Got curious about what those around the time of the fire had to say and found this passage from an unnamed Examiner reporter. Doesn't say it all...but it says a lot. Let's hope and pray New Orleans and other cities in the Gulf fare as well.
"San Francisco is imperishable; she is not made of bricks and mortar or reinforced concrete; she is a temperament, a sunny, vivacious temperament, which with gay courage faces great disaster and overcomes it and which rebuilds with courage of heart what she saw burn up with gayety of heart.
Her temperament cannot be analyzed, it can only be felt; we can admire her for what she is doing in the present to build up again her homes, her hotels, her office buildings and her stores, but we love her for the way in which she met with undaunted courage and with a bright smile the disaster of two years ago, which would have crushed into eternal depression any other city upon the face of the globe."