Army Relief for 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Survivors

Early Motion Pictures

Item 5 of 6

Army pack train bringing supplies.

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United States : Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1906.


Copyright: no reg.

Duration: 1:46 at 15 fps.

Photographed: 1906. Location: San Francisco, California.

This film highlights the role of the United States Army in transporting supplies following the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco. The Army's relief operations headquarters was at their base, the Presidio, outside the burned part of the city. The Army played a major role in relief and refugee operations. In the first weeks after the fire, food, water, tents, blankets, medical supplies, and hay for horses, were the principal needs. To pay for these supplies, Congress appropriated nearly $2.5 million in emergency aid for San Francisco. An estimated 300,000 people were camped out in late April, but the number had dropped to 25,000 by July, and emergency relief switched to long-term care in the substantial camps of "earthquake cottages."

The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [31814] The first segment shows a series of loaded mule trains, guided by mules and horses. Many soldiers ride two-to-a-horse (or mule), possibly to facilitate quick unloading of supplies. Note the "Rough Rider"- style hats worn by many of the men. The dusty location is unclear; if the tower in the right distance is St. Boniface Church, the view could be west on Golden Gate Avenue from Van Ness Avenue. Note the young soldier approaching the camera [32230]. [32597] The second scene shows what is probably the same mule trains passing through an unburnt neighborhood. The row of Victorian homes, the distant slope, and the church on the hill suggest a possible view east on Geary Street from near Webster Street. If the location is correct, the supplies could be headed for the Hamilton Park refugee camp or for the Presidio supply center. Pack trains such as this were the quickest and most efficient method of transporting large amounts of supplies through the hilly and rubble-filled streets west of the docks.

Received: 3/23/59 from USDA film lab; ref print, dupe neg and arch pos; purchase Kleine (George) Collection.

Earthquakes--California--San Francisco.
Fires--California--San Francisco.
Disaster relief--California--San Francisco.
United States--Army--Cavalry.
San Francisco (Calif.)--History.

Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Kleine Optical Co., distributor.
Kleine (George) Collection DLC

1 reel (40 ft) : si., b&w ; 16 mm. ref print.

FLA 1369 (ref print)