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After the Earthquake: 1906

"Market Street toward ferry." San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

"Market Street toward ferry." San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

A Trip Down Market Street

Look at this movie of a cable car going the same direction on Market Street just days before the Earthquake.

San Francisco

where is Clark Gable?

There's no there there

The gent with the fresh boutonniere and clean pocket hanky likely got them in Oakland.

The folks on the left hand side of the photo are walking up Market Street from the Ferry Building in the background, indicating they're returning to San Francisco, not fleeing from the now extinguished fires. Likely they had evacuated to Oakland or elsewhere and are now returning to see what's left of their homes and businesses.

Ferries shuttling between San Francisco and Oakland and Marin served as the city's lifeline for days after the quake and fire.

I'll bet most of the returnees in this view ended up camping in Golden Gate Park.

The Underbelly Speaks

As part of the Underbelly, or the Great Unwashed, as we are sometimes called, I'd just like to go on record as saying that, in case of earthquake, hurricane, rapture or other major disruption of life, I have prepared an outfit consisting of tattered Chuck Taylors, raggedy cut offs and a tie dyed T-shirt. I'm gonna hit the streets in style.

Previously on Shorpy

Many are familiar with the famous 13-minute film of Market Street shot from the front of a trolley car as it rolled toward the Ferry Building on a busy afternoon in San Francisco. Although the footage has long been dated by LOC curators to circa September 1905, extensive new research by David Kiehn, historian for the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, CA, has established that this footage was probably shot by the Miles Brothers film company on or near April 12, 1906, scarcely a week before the earthquake and fire. The footage was only shipped by rail to New York for processing and distribution on April 17, and the Miles Brothers studio was destroyed a few hours later.

The San Francisco Chronicle has details of Kiehn's discoveries. The San Francisco Museum & Historical Society is sponsoring a lecture by Mr. Kiehn about his findings on Sept. 21.

Fashion Plate

Where did that cool looking dude get his fresh boutonniere and clean pocket hanky?

Trolley wires

Since there are now trolley wires over the cable car tracks, the date is later than just the day after the earthquake.

First Earthquake

How ironic that on the day you publish this photo, we in the mountains of Pa. experienced the first earthquake any of us can remember.

Just Sayin'

After their homes and business's have been devastated, the men still wear hats, collars, ties and suits. The ladies never go out in public unless well groomed.

Definitely saying something about the quality of the general mass but not the underbelly that also existed then.

It Would Seem

It appears that no matter what the occasion, the San Franciscans of 1906 got gussied up before going out. Get a load of those ladies' hats.

Oh, well found

Puts things in perspective a bit.

This Just In As Well

From The Gothamist, a little while ago.

[UPDATE] 5.9 Magnitude Earthquake In Virginia Rattles Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens

The FDNY and the US Geological Survey has confirmed a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in central Virginia. Residents of Manhattan and Brooklyn have reported feeling the earthquake

The Ole Man Purse

When will the ole man purse be back in style, I wonder.

That's a pretty short skyline.

I can only imagine what was going through the minds of those folks as they survey the damage.

The earth moved

for me! Unfortunately, I was home alone. I'm 35 miles S.E.of Washington, so a bit closer to the epicenter than D.C. My behind started moving as my chair followed the floor movement, them my whole body followed as the movements became stronger. The desk then started shaking, moving my PC case and monitor.

My first thought was that there was some some structural collapse in my home, then I realized it was a quake. Lasted about 40 seconds, then slowly subsided. A quick survey showed no damage, power, phone, and DSL service all normal.

This just in...

Very timely.

Fortunately, DC doesn't look this way now

I don't know if this photo is a coincidence coming so soon after the Magnitude 5.9 earthquake that rattled Virginia, DC, Maryland and all the way up to New York City. Fortunately, we didn't get this kind of damage!!

Ironic timing is ironic

Was this photo already chosen for today?


Even in the aftermath of this great tragedy, everyone is as fully and fashionably dressed as they must have been before April 18th. I would expect that at least some of the people in the photograph were made homeless by the earthquake and fire, but you would never know it to look at them.

100-year photo blog indeed!

Just arrived home after my building was closed following today's earthquake. Turned on my internet, and what do I see?

Good Timing

Dave, you've done it again! There was a 5.9 tremor in Va. today and we felt it on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. So, earthquakes will be the topic of discussion for a while.


Just experienced my first Earthquake just over an hour ago. Once again, Dave you leave me speechless. Walter in Bethesda, MD

Quick Work

Wow, you practically beat Reuters to the punch.

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