The 1906 San Francisco earthquake was one of the most devastating disasters in the 20th century and one of the worst to ever strike a major city. The turn of the century buildings didn’t stand a chance against the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that, all told, destroyed around 80% of the city and 28,188 buildings. Many burning to the ground.
The devastation was total and complete, and until recently it was thought that no film footage of San Francisco in the aftermath existed. In one of the more remarkable historical finds in recent years, a copy of a film showing an extended tour of the demolished city was found at a bay area flea market, then digitized and released.
If you’re into history, this is like stepping into a time machine and walking into ground zero, 1906. The movie is 16 minutes long and gives a first hand look at the scope of a historic disaster in a way you could never understand solely through photographs.
For comparison purposes, this film, “A Trip Down Market Street” was made by the same filmmakers before the quake. It gives even more context to just how massive the damage to the city was.