Earth Quake 1906
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View West up California Street from Merchants Exchange, 1906

The Earthquake and fire of 1906 left over 10 million cubic yards of wreckage that had to be cleared before reconstruction could begin. The business district and three-fifths of the entire city was in ruins, and damage was estimated at $500m. The Fairmont Hotel, at the top of the hill, was about to debut at the time of the earthquake.

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San Francisco Earthquake of 1906

The junction of Leavenworth and McAllister Streets; City Hall Avenue; near Leavenworth; and a small area of Market Street. The large building in the foreground is the City Hall and the Hall of Records

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City Hall, from the corner of Ninth and Market, after the Earthquake, 1906


The new $6m building, which had been under construction for 20 years, was considered by some to be more noble as a ruin. Entire walls crumbled and massive stone columns fell into the street, leaving the relatively intact dome oddly perched above the twisted debris.

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Fire Burning after the Earthquake, April 1906

Multiple fires swept the City for four days, erupting from damage to gas lines and electric wires, fuelled by the wooden debris. The City's water system had not been upgraded to cope with a major fire threat and key water mains were broken, leaving the hydrants empty. Many buildings were dynamited to create firebreaks.


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Ruins of Hibernia Bank Building, Market and Jones Streets, after the 1906 Earthquake

Wreckage of the Hibernia Bank Building, Jones and McAllister streets. This view shows the McAllister/Market Street-side of the structure.

This building was repaired, and temporarily housed the Harbor Police Station after the earthquake. It was restored to bank use, and again became a police substation when the Hibernia Bank closed in the late 1980s.


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Call Building from Stockton Street after the Earthquake of 1906

The tall structure to the left is the Mutual Savings Bank, and slightly to the center is the Call Building. Both are still standing, though the Call Building was drastically modernized in the 1930s, and is today known as Central Towers.

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Rubble after the Earthquake and Fire, April 1906

Over 3000 deaths were caused by the catastrophe, primarily in San Francisco. The population of San Francisco at the time was about 400,000, and over half were rendered homeless. 28,000 buildings were destroyed.


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Earthquake damage on Howard Street ( South Van Ness) between 17th and 18th Streets 1906

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Ruins after the 1906 Earthquake in San Francisco -

structure was near the City Hall

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