PATH OF FLAMES MARKED BY BARE HILLS AND RUIN (ARTICLE #2)
There were two articles published on the front page of THE OJAI on Friday, June 22, 1917. THE OJAI is now the Ojai Valley News. The first article was posted on OjaiHistory.com on Sept. 23, 2016 with their permission. Following is the second article, posted with the approval of the Ojai Valley News too. The author is unknown.
Courageous Hearts Bravely Face Situation, With Hopefulness for an Even Greater Ojai, Inspired by Mr. Libbey’s Telegram of Sympathy and Cheer
Out of the ruin and desolation wrought by the greatest disaster in the history of all Southern California will arise a greater Ojai. The indomitable will of our citizens, bolstered up by the good offices of such men as E. D. Libbey, Chas. M. Pratt, W. M. Ladd, O. W. Robertson, Geo. O. Carpenter, F. H. Osgood and many others, has so willed it.
But the first thoughts of our people turned to the homeless and suffering–the refugee victims of the great catastrophy. While the embers were still smoking on the site of leveled homes, where the bare chimneys stood as monuments of the untoward disaster, and while the firelines in the hills about us still held the brawn and bravery of the community fighting for the mastery with tireless zeal, the Men’s League began to act, and with what grand and noble purposes they labored, and the good accomplished, may be gleaned from the following report of the secretary:
EMERGENCY RELIEF COM.
Meetings of the Executive Com. of the Men’s League were held at the Boyd Club Monday and Tuesday afternoons. A special Relief Committee was appointed as follows:
Harrison Wilson, chairman.
Boyd Gabbert, secretary-treasurer.
J. J. Burke
G. H. Hickey
S. D. Thacher
This committee was authorized to collect funds and to disburse them for the good of those suffering from the recent fire.
The chambers of commerce of Los Angeles, Oxnard, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and other cities, have been requested to act as treasurers for relief funds which may be subscribed by people in their various localities, and to notify their local newspapers to this effect, remitting funds thus collected to the Ojai committee.
The Emergency Committee has established its headquarters in the office of the Ojai Realty Co. (Burke & Gabbert) and have met daily to work out plans for effective action. They have posted the following notice on the inside window, which represents the spirit in which they propose to work:
Consult us freely if we can be of
any use, to you or anybody else.
We are here to help.
Don’t be backwards.
We are ready to act at once.
NOBLE WOMEN TO THE FORE
The co-operation of the Women’s Club has been cordially given. All supplies of garments, bedding, utensils, etc., may be left at the clubhouse, and applications for such things may be left there.
Money subscriptions may be left with or sent to Mr. Gabbert, and requests for aid of any kind should be made at headquarters. Anyone will be welcome to state his or her own difficulties, or the needs of him or herself. The committee is anxious to aid everyone and to handle applications as confidentially as possible.
The Ojai State Bank is ready to make special loans or longer time than usual and at lower rate of interest.
FOR A GREATER OJAI
The committee is very anxious to help in rebuilding and hope they will be able to help every citizen of the Ojai who was burned out, back to as good a position as he was in before the fire. The committee is specially interested in the rebuilding and to have all structures built in the best possible taste. They hope to consult Mr. Requa or other competent architect in regard even to the simplest buildings, and they beg everyone who contemplates building without any assistance to consult with them, without charge, in order to obtain such architectural help as may be practicable.
It is hoped that the dreadful disaster of the fire may thus in many ways prove a blessing to the people of the Ojai, making it a better and more beautiful region than ever before, and the committee begs co-operation to this end.
The committee will cordially welcome at their headquarters, at all times anyone who has any suggestions to make as to ways in which the committee may be useful, or anyone who can tell of the need or special suffering of others.
No one should think of this help which the committee and the subscribers to the fund are giving as in any sense charity. It is merely ordinary neighborly helpfulness, such as any of us would be glad to receive. It is really a kind of mutual insurance whereby those who have not suffered desperately bear part of the burden of those who have lost heavily.