San Francisco : History
1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

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1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire
5:12 AM April 18, 1906

The Basics The California earthquake of April 18, 1906 ranks as one of the most significant earthquakes of all time. Today, its importance comes more from the wealth of scientific knowledge derived from it than from its sheer size --The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
  • Deaths: > 3,000

  • Injuries: ~225,000
  • Property Damage: $ 400,000,000 in 1906 $$$
    @UC Berkeley Seismographic Station

The ground had broken open for more than 270 miles along a great fault - the San Andreas rift. The country on the east side of the rift had moved southward relative to the country on the west side of the rift. The greatest displacement had been 21 feet about 30 miles northwest of San Francisco --Introduction from the Carnegie Report

The quake lasted only a minute but caused the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. Modern analysis estimates it registered 8.25 on the Richter scale (By comparison, the quake that hit San Francisco on October 17, 1989 registered 6.7). -The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 -EyeWitness from Ibis Communications - note: a writer pointed out that a hurricane on Galveston Island, Texas, in 1900 killed more than 6,000 people and is also claimed to be "The worst natural disaster in U.S. history."

The Fire
[fire of april 18-21, 1906]
Area destroyed by fire of April 18-21, 1906

From the San Francsico Examiner, May 13, 1906
Chinatown In 1906, the destruction of Chinatown by fire was considered a great blessing of the Earthquake. Many felt it should have burned long before. Said the Overland Monthly, "Fire has reclaimed to civilization and cleanliness the Chinese ghetto, and no Chinatown will be permitted in the borders of the city.... it seems as though a divine wisdom directed the range of the seismic horror and the range of the fire god. Wisely, the worst was cleared away with the best." Chinatown in Hunters Point? by Ralph Henn

See also, Earthquake and Fire Newspaper Clippings at sfmuseum
View of the destruction brought about by the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906
This is a composite panorama, meaning that it is pieced together from four separate images to give a panoramic effect. The photographer is unknown, though it may have been taken by the Army Signal Corps. It is printed on silver gelatin paper. The entire size of the image is 37" x 8".
Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (Army) (111-AGF-1-A>D)

San Francisco City Hall [big image]

Third and Market Street


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