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Shaken & Singed: 1906

Shaken & Singed: 1906

"Ruins of Pettibone Bros., New Montgomery Street." San Francisco in the aftermath of the earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906. 8x10 inch glass negative. View full size.


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The building at far left in the "today" view is the Palace Hotel. Originally built in 1875 by William Ralston and opened right around the time of his mysterious death (accident or suicide?), it was burned out in 1906 and rebuilt three years later. That replacement structure is the one that still stands, its former carriageway now featured as part of a very posh restaurant in which I ate only once in my many years of living in SF (someone else was treating).

Force of nature

The amount of destruction you see just in this 8x10 photo is mind blowing. I think the death toll was around 3000. Terrible.

My best guess

New Montgomery Street is mercifully short, so not many options as to where the photographer was standing in 1906. I'm assuming the new Hobart Buildings were built on the site of the destroyed Hobart Buildings. From that, here is my best guess as to the angle today.

Click to embiggen

And a Google Street view today, from New Montgomery Street and Stevenson Street.

Then you see it,

now you don't: the (shells of the) Crocker, French Bank, Union Trust and Hobart Buildings. Only the second of these remains. (Pettibone Bros. -- manufacturer of "uniforms, regalia, flags, banners, badges and secret society goods of all kinds" -- had been at 19 New Montgomery.)

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