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San Francisco Earthquake Aftermath 1906 Prelinger Archives

San Francisco Earthquake Aftermath 1906 Prelinger Archives



more at http://news.quickfound.net/cities/san_francisco.html

"VS aftermath of 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Footage from moving vehicle driving down street; tents pitched along street, horse drawn carriages, demolished swathes of city. Huge line extending around street corner, men in line wave to camera, billboard for Pierce-Rodolph Storage Co. Downtown San Francisco, crumbled buildings, smoky air, stranded people on side of street, cable cars."

Public domain film from the Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The film was silent. I have added music created by myself using the Reaper Digital Audio Workstation and the Independence and Proteus VX VST instrument plugins.

see also:
San Francisco Pre Earthquake-Fire: "A Trip Down Market Street" 14 April 1906

More post-earthquake footage:


The New York Times, April 19, 1906, p. 1:

Nearly Half the City is in Ruins and 50,000 Are Homeless.


Great Buildings Consumed Before Helpless Firemen—
Federal Troops and Militia Guard the City With Orders to Shoot Down Thieves—
Citizens Roused in Early Morning by Great Convulsion and Hundreds Caught by Falling Walls.

SAN FRANCISCO, April 18.—Earthquake and fire today have put nearly half of San Francisco in ruins. About 500 persons have been killed, a thousand injured, and the property loss will exceed $200,000,000.
Fifty thousand people are homeless and destitute, and all day long streams of people have been fleeing from the stricken districts to places of safety.
It was 5:13 this morning when a terrific earthquake shock shook the whole city and the surrounding country. One shock apparently lasted two minutes, and there was almost immediate collapse of flimsy structures all over the city.
The water supply was cut off, and when fire started in various sections there was nothing to do but let the buildings burn. Telegraph and telephone communication was cut off for a time.
The Western Union was put completely out of business and the Postal Company was the only one that managed to get a wire out of the city. About ten o'clock even the Postal was forced to suspend.
Electric power was stopped and street cars did not run, railroads and ferryboats also ceased operations. The various fires raged all day and the fire department has been powerless to do anything except dynamite buildings threatened. All day long explosions have shaken the city and added to the terror of the inhabitants.
Following the first shock, there was another within five minutes, but not nearly so severe. Three hours later, there was another slight quake.

First Warning at 5:13 A.M.

Most of the people of San Franciso were asleep at 5:13 o'clock this morning when the terrible earthquake came without warning.
The motion of the disturbance was from east to west. At first the upheaval of the earth was gradual, but in a few seconds it was increased in intensity. Chimneys began to fall and buildings to crack, tottering on their foundations...

Steel Frame Buildings Stand.

The tall, steel-frame structures stood the strain better than brick buildings, few of them being badly damaged. The big eleven-story Mondadnock office building, in course of construction, adjoining the Palace Hotel, was an exception, however, its rear wall collapsing and many cracks being made across its front...
A portion of the new City Hall, which cost more than $7,000,000, collapsed, the roof sliding into the courtyard, and the smaller towers tumbling down. The great dome was moved, but did not fall.
The new Post Office, one of the finest in the United States, was badly shattered...

Fires Start in Many Places.

Scarcely had the earth ceased to shake when fires started simultaneously in many places. The Fire Department promptly responded to the first calls for aid, but it was found that the water mains had been rendered useless by the underground movement.
Fanned by a light breeze, the flames quickly spread, and soon many blocks were seen to be doomed. Then dynamite was resorted to, and the sound of frequent explosions added to the terror of the people. These efforts to stay the progress of the fire, however, proved futile.
The south side of Market Street, from Ninth Street to the bay, was soon ablaze, the fire covering a belt two blocks wide. On this, the main thoroughfare, were many of the finest edifices in the city, including the Grant, Parrott, Flood, Call, Examiner, and Monadnock Buildings, and the Palace and Grand Hotels... the entire city seemed to be in flames.



1900 - 1909



Copyright info

Public Domain