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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Sutter Street: 1906

Sutter Street: 1906

April 1906. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire. "Sutter Street up from Grant Avenue." 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing. View full size.

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How far up?

I wonder how far up on the fire escape on the left you could've climbed before the entire facade would've fallen down, carrying you with it?


What a simply magnificent photograph when viewed at full resolution -- just fantastic. Thanks for posting the comparison shot as well, I love to see how the sites look today.

Looking good

The gents admiring the rubble a quite a bit more nattily dressed than you'd find these days.

Back in the day

when a facade was a facade! They could really build 'em.

Fire escape.

That's where I'll be hanging out in the next big one. Seems like it helped out structurally. Even those farther up the street.

A chilling image

The Fire Escapes with no building attached to them any more, how many people were in those rooms when they collapsed!?

[Fire destroyed most of these buildings. I would bet that most of them had emptied out by the time they started burning. - Dave]

Nothing's the same

This is the same view up Stockton Street today, taken 104 years after the earthquake and fire. Not surprisingly, there's not a single structure surviving from the 1906 photograph. Most of these ruins were demolished and used for landfill along San Francisco's bay shore.

The spires of burnt-out Temple Emanu-El, rising above the ruins at center, have been replaced by a 1930's skyscraper named simply "450 Sutter." Its art deco bulk is the tallest feature on the right side of today's street view.

Fire hose connections

I see at least two fire hose connection manifolds such as the one prominent atop the wall at upper left, apparently not of much use in this case! Fire department had been complaining about low water pressure for some time prior to the disaster.

Sutter Street Synagogue

The impressive twin towered building on the right side of the street is the ruined Sutter Street Synagogue, the home of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco's pioneer Jewish congregation. The vaguely Moorish Revival style building was built in 1866.

Nice standpipe

Up there on the seventh floor. Pity the firefighters never got to use it.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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