DATELINE: Marin County
On Wednesday, April 18, 1906, at 5:12 a.m., the tectonic plates along nearly three hundred miles of the San Andreas Fault slid as much as thirty-two feet in opposite directions. While the story of San Francisco’s near destruction is well known, Marin has her own earthquake tales to tell.
Caught short by its Thursday publication deadline, the Marin Journal devoted a mere three and one-half front-page columns to the smattering of available earthquake news before returning to prepared reporting including an Opera House concert the prior Monday, “one of the most enjoyable affairs ever given.”
Source: Marin Journal (Note the incorrect publication date.)
The worst damage skimmed Marin’s coast following the seismic battleground of the North America and Pacific Plates. In Olema, “nearly every building was shaken off its foundation.” Reporting from Tomales was brief and devastating. “Tomales is a ruin.” The “massive modern stone” Catholic Church “is a pile of rubble.”
The Marin Journal reported fifteen dead, including siblings Anita and Peter Cauzza crushed in their beds.
Their young sister, Corina, died two years later from injuries suffered in the earthquake.
San Rafael “escaped unhurt,” no fires, no wrecked buildings, only a few battered chimneys. The next day, concerned citizens staged a Mass Meeting at the courthouse “for the purpose of making arrangements to care for the people who are flocking in from the stricken metropolis.”
While plans were underway to welcome refugees, Sheriff W. P. Taylor swore in new deputies and collected all available guns to protect the San Rafael from the “drunken, hungry, and famine stricken crowds from San Francisco overrunning” Sausalito.
Rosella Bates received a letter from her sister in San Francisco postmarked April 21, 1906. Annie’s words, scribbled on a scrap of paper, must have moved her sister to tears of relief and fear.
“We are all alive—just alive…the fire is still raging…we may have to move to the sand hills…I set in a chair all night and my children lay on some boards without any covers…I hope we meet again sometime. God have mercy on us all.”
Source: MHM, Donated by Al Whitcomb
The next day, Sheriff Taylor signed a pass for Rosella to search for her sister in the still burning city.
One week after the earthquake, Marin County’s response turned from reaction to action. Sausalito was under military law and “the rough element was not allowed to land.” San Rafael’s saloons remained closed while Marin’s businessmen donated lumber, cattle, and a railroad engine to help San Francisco rebuild. Relief committee members, identified by cloth badges, built tent cities and handed out clothing and food to an estimated ten thousand evacuees. By Jo Haraf
Lewis & Hannah Gerstle Source: MHM
The Gerstle family history reads like an adventure novel featuring immigrants who sought their fortunes in the American West, battled adversity, and became successful entrepreneurs.
Lewis Gerstle was born in Bavaria. Intrigued by tales of the “gold rush” in the West, he arrived in the United States in 1845 as a deckhand on a ship. He first worked as a peddler in Kentucky and Louisiana, eventually finding his way to California in 1850, where he managed the first Pony Express. He joined forces with fellow Bavarian immigrant Louis Sloss in 1851.
In 1858, Lewis married Hannah Greenbaum after his business partner, Louis Sloss, married her sister three years earlier. The Gerstles honeymooned by crossing the Isthmus of Panama to California and soon settled into married life in Sacramento where two daughters were born.
While the Sacramento business was successful, dangerous flooding convinced the Gerstle and Sloss families to relocate. The situation proved so dire that the Sacramento legislature followed the Gerstles to San Francisco two weeks later.
Both the Sloss and Gerstle families became prolific with the former having six and the Gerstles having seven children. Their large families would be perfect anchors for the rich family traditions they would create later. After failing to rent a summerhouse in Santa Cruz due to his Jewish heritage, Lewis rented a vacation house in more tolerant Marin. Santa Cruz’s loss became Marin County’s gain, as Lewis, entranced by the lovely “Violet Terrace” in San Rafael, bought it in 1881 and turned it into the family compound now known as Gerstle Park.
During the 1906 Earthquake, like many San Francisco families, Lewis’s sons and daughters suffered damage in the fire. The women and children evacuated to Violet Terrace while the men stayed in San Francisco to recover what they could of their businesses, homes, and offices. The men retreated to Violet Terrace in shifts for food, rest, and hot showers—resources San Francisco no longer had to offer. By Dominique Koenig
fter his father,
rs, Sheriff Taylor
ived at the
William P. Taylor
July 13, 1860 – March 21, 1929
Source: The Sausalito News, May 3, 1902
W. P. Taylor was born in Taylorville, the now-vanished town named after his father, Samuel P. Taylor, Marin’s pioneer papermaker. After working as a papermaker in Holyoke, Massachusetts, W. P. Taylor returned to Marin running as the Republican candidate for Sheriff in 1898. Reelected to the office for twelve years, Sheriff Taylor earned the moniker of “the manhunter” for his persistence in tracking fugitives. Once, when a political adversary threatened to shoot him on sight, Taylor arrived at the presumed gunfight with a peashooter and a pocket full of dried peas. Laughter, not gunfire, rang through the street. By Jo Haraf
Thursday, April 5 7-8pm Corte Madera Library
Native American Baskets of the Bay Area An illustrated presentation by Ralph Shanks
Basketry is one of the oldest living art traditions in California. Learn about the construction and cultural significance of Coast Miwok, Ohlone, Pomo, and other baskets, and see full-color images of pieces unavailable for public viewing.
Friday, April 6 11:00am
Ross Historical Society/Jose Moya del Pino Library
Art and Garden Center - Livermore Pavilion
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad
Rail Historian Angelo Figone, with an illustrated program, will present his new book THE NORTHWESTERN PACIFIC RAILROAD, Lifeline of the Redwood Empire/Boom and Bust 1951–2001. Steam and Diesel operations between Tiburon and Eureka, many railroading details and dramatic flooding will be shown. Copies of the book will be available for sale.
$10 donation is requested
Thursday, April 12 8:00pm Elks Club, 1312 Mission Ave, San Rafael, CA. Carriage House
The Northwestern Pacific Railroad History Symposium
Heisler Locomotive #9, The last surviving full-sized piece of the Mt. Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railway, a railroad once internationally famous as "The Crookedest Railroad in the World", has spent the last 65 years in Scotia, CA. The Pacific Lumber bought the engine and put it on display on Scotia's main street in 1953.
$5 donation requested
Saturday, April 21 1:30-2:30pm
Bay Model, Sausalito
Sailing Ships of SF Bay
In commemoration of the building of the Matthew Turner, the first Brigantine ship to be built in California in 100 years. This ship has a permanent home on our Bay Model pier. We will cover some of the interesting early sailing vessels that made their way in and around the SF Bay Estuary along with a bit of maritime history to include the ever present danger of shipwrecks.
Monday, April 23 6:30-8pm
Marin County Free Library
History of the Southern Marin Dairy Industry & Community
In the late 1800s, Marin was the Bay Area’s major supplier of dairy products and cows were a common sight both in our towns and grazing on the surrounding hillsides. The majority of the dairies in southern Marin - which over the years up until the 1950s, numbered more than 40 - were operated by Portuguese immigrants and their descendants. Mike Moyle, the Chair of the History Committee of the IDESST Sausalito Portuguese Cultural Center, will be speaking about the history of this industry and community, accompanied by photos of a number of those dairies.
Anne T. Kent California Room Special Collections & Map Annex, 1600 Los Gamos, Suite 182, San Rafael. Enter through Lobby B.
Friday May 4 10-12
The Dominican University students spent many hours with Marcie Miller at the museum going through Mari
IN THIS ISSUE:
Museum News, Events, Feature Article, Faces of Marin, 100 Years Ago, Community Events
Thursday, April 26,
Elks Lodge,1312 Mission Ave.San Rafael
Featured author and guest speaker: Dr. Joanna Kafarowski
Author Joanna Kafarowski will present the first comprehensive biography of Louise Arner Boyd – the intrepid American socialite who reinvented herself as the leading female polar explorer of the 20th century.
Boyd was born in 1887 in San Rafael to a mining magnate who made millions in the gold rush and a mother from a distinguished New York family. After inheriting a fortune, she fell under the spell of The Arctic during a sailing trip. She achieved international notoriety as an audacious polar explorer, directing seven Arctic expeditions from 1926 to 1955.
Dr. Joanna Kafarowski is a Canadian independent scholar with a passion for the north. She has worked with indigenous women in the Arctic and participated in a Last Degree North Pole Expedition.
$10 admission. Free entry for Elks with ID card
Please RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-382-1182
IN THE NEWS - 100 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH
Marin Journal April 1918
"MADE IN AMERICA'
"Made in Europe" No Longer! __________________
Merchants and consumers the country over are quickly picking up the slogan "Made in America." They see in it more money for America, and that means for themselves. Friends, learn not only to do without costly imported goods, but to demand homemade goods entirely. It'll pay you. Join the movement.
VOLUNTEER JOB OPPORTUNITIES
We can use your help! Have a little time on our hands and looking to help a local non-profit? Below is a list of some of the volunteer positions we need to fill.
Please let us know if any of these look interesting to you by emailing email@example.com or calling 415-382-1182. We would love to hear form you!
We are starting to create a lot of content for our eNewsletters, social media sites, and future traveling exhibitions and publications. If you like to do historical research and write short articles, we could use your help.
Along with writers, we need editors to give the final article its blessing before it goes to print. This volunteer job can be done from home or on site. Let us know if you have that required eagle eye and grammatical tenacity to tackle this job.
We need a few strong individuals to help move heavy shelving units within the Collections Facility. If you have few hours to spare during the week and could help us move our shelves, we would love to hear from you.
Special Event Assistant
If you enjoy hosting or attending a well-planned party, you’ll be a natural at during the Museum’s special events. We would love to see you help create the party, greet guests who attend, and keep that friendly and festive feeling going for the whole evening.
Capture the moment for us! Your photos of the Museum’s special events and exhibitions will be invaluable for public outreach, future fundraising campaigns and our institution’s historical record. We could use your help documenting our history!
Are you a student looking for community service hours? Know a student who needs hours before graduating? The Marin History Museum is a 501(c)3 and can grant students their community service hours.
Let us know and we’ll take care of it!
P. O. Box 150727, San Rafael, CA 94915 415-382-1182 firstname.lastname@example.org