Monday, April 19, 2002
April 18, 1906
Shortly after 5:00 am. on April 18, 1906 an earthquake
measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale ripped through sleeping San
Francisco, toppling buildings, exploding gas mains, and trapping
thousands of citizens between tons of stone, broken wood, and twisted
metal. Herds of cattle stampeded madly through the streets. The air
reverberated with the panicked screams of the doomed and dying.
The worst was yet to come. For the next three days a
devastating fire swept through the city, lighting up the night sky a
hundred miles away. Fire winds estimated at 80 mph whipped through the
streets. The smoke and ashes rose 6 miles into the sky. Nearly 300,000
structures were destroyed, and over a quarter million people were left
These pictures are taken from a collection of souvenir
booklets I have that were published in the months following the
earthquake and fire.
burning city, seen from the bay on the morning of April 18.
business district of San Francisco burning, as seen from the Fairmont
about the United States Mint, Fifth Street.
Call Building, Market Street.
advancing column of fire, as seen on Wednesday, April 19, from Market
Market Street from the Ferry Tower, showing a trolley line in operation
and railroad tracks being laid to remove the debris.