Earthquake and fire today have put nearly half of San Francisco in ruins. At least 200 people have been killed and thousands injured, and the property loss will exceed $100,000,000. Thousands of people are homeless and destitute, and all day long streams of people have been fleeing from the stricken districts to places of safety.

It was 5:13 this morning when a terrible earthquake shock shook the whole city and surrounding country. One shock apparently lasted two minutes and there was almost immediate collapse of the flimsy structures all over the city.

50 Years Ago, 1956

WASHINGTON – An estimate that the federal income-and-outgo budget will show a surplus of about two billion dollars in the fiscal year ending net June 30 came today from the staff of the Senate-House Economic Committee. This compares with the 230 million dollars in surplus which President Eisenhower estimated in January.

• Auburn taxpayers will be faced with an indicated 50-mill tax rate this year. The City Council took final action at the ten-minute meeting last night on the annual appropriation resolve which calls for record high expenditures totaling $2,128,414.10 and which will require raising $1,672,714.10 by property taxation.

25 Years Ago, 1981

Soda comes in liters instead of quarts at the supermarket. Weather forecasters frequently give two sets of temperatures – Celsius and Fahrenheit. And a growing number of road maps provide distances in kilometers as well as miles.

The United States generally still clings to traditional measurements like inches and ounces, feet and pounds, but signs of the metric system are spreading across the United States, and now there’s a National Metric Week, May 10-16, to help people learn about meters, liters and grams.

Congress passed legislation in 1975 designed to encourage Americans to convert, voluntarily, to metrics. The U.S. Metric Board was established to coordinate the conversion.