This discovery was small consolation for the amount of destruction that the earthquake brought to the university grounds. In the 45 seconds that the earthquake ruled, it wrought a massive amount of destruction to the young, fledgling campus, destroying most of the prominent university landmarks and a great deal of other classrooms. David Starr Jordan, the president of the university at this time, enumerated the damages that had befallen the university: The injuries are summarized as follows: (1) The Memorial Church.The spire of wood, weighed by tiles, plunged through the nave of the church. The concussion of air forced off the church front with the great mosaic, “The Sermon on the Mount.
” The flying buttresses of the tower fell crashing through the apses. Otherwise the church suffered little. The bells and the organ are unharmed, the steel-braced walls are perfect, and the mosaics and stained glass windows are mostly intact.
(2) Wreck of the unfinished library. The great dome and its steel supports are unharmed; their swaying completely wrecked the rest of the building of stone and brick.(3) Wreck of the new gymnasium, of brick faced with stone.
(4) Wreck of parts of the art museum which were made of brick faced with cement. The central part of concrete strengthened by steel rods is intact. [… ] (8) The powerhouse was wrecked by the tall stone chimney, which was snapped off like he lash of a whip. (9) The Memorial Arch had its upper part snapped off and is split almost to the base, so that it is an entire wreck. This structure was of brick, reinforced with steel and faced with stone.
(10) The Chemistry building lost all its chimneys and is externally damaged by the fall of part of its stone facing (Pacific Monthly 640). One of the most striking visual examples of the destruction that the earthquake brought was the complete collapse of Memorial Arch, which once faced Palm Drive in front of Memorial Church. Before April 18th, the arch stood out majestically against the outer quadrangle and could be seen from nearly every point on campus, but after the tremor, the entire arch was ruined, leaving only the base of what it once was, which is still present to this day.
This of course was an extreme shock to the students who had come to identify the Arch as a symbol of pride and prestige with their university. In one student’s words, We walked over to the Arch, the once beautiful Memorial Arch, which stood as a gateway to the outer quadrangle. Around the upper part of the frieze had been carved that which represented ‘The Progress of Man. ‘ Most of the frieze had crumbled away and the Great Arch was split almost to its base, it was a sight to behold (Beymer 3).
Another startling example of the power of nature was the state that Memorial Church was left in. The bell-tower that once rose up and above the church was now destroyed. The consequential falling of the steeple created a vacuum of air which blew out most of the mosaic that had previously adorned the fai?? ade of the building (Jordan 3rd President’s Report 5). Passers by could only gape, astonished at what had become of their most distinctive monument. The other buildings, such as the museum and new library, suffered similar fates.Most of these buildings, it was considered, would have to be repaired basically from the ground up (Wing 510). The entire university was, for the most part, left in shambles.
David Starr Jordan, initially optimistic, said that classes would resume in a few days, but upon further consideration, classes, as well as that years commencement ceremony, were postponed until the following academic year. In the aftermath of Stanford’s first natural disaster the statistics were grim: 2 deaths (one student and one fireman); $3 million dollars in damages (adjusted for inflation approx.$39 million); and the prospect of major repair work on the great majority of campus buildings.
Even though most of the university faculty and staff were optimistic, some students did not hold those same positive views. Student Payson Treat writes in a letter to his father following the earthquake: So as we think it over, and our minds are hardly able to think at all, we realize that the University will all be rebuilt, but during the process there will be dark days again. The dreams of salaries and equipment will have to wait longer for realization.The Stone Age will begin again (5). Since this of course was the first major crisis for the university, most of the students and others affiliated with the school would have good reason to hold such dire opinions, but fortunately for them, the situation was not as dismal as it appeared to be or could have been. Fast-forward 83 years to arrive at October 17, 1989.
At 5:04 p. m. Stanford University was unfortunately once again treated to another encounter with Mother Nature’s rumblings.Cole Campbell, a Knight Fellow, was able to describe his experience in class that day, Steve Stublarec, a San Francisco lawyer who lectures at Stanford Law School, was the first in our classroom to notice the vibrations at 5:04 p. m. Tuesday.
‘That’s an earthquake! ‘ he said as the tremors increased. The building itself began to heave, and Stublarec bolted from his chair, flipping it over on its back, and sprinted from the room. The words I had always associated with earthquakes don’t describe the experience. The building didn’t shake or quake: It undulated (A7).