April 18th, 1906
1906.04.18 / Wednesday
 37:122 – North America – United States of America – California – San Francisco County –
San Francisco –
SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE AND FIRE
On April 18, 1906, an earthquake registering approximately 7.9 on the Richter Scale rocks northern California. The city of San Francisco sustains the greatest damage in the much wider area that is impacted. The earthquake is followed by a fire, and the spreading fire causes the military to destroy countless buildings. In total it is one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States. The number of deaths exceeds 3,000. It is the greatest loss of life consequent to a natural disaster in California history.
[USA Brigadier General] Frederick Funston, [Commander] of the Presidio of San Francisco, and a resident of San Francisco, tries to bring the fire under control by using black powder, dynamite, and artillery shelling in an effort to create firebreaks. Often the explosions themselves help spread the fire. The resulting damage is enormous.
One landmark building, among many lost to the fire, is San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, also known as the Bonanza Inn.
The Palace Hotel is later rebuilt and exists in San Francisco today.
Source #1, Palace Hotel, Google Maps link showing the Palace Hotel, Bonanza Inn (book) 1939.
December 17th, 1903
1903.12.17 / Thursday
 36:075 – North America – United States of America – North Carolina – Dare County
Kitty Hawk – Albemarle Sound / Kill Devil Hills
WRIGHT BROTHERS FIRST FLIGHT
The Wright Brothers make two solo flights each, in a motorized aircraft taking off from level ground into a headwind gusting to as much as 27 miles per hour on December 17, 1903,
The first flight, by Orville Wright, is 120 feet in length and lasts for 12 seconds. The average speed of the flight is 6.8 miles per hour. A photograph taken by John T. Daniels documents the event.
The next flight, by Wilbur Wright, covers approximately 175 feet. This flight is followed by a third flight of 200 feet, made by Orville Wright. The maximum altitude attained in these flights is approximately 10 feet above the ground.
The fourth and final flight is measured to be 852 feet in length with the time in the air being 59 seconds. The average speed of this final flight of the day is 9.6 miles per hour.
The aircraft is damaged during the final flight and more severely a little later; this plane (the first ‘Wright Flyer’) never flew again.
Source #1, Source #2, Google Maps.
November 18th, 1903
1903.11.18 / Wednesday – 1914.08.15 (12 years)
 09:079 – North America – Panama – Panama Canal Zone
ACQUISITION & BUILDING OF THE PANAMA CANAL
The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, signed on November 18, 1903, provides that the United States will purchase the French interests in the Panama Canal and that Panama is to receive a payment from the U.S. of $10 million dollars for control of the Panama Canal Zone, in perpetuity. The treaty also provides that Panama will receive an annual rental payment of $250,000 annually, in perpetuity.
The United States purchases the Panama Canal properties for $40 million dollars on February 23, 1904.
The United States formally takes control of the Panama Canal on May 4, 1904. [USA Lieutenant] Jatara Oneel receives, on behalf of the United States, the keys to the numerous buildings and properties of the Compagnie Nouvelle du Canal de Panama (corporation) which owned the concession, and various valuable assets.
The newly-created Panama Canal Zone Control comes under the control of the Isthmian Canal Commission during canal construction. John Findlay Wallace is elected [Chief Engineer] of the canal on May 6, 1904.
Construction continues on the canal for a period of more than ten (10) years. The Panama Canal officially opens on August 15, 1914.
A map of the Panama Canal Zone circa 1940.
Source #1, Source #2, Google Maps.
September 8th, 1900
1900.09.08 / Saturday
 29:094 – North America – United States of America – Texas – Galveston County –
Known as the Hurricane of 1900, the Galveston Hurricane makes landfall in Galveston, Texas on September 8, 1900. Winds are estimated to be 135 miles per hour as the storm comes ashore. On the Saffir-Simpson Scale the storm is listed as a Category 4 hurricane.
The death toll is estimated to be between 6,000 and 12,000 people dead. In terms of deaths, the storm is the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. The official number of people that die is most often reported to be 8,000 people killed by the storm.
Source #1, Source #2, Google Maps. Reference is also made to Texas City, 1947.