Haunting images of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire

The San Francisco Chronicle has published a selection of photographs from its archives covering the 1906 earthquake and fire.  Here are just three examples, reduced in size to fit this blog.

There are many more at the link, all in larger sizes.  Interesting viewing in general, and essential for those who enjoy history.



  1. A very good book on the subject is "San Francisco is Burning," by Dennis Smith, a retired FDNY firefighter. (I read his "Report From Engine Co. 82" back in the 70s, when he was still working.)
    It describes the fire, has maps showing the day-by-day progression, and describes the tragedies that accompanied the earthquake and fire. (The only fireman killed in the earthquake was the fire chief, who was the only one in the fire department with the plan and the knowledge to fight the fire. The SFPD at the time was as corrupt as the rest of SF city government.)
    He finishes up the book with an overview of SF's plans regarding a new earthquake and fire. (Hint: They won't work.)
    A good read, and I highly recommend it.

  2. My grandpa was there during the quake. They would not take paper money for the ferry ride out of SF, only gold or silver. Without the 'real" money it was an overland trip a long way south.
    When I was born he got five silver dollars, built a wooden frame/case and glued them on green cloth inside it.
    He told my mom that was so I'd always have some real money on hand.

    She told me he looked but was not able to get a $5 gold piece when I was born in 1953.

  3. Those balloon photos show that nearly every building in SF burned. That was obvious due to all the missing roofs, which were not so obvious from street level photos. Stone buildings tend to look ok from a distance, otherwise.

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