SPECIAL SERIES : Commemorating the 1906 Earthquake
Commemorating the 'Quake, 100 Years Later
Several events leading up to 1906 hundreth anniversary
March 31, 2006 7:47 PM
On April 18th, 1906, an earthquake hit San Francisco so hard that its force almost destroyed the city by the bay. One hundred years later, [X]press takes a look at the earthquake heard 'round the world.
At the time SF State, then known as San Francisco Normal School, was located on Powell Street.The earthquake destroyed the campus and all records predating 1906.
“The staff and students moved across the Bay to Oakland's Grant School for eleven weeks, and then in June moved back to the site which many of us call the "Old Campus," Helene Whitson, former SF State archivist for 35 years, told the [X]press. “Now [the] UC Extension at the corner of Buchanan and Hermann. It was only one block in size at that time, and we later gained another block. We were the first public school in the city to re-open after the fire.”
San Franciscans were eager to restore living and business standards back to their condition prior to the earthquake. With the opening of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915, San Francisco business men helped finance the fair to ensure that San Francisco was still a major city.
Several fires broke out in the city following the earthquake. Many were uncontrollable, destroying 87 percent of all buildings and homes in San Francisco, according to 1906, written by James Dalessndro. The 1906 earthquake left 250,000 refugees, slightly more than half of San Francisco’s population of 450,000 at the time. 15,000 refugees sought out shelter and supplies in the Presidio.
Currently, the Presidio is hosting the 1906 Earthquake and the Army Exhibit. Located near the Old Post Hospital at Lincoln Boulevard and Funston Avenue, Army tents are set up to recreate the refugee camps of 1906. The tents include exhibits showing the Army’s role in relief efforts.
Other events marking the 1906 earthquake include:
—1906 Great Earthquake and Fire Exposition at Pier 48. April 15-April 17, 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily. Free to the public. Sponsored by the San Francisco Fire Department Historical Society. The event will feature memorabilia from the quake, vintage fire equipment, earthquake and fire safety awareness exhibits and live entertainment. Local schools are encouraged to take field trips to the expo on Monday, April 17, when the focus will be on education.
—1906 Expo Firefighter Ball, Pier 48, Shed C. April, 15, 8 p.m.-midnight. Tickets are $50 each. Sponsored by the San Francisco Fire Department Historical Society. There will be a dance, live entertainment and a costume contest. Attendees are encouraged to wear turn-of-the-century attire.
—Gala dinner at the Palace Hotel. April 17, reception begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $500 per person or $1,500 for two tickets to the dinner, an overnight stay at the hotel and a commemorative breakfast the following morning. Sponsored by the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society and the Chinese Historical Society of America.
—Lotta’s Fountain Annual Commemoration. April 18, 4:30-5:30 a.m. Market Street, at the intersection of Kearny, Third and Geary streets. This is the centerpiece of the city’s anniversary events and will pay tribute to those who perished, feature more than a dozen quake survivors and mark the exact moment the quake struck.
—1906 Earthquake and Fire Parade. April 18, 10 a.m. The parade begins at City Hall and proceeds down Market Street to Justin Herman Plaza, where there will be live entertainment and historic exhibits.
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