Editor’s note: The following story appeared in The Florida Times-Union and Citizen on May 4, 1901.
The disaster that struck Jacksonville yesterday is almost without parallel. At least 10,000 people were left homeless. It will not be possible for the homeless to find shelter in the remaining buildings and more or less hardship and even suffering have reunited and will result in this not being able to be fully alleviated.
Nearly two hundred blocks were burned in the thickest populated part of Jacksonville, the burned district that covers an area nearly two miles long and three quarters of a mile wide. In short, there is practically nothing left but the suburb.
Jacksonville is too energetic to have calamity plagued her future. Like Chicago, it will raise a more splendid city from its ashes, but in time there must necessarily be much suffering, for thousands have lost everything and many – very many – could not afford to lose it. A significant number of people today are utterly destitute and must suffer until they receive help from those fortunate enough to be able to help.
From the archives:Jacksonville devastated by extremely devastating fire (May 4, 1901)
From the archives:The March of Fire through Jacksonville (May 4, 1901)
From the archives:Prominent Citizens Speak Of The Future With A Greater Jacksonville In Sight (May 4, 1901)
Jacksonville has seen problems in the past and has reason to believe that Americans have a big and generous heart. If so, outside help can and may be needed, and if so, it will be undeniable, but our people who share a lot generously with those who are destitute. A shared calamity should inspire all with a community of feelings that makes one uncomfortable being in possession while being haunted by the thought that others are in need.
Our people who have houses must share them with those who don’t. Those who have plenty to eat need to remember that there are many who have not. It is up to the people of Jacksonville to see to it that the suffering caused by yesterday’s extensive destruction is minimized. When outside help comes, it cannot come in time to meet immediate needs. These must be met by the people of Jacksonville themselves.
And it will be fulfilled by them. We know the people. No warmer community can be found. Jacksonville has always been ready to respond to emergency calls from other cities, and she will do what she can to fend for herself.
A subscription list will open in these columns tomorrow morning. The Board of Trade will meet this morning at 10:30 am. The Times-Union and Citizen publish posts and all amounts posted on this paper will be duly recognized and given to the appropriate authorities for distribution. The first list will appear tomorrow morning. Who should be the first to contribute?
We hope for a quick and generous response to this call and we look forward, no doubt, to what people will do. The need is urgent and the answer must be immediate and free.