. Sailors soldiers and men of every description fought Back the racing flames. Buildings throughout the City were being dynamited to halt the conflagration while others were pulled Down by teams of men with ropes and axes. About mid afternoon of the fourth Day the flames were closing in on the Vicinity of old Meiggs wharf. Considerable manpower was focused there. Many buildings collapsed with out warning and now and then someone was killed. In Many in stances whenever a body was found it was buried almost in stantly without formality. Babies were born in most of the refugee Camps set up throughout the unburned area of san Francisco during and after the big fire. Jack Arnold says his Mother told him 15 babies were born in one night in Golden Gate Park alone. She thought it remarkable that both the and their mothers withstood the ordeal continuing to improve and grow Strong. The excitement brought Many infants into the world she told her family. Undoubtedly the resistance of Mother and child to such unusual circumstances was due in great part to the kindness of physicians and nurses at the time. One san Francisco born male child has carried the name Park As his Middle name right Down to our present Day. There is another Story of triplets being born in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park As the Mother was comforted i an express Wagon bumping Over the Brick piles and broken streets. Thirteen More babies were born in that same pan handle area the following night. One baby was born in a wheelbarrow As the Mother was being trundled to the Park by her husband one report relates. Stories of unusual distress Dur continued on Page 22
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