The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on Wednesday, April 18 with an estimated moment magnitude of 7.9 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of XI (Extreme). High intensity shaking was felt from Eureka on the North Coast to the Salinas Valley, an agricultural region to the south of the San Francisco Bay Area. Devastating fires soon broke out in the city and lasted for several days.
Thousands of homes were dismantled. As a result, up to 3,000 people died and over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed. The events are remembered as one of the worst and deadliest earthquakes in the history of the United States. The death toll remains the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California’s history and high in the lists of American disasters.
These incredible photos of the San Francisco 1906 Earthquake and Fire came to the San Francisco Public Library in 1975. The photos were discovered in the San Francisco Police Department Photo Lab in the Hall of Justice. The photographer is not known. It is believed that the the San Francisco Police Department photo laboratory was used as an emergency center for photographers immediately after the 1906 catastrophe.
Street scenes of San Francisco after the earthquake, April 1906