I spent most of Thanksgiving week updating vintage 1906 Earthquake pictures around Downtown San Francisco. This doesn’t have much to do with current events, except that the COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 has changed life in San Francisco more than anything in the history of the city since the 1906 disaster; with the possible exception of World War Two. Anyway, April of next year will be the 115th anniversary of that nightmare, so I may as well get an early start on the commemorating. Hopefully, things will be more back to normal by April of 2021, and San Francisco can look back at COVID-19 as a sad memory from the past, as well. Stay with me awhile as we rummage around the ruins of 1906 San Francisco. (Thumbnail images)
We’ll start out with an Arnold Genthe photograph of the ruins of William Randolph Hearst’s Examiner Building at 3rd and Market Street. The modern picture is the building Hearst rebuilt after the earthquake and fire. (The Art Institute of Chicago)
Looking south from Kearny, you can see the Hearst Building, in between the Chronicle Building on the left and the Call Building on the right, being dynamited. The remodeled Call Building is right center in the modern photo, and you can just see a portion if the red Chronicle Building on the left. (Monovision)
Looking east along Market Street from Stockton Street: The Gothic looking Mutual Savings Bank Building in the center and the Call Building on the right, are in both photos.
An old postcard of the ruined Emporium Building, now the Westfield Centre:
Looking west along Post Street from Kearny Street: (The Library of Congress)
Looking east along Market Street from Kearny Street; this one turned out better in black in white because of the Market Street Canyon shadows. On the right are the old and new Palace Hotel, on the far left is the Chronicle Building. (The Library of Congress)
Looking east down Pine Street toward Montgomery Street: (rarehistoricalphotos.com)
The old Hall of Justice Building across Kearny Street, (spelled wrong in the vintage picture) from Portsmouth Square: The new Hall of Justice Building, built to replace the one destroyed in 1906, can be seen in many films and several television shows. Demolished in 1968, a Hilton Hotel where the pedestrian bridge crosses Kearny Street is was where the Hall of Justice Buildings stood. (Monovision)
Looking east down Sacramento Street from Chinatown: You can see the Ferry Building in the background of the vintage picture. (rarehistoricalphotos.com)
Two blocks up Nob Hill from the previous picture at Sacramento and Powell Streets is where Arnold Genthe took his famous picture of San Franciscans watching their city being destroyed. This picture of his makes it on many lists as being one of the greatest photographs of all time.
Looking east on Geary Blvd past Union Square toward Stockton Street:
Union Square and the Dewey Monument looking toward the St. Francis Hotel before the northern wing was built: Normally, Union Square would be crazy tomorrow on “Black Friday”, but that won’t be the case this year. (Shorpy Archives)