Anyone read anything about the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906?

I just read a book called Earthquake at Dawn, and while fiction, it has some photos from a lady photographer who lived through it and excerpts from another lady's journal. I was amazed at how politicians then, as now, cover things up no matter how it hurts the people.

The mayor at the the time was corrupt. The people knew it but couldn't really do much about it. After the quake, things were in ruins. No photos were allowed to be taken (this lady hid her camera in a baby buggy). No outside journalists were allowed in. He dynamited all the buildings, which made the fire worse - to cover up the proof that the building materials used were below standard. Doctors were forced to down play the number of dead.

Amazing to me that things like this are still being allowed today.

5 Answers

  • ck1
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There were plenty of photographs taken at the time. In fact, though Kodak starting making smaller box cameras - starting in 1906 - they were still on the large side. I wouldn't think that someone could take photographs surreptitiously at that period.

    As to the politicians, I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were corrupt politicians then as now. After all, wasn't there corruption in the Roman Empire? Human nature hasn't changed. Of this specific mayor, I know nothing. However, from what I've read, some of those fires were set by accident by firemen, unused to the use of dynamite, trying to stop the fires but instead creating more. There were also some people who set fire to their own properties.

    There is a quote which can be found at the San Francisco museum and which Wikipedia has on its site. I have sandwiched in between square brackets what I've copied from Wikipedia: [Captain Leonard D. Wildman of the U.S. Army Signal Corps reported that he "was stopped by a fireman who told me that people in that neighborhood were firing their houses... They were told that they would not get their insurance on buildings damaged by the earthquake unless they were damaged by fire."]

    You should read a non-fiction account before assuming everything in this fictional account is true.

    You can also check online at (among many other places):

    I, too, read a really good work of fiction that was centered around the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 called The Trembling Hills by Phyllis A. Whitney. You may also be interested in the One Step Beyond episode concerning that earthquake (called Earthquake, I believe). It was very interesting.

  • 1 decade ago

    As a resident of San Francisco, I have much both fact and fiction about the Great 1906 Earthquake. There are movies about it played at the tourist traps too. I missed the 1989 quake, since I was visiting relatives on the east coast when it occurred.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 substitute right into a substantial earthquake that struck San Francisco and the coast of northern California at 5:12 A.M. on Wednesday, April 18, 1906.[a million] the main notably regularly used estimate for the cost of the earthquake is a 2d value (Mw) of 7.8; although, different values have been proposed from 7.7 to as excessive as 8.3.[2] The mainshock epicenter exceeded off offshore approximately 2 miles (3 km) from the city, close to Mussel Rock. It ruptured alongside the San Andreas Fault the two northward and southward for a entire length of 296 miles (477 km).[3] Shaking substitute into felt from Oregon to l. a., and inland so some distance as substantial Nevada. The earthquake and ensuing hearth is remembered as between the worst organic failures interior the history of u . s .. The demise toll from the earthquake and ensuing hearth represents the proper demise from a organic catastrophe in California's history. Contents on the time, in straightforward terms 375 deaths have been pronounced. additionally, hundreds of casualties in Chinatown went skipped over and unrecorded simply by racism on the time. as we talk, this discern has been revised to an estimate of a minimum of three,000. various the deaths exceeded off in San Francisco itself, yet 189 have been pronounced someplace else around the San Francisco Bay area. different places interior the Bay area which includes Santa Rosa, San Jose, and Stanford college additionally suffered excessive injury. residences broken by utilising the earthquake. between 225,000 and 3 hundred,000 human beings have been left homeless out of a inhabitants of approximately 410,000; a million/2 of the earthquake evacuees fled around the bay to Oakland and Berkeley. as properly, lots of the city's maximum proper poets and writers retreated to Carmel-by utilising-the-Sea the place, as "The Bohemians", they wide-unfold the humanities colony popularity that keeps as we talk. The destruction of particularly some public homes housing citizenship archives enabled many non-citizen chinese language citizens to declare citizenship by utilising distinctive function of their meant beginning archives that were misplaced during the catastrophe, coming up a backdoor to the chinese language Exclusion Act and bearing in mind an inflow of immigration.

  • 6 years ago

    You might enjoy Howard Pease's book "Thunderbolt House." Although a work of fiction, the descriptions of the earthquake seem fairly accurate. My grandparents and 1 year old aunt were forced to flee to Potrero Hill to live in an earthquake shack which they shared with another family. My father was born one year later. The militia made my grandpa leave everything behind in his restaurant/residence south of Market where the new stadium now stands. All of his money was stolen. Every day he and other volunteers would go out and help with the rubble and rebuilding.

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  • s d
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    There is a magic treehouse book that is about the earthquake? It may not be what you are looking for, though.

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