The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, August 11, 1907, SECTION THREE, Image 36

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T IKE the passing away of a beautiful
. ' woman, Venice, queen of the Adri-
a tic, pearl of the sea, most lovely of
the cities, is thought to be dying.
; One by one, the jewels that bedeck her
crown are falling; the' roses and lilies of
architecture, which were given by those
who loved her as their mother city, are fad
ing and shriveling; the queen. city is sink'
': ing to her end in a salt.iea of tears.
Since the fall of-, the Campanile ins
I002 other buildings have fallen; along
the urand Lanal many palaces, rotting ana
crumbling; have' been condemned; towers'
and lofty columns are bending; walls' and.
priceless mosaics, are cracking; floors are ,
sinking. Today scaffoldings cling about
the walls of St. Mark's Cathedral, the
Church of St. John, and St. Paul and the
Frari are in the throes of constant repair,
' while the walls of the Palace of the Doges
are being braced. '. '"
Frantically an army of engineers, ar
' chitects and carpenters are' busy bracing
walls, strengthening, foundations, filling tn
crevices, propping up floors. Was graft in
the olden-days responsible for the threat-' t
ened collapse of the present f Did the '
builders of the city think ' more of filling
: their pockets than of erecting an enduring1
monument to their geniust yNot a few of
"the engineers busy , trying to save Venice
tay this is true. ' '
O Venicaf Van lea t Whra thy marbl trail '
At level with th waters there shall be
cry of nations o'er thy sunken hails
, A loud lament along the sweeping aea,
s Byron, -
T TPON 117 island tie city of Venice wai ?
'I I . built not upon , rocks rising rigidly
and securely from the waves, but upon
mud and claythick, leathery islands ;
of mud, rising from an insecure base of sand.:
With strong piles the builders reinforced
the V island bases, . and : upon - them laid .the
foundations of their buildings huts, palaces,
churches. A city rose magically above the waves,
and as msgical as was its building was the bud
ding of art, the unfolding of a flower which no
where else in the world had ever bloomed in
such magnificence. '. . .
On islands of mud, accumulated largely
from debris floating down the rivers Fo, Adige,
the Brenta and the Piave in the fifth century
after Christ, native tribes, fleeing over the moun
,tains of Iuly before Attilav the .terrible king
'of the Huns, builded houses and huts- In the
terror of warfare and persecution Venice, was
born. . " '
' , .Then, a the centuries passed, the woi.derful
flower boomed. There rose the Campanile, the
Palace of the Doges, St Mark's, with its lacy
traceries of stone and its shimmering domes;
the Grand Canal became a moonlight dream aa
lovers glided, to the sound of mandolins and
guitars, in gondolas on the waters; as men and
maids 'passed - up the marble steps of the
churches to marriages, and mothers passed from
baptismal rites with babies in their arms., :
- Across the 400 bridges 'passed hundreds of
souls, . and those that ; passed laughed blithely.
. pass art;' painters painted, sculptors hewed in.
stone and poets dreamed. Venice rose in power,
'.. and was haughty before the nations. , In the city
were men, good and bad;' some people rejoiced
and others wept. ' Venice was happy, Venice
, was sinful, Venice was gay arid mad. But she
" was beautiful. 7 ' ' "
" ' " IJke ths waterfowl, .
They built their nests' amonst the ocean wares;
Ana whore the sands were sntftlng, as the wind- ' "
Blew from the north or south where that they cam
Had to make sure the ground they stood upon; .
, Rose, like an exhalation from the deep, . ,
A vast metropolis j, - - '
; t - That is it an exhalation from the deep."
Long after the ' doges , died Venice . grew in
beauty;: she remained - the ' mistress of the
' waters, a woman, city of imperishable charms.
;:' I. But of comparatively recent years there
'came forewarnings ol an approaching end. The
heart of Venice her foundations began to de-
decay." A crack was found In the groat arch of
the Apocalypse in St. Mark's. - The Bridge of
Sighs was crackod, and liable at any minute to
' crumble into the canal beneath it Then windows
began falling from the Church of St John and
St Paul the great church built in 128. where
:. the doge every year in state attendod service in
honor of the viotory of Venioe over the: Turks.
,. To save the city , the experts agreed that
many of the buildings would have to be demol
ished. Betted and liable' to fall at any time, it
was certain that they would carry other build
'ings with them to ruin. " So the destruction of
the Abbatia-was ordered, and reluctantly 'and
- sadly the Dario Palace was condemned. - '
' Fortunately, the owner of the palace, tha
"Countess de la Baume-Pluvinel, is wealthy. She
1 decided upon numbering each stone and article j
in. the building. Piece by piece. it will be taken
down, and in another part of the city, on a :
' new foundation, piece by. piece, the palace will
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ordered an investigation.' Engineers, architects , iiqoqq ; . . . r - .i
and geolpgists went to work. . , ": U, 'in'.n tvarta U VenlceMhe' work of demoll.
berated through'' the' city, fell into crumbling .
.ruins, '
- The Campanile, sentinel of Venice, gave its
t warning. . -. .
For days the people wept over the fall fl ...
.: the great tower; stores were closed, and houses .
; draped in mourning. But it was not the fall of
; the tower alone which was deplored as through
a veil suddenly rent, the people of Venice saw,
. with startled eyes, the prophecy of doom.; g.
In falling, the Campanile destroyed the Lo
getta, but providentially it fell free of the neigh
boring Cathedral of St Mark and the Doge's
Palace. Bad it struck the Palace of the Doges,,
, architects say nothing could have saved the
famous structure. v And if. on the other hand,
the stone tower had struclc the facade of' St '
Mark's Italians '.bold their" breath at the
..thought ." ''.'.'.'. ,
, The fall of the Campanile arouacd Venice
to a sense of her, danger. , She beiran to look;
toward her safety. . The municipal' authorities
full of the joy of life. One bridge they called- cay. In 1902 came the first shock, the tocsin of
1 Bridge) it Sighs, and over it many moved . alarm the Campanile, the great tower which
on to the great annihilation. rose 300 feet in the air, with a tremor heaved
As centuries passed art seemed to sur- back and forth, and, with-a crash that rever
And then ther discovered a terrible thing.
The mud islands on which the city was built .'
had begun shifting. - The sand beneath them was .
giving way. And the buildings were sinking
slowly and surely sinking. ; : t ,
1 Experts found that the Ducal Library was
in danger, and at once orders were given for ;,
the removal of the 300,000, volumes.,- The li
brary contained the Orimani Breviary, the most ,
beautifully illuminated manuscript in existence.
As the experts continued their investigations
.oore alarmingly apparent became the signs of
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tion and reoonstraction . is troinjr on. There iv
sentiment in the hearts of these Venetians, and
- no sooner does a beloved landmark fall thanr'
they try to resurrect it elsewhere. ? They wUf
stay with their city, and many declare thawlus
it they will suffer the foretold doom. , - -
With, extreme care and difficulty plasterer
have been trying to solidify the vaulted roof of
I St Mark's without injuring tho rare mosaics. '
' Both the churches of St John and St Paul ' .
end the Frari must be watched constantly. In
fear of sudden collapse, the statues the winged
- victories and symboho figures nave reen re
, moved from the Church of St John and St Paul,
' In the Frari the Panthenot. of Venice,
which contains the ashes of great admirals and
generals of the republio the statues have been ...
dismantled. Board fences have been put tap be
fore the mausoleum of Canova, the chair and tho
sacru-ty. Even the pictures of "The Virgin," hf '
. Bellini, and the works of Tievola have been taken
from the ceiling. n " v . -;;,'.''.:' ' r- " .
v- - Professor Otto Wagner, of the Aoademy oz
- ' Fine Arts, Vienna, declares that the piles upon
which the buildings of the city were ereotod are
; rotting. And there is absolutely no hope, he de
clares, of saving the city. t Professor Hippolyte ,
; , Jambord, of the University of Paris, also nas de
dared that the city is doomed. - 1
i Shortly after the Campanile fell. C. IL
Blackall, a , well-known Boston architect, made
an examination of the f oundations of the olty
with Signor Giacomo Boni, the most eminent
i architect of Italy. . ' ' ' i
Mr. Blackall said that th5 city reposed on V
layers of alluvial clay, the first stratum of which
.ranges from a few inches to 100 feet in depth. : -.y
- This lies immediately over a bed of sand. " ' x
..It is believed that dredging operations In the
Grand Canal and the Oiudecca several years ago ,
. t caused a shifting of the sand. But still further
., back is thought by many to lie the real reason.
There were trrafters amona- builders in the oT
ri. dsys as well as now, and to their avarice may bo '"c J
t due the present pjight' of the citv. . ' i
" t . x ernaps uyron wrote propueucaii i .
. VenVs, lost and won, ,
! ' TTr thirteen tiunilred years of freedom done,
Blaks, like a seaweed, late whence sbe rose, j '