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February 6, 1863: Land’s End

February 6, 2013
Band's End

Land's End; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Lands End 02

Sutro Baths Ruins; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

A company is constructing a carriage road directly west of the city to the ocean, and at the ocean beach it passes around a high bold cliff, which it was necessary to blast. Directly under this, on a level with the beach, a cavern was found extending back some fifty feet. The papers announced that [today] a large quantity of powder would be put in this, the mouth closed, and “the whole cliff torn off.” The “grand explosion” was announced to come off at 3 P.M., and hundreds went out to see it—in carriages, on horseback, on foot. Our whole party walked out. It was a tedious walk, some five or six miles of it being over sand hills, in which one sank to the ankles at every step. The point was reached, and all waited for hours. The great hole had to be filled nearly full of sand, and at last nearly all the crowd left. I, however, remained. Fifty kegs of powder were placed in the cave, the mouth filled with sand and rocks for some thirty feet, a long fuse laid, and at last, long after dark, the train was fired. The explosion was a failure so far as effects were concerned. It threw out an immense quantity of sand and rocks from the mouth, but nothing more—an immense volume of flame, a very heavy sound, and a disgusted crowd who got lost in the sand hills on their way back to the city. I caught a bad cold which I have not got over yet.

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