Sunday, September 7, 2014

San Francisco, remembering the Great Earthquake and Fire of 18 April 1906: 7 September 2014

The walk I took ascended to the top of Telegraph Hill and the top of Russian Hill. About 50% of the hike was within the area that was devastated by the fire. The primary cause of property destruction resulted from the fire, not the earthquake.The fire lasted four days as it moved unimpeded through a large section of the city. City officials and the US Army declared a State of Emergency and San Francisco Mayor Eugene Schmitz made the following proclamation:



The route with mile markers shown. The approximate distance covered, as measured by a GPS receiver, was 6.7 miles. Click on the image to see the full-size map.

Map of San Francisco, April 18-21, 1906. 

Showing limits of the burned area destroyed by the fire of April 18th - 21st, 1906, following the earthquake of April 18th, 1906. Prepared from the best information available in the office of the Chief Engineer, Pacific Division, U.S. Army. May 1906.

Within the burned area three locations were not destroyed by the four days of fire. They are Telegraph Hill, Russian Hill and a small area between Jackson Street, Montgomery Street, Washington Street and Battery Street.

The map is held by the Bancroft Library, the University of California, Berkeley. Click the image to see the full-size map.
THEN This photograph was taken from Sacramento Street at Miles Place (now Miller Place) by Arnold Genthe during the morning of 18 April 1906.  Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Mr. Genthe stated that the photograph showed 
the results of the earthquake, the beginning of the fire and the attitude of the people.” And, “I found that my hand cameras had been so damaged by the falling plaster as to be rendered useless. I went to Montgomery Street to the shop of George Kahn, my dealer, and asked him to lend me a camera. 'Take anything you want. This place is going to burn up anyway.' I selected the best small camera, a 3A Kodak Special I stuffed my pockets with films and started out.... Of the pictures I had made during the fire, there are several, I believe, that will be of lasting interest. There is particularly the one scene that I recorded the morning of the first day of the fire (along Sacramento Street, looking toward the Bay) which shows, in a pictorially effective composition, the results of the earthquake, the beginning of the fire and the attitude of the people. On the right is a house, the front of which had collapsed into the street. The occupants are sitting on chairs calmly watching the approach of the fire. Groups of people are standing in the street, motionless, gazing at the clouds of smoke. When the fire crept up close, they would just move up a block. It is hard to believe that such a scene actually occurred in the way the photograph represents it. Several people upon seeing it have exclaimed, "Oh, is that a still from a Cecil De Mille picture?" To which the answer has been, “No. the director of this scene was the Lord himself.
NOW I took this photograph on 13 September 2014. It was taken from the same location that Arnold Genthe took his iconic photograph on 18 April 1906. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
This photograph was taken from Drumm Street, which is located in the Financial District. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

A Financial District apartment building. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
An old brick building located on Battery Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view of the east side of Telegraph Hill as seen from Sansome Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
The Filbert Street Stairway accesses Telegraph Hill from the east. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
On Napier Lane, Telegraph Hill. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
Coit Tower is located at the summit of Telegraph Hill. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view from the summit (elevation 275 feet) of Telegraph Hill looking northwest. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
A view of the steeples of Saints Peter and Paul Church as seen from Greenwich Street. The church is located at Filbert Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view of Scotland Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

Two young ladies are strolling down Columbus Avenue. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.


A parking garage located on Filbert Street, in the North Beach neighborhood. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
A young lady is passing by Cafe Pellegrini which is located on Columbus Avenue, North Beach. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Pho Vung Tau Vietnamese restaurant is located on Vallejo Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
A view from the summit of Russian Hill (294 feet), looking west down Vallejo Street. The Presidio is the wooded area in the background. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
A Victorian house located on Vallejo Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
A picture taken from the summit of Fillmore Street looking north toward San Francisco Bay. The town of Tiburon is in the distance. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
Heading south on Fillmore Street, through the Upper Fillmore commercial/shopping district. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
San Francisco City Hall was rebuilt in a new location after the earthquake and fire; it reopened in 1915. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
Old City Hall, built over a period of 25 years, was destroyed by the earthquake and fire of 1906. It was located three blocks from the location of the current City Hall structure. The site of the old city hall is now occupied by the New Main LibraryClick on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The War Memorial Opera House was completed in 1932. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
The Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall was completed in 1980. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.”-Dorothea Lange

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