Noon. Dec 13, 1915

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On December 3, 1915, gale force winds unleashed a terrible fury on San Jose. Sixty-knot winds slammed into the tower . . . and it buckled in the middle.

At 11:55 a.m., the 15-ton tower which had provided light, ducks, and merriment to hard-working, God-fearing San Joseans ... jack-knifed, and crashed to the street in a tortured knot of pipe and metal.

When the tower was constructed in 1881 the process of galvanization (a coating of zinc to prevent rust) was unknown. The tower joints had rusted and crystalized ... and were no match for forces set in motion once the tower began to sway.

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