A Project for Better Journalism chapter
SF Story

The Day the Earth Quaked

This past April marks the 110th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, a momentous event in San Francisco history. A city built so frantically in the midst of the gold rush was hit with an 8.3 quake that lasted for about a minute, which was then followed by the even more disastrous fires that raged for three days and destroyed nearly 500 city blocks. Below is a passage from The Call-Chronicle-Examiner, on Thursday, April 19th, 1906, the day after the earthquake.

Earthquake and Fire: San Francisco in Ruins 

“Death and destruction have been the fate of San Francisco. Shaken by a tremor at 5:13 o’clock yesterday morning, the shock lasting 48 seconds, and scourged by flames that raged diametrically in all directions, the city is a mass of smoldering ruins. At six o’clock last evening the flames seemingly playing with increased vigor, threatened to destroy such sections as their fury had spared during the earlier portion of the day…. How far they are reaching… cannot be told.”