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San Francisco Earthquake

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1906 [unknown]
Location: San Francisco, California, United Statesmap
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1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire

The 1906 San Francisco earthquake affected 375,000 square miles, (half in Pacific Ocean). It ruptured ground surface along the San Andreas Fault -290 miles. It was felt from Oregon, to Los Angeles, and as far east as central Nevada.

Shifted ground 4 - 5 feet per second, while the rupture traveled at about 5,900 miles per hour.
  • Devastated northern California areas including Santa Rosa, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. Trees standing near the fault were either uprooted or broken off. Per Dr. John C. Branner of Stanford University, QUOTE “The forest looked as though a swath had been cut through it two hundred feet in width.” In little less than a mile he counted 345 earthquake cracks running in all directions.
24 feet of lateral surface slippage near Point Reyes Station.
  • Property damage of $400 million, ($8 billion in today’s dollars).
  • over 225,000 of the city’s 400,000 residents were homeless.
  • Fires destroyed ~ 28,000 buildings and 500 blocks – ¼ of San Francisco.
  • San Francisco spent $90 million on reconstruction in 19 months.
  • Fires burned 3 days and 3 nights; some were as hot as 2,700°F.
  • Fires were more catastrophic than the earthquake itself.
  • Navy contributed to putting out fires by running water lines, providing water to the city’s fire department for their steam engines.
'Ham and Eggs' Fire
After the quake, a woman lit up her stove to prepare breakfast, not knowing the chimney (above her stove) was badly damaged. This started the 24-hour long 'Ham and Eggs' fire, which destroyed parts of City Hall and Market Street. The site of the original spark in Hayes Valley is stated as 395 Hayes Street, which now houses the 'Caffe Delle Stelle', a classic Italian restaurant.
  • San Francisco received approximately $9 million in relief from individuals, cities, states, the federal government, and other countries.



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