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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

California Street: 1906

California Street: 1906

"Clearing away the debris, California Street, San Francisco." Aftermath of the earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906. 8x10 glass negative. View full size.

 

I don't get it

The cathedral is on the left side of the street, uphill from the camera. However, looking at the modern day Streetview, the cathedral is on the right side of the street, looking uphill. Did they move the cathedral?

[There are two churches in the earthquake photo. On the left side of the street, near the top of the hill, is Grace Church; the ruins were later demolished. The tower of St. Mary's is in the center of the photo on the right side of the street. -tterrace]

A Shorpy First?

We've seen plenty of ghost people in Shorpy images, but this may be the first ghost dirt. Times two, no less!

Dressed to the nines!

Just because your city is destroyed is no reason to dress like a slob.

Cable Cars on dirt street?

I'm not familiar with Cable Car street locations, now or back then, but it appears there are two tracks for up-bound and down-bound cars on that dirt road. Seems pretty amazing to me that such a track would have been built on a non-paved street. Or, maybe it shows great foresight by planners.

[That "dirt road" is a paved street covered in a layer of ash and debris from the fire. -tterrace]

+105 and it looks a lot better

The wrecked Library Bureau, Inc., building at right was at 538 California Street according to the 1904 San Francisco City Directory.

[I've changed your street view to show Old St. Mary's Cathedral at 660 California St., seen behind the wrecked building in the earthquake photo. -tterrace]


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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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