1906 Earthquake Damage Motion Pictures - Library of Congress
Museum of the City of San Francisco



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The Library of Congress holds several early motion pictures showing the aftermath of the Great Earthquake and Fire which may be downloaded for viewing. Movies are in the AVI format and average between 20-25 megabytes. Three frames from each motion picture, however, are available on the Library of Congress pages.
"Views of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Ruins" This film is a compilation of views and pans among the ruins of San Francisco after the earthquake and fire and dates from Wednesday, May 9, 1906. The film was shot in the downtown area along Market and Mission streets.
"Panorama of the Ruined City" This film is a compilation of panoramas filmed in the ruins of downtown San Francisco and outlying refugee camps following the 1906 earthquake and fire. The film dates from Wednesday, May 9, 1906.
"San Francisco After the 1906 Earthquake and Fire" This film is made up of five panoramas, four wide and one close-up, of the ruins of downtown San Francisco shortly after the 1906 disaster, plus a panorama and scene in a nearby refugee camp.
"1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Damage" For the surviving refugees, the first few weeks were hard; as aid poured in from around the country, thousands slept in tents in city parks, and all citizens were asked to do their cooking in the street. The scenes in the film are preceded by titles, many of which are sensationalized. One entire scene showing a family eating in the street was almost certainly staged for the camera.
"Army Relief for 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Survivors" 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.
"Exploded Gas Tanks, U.S. Mint, Emporium and Spreckel's Building"This film is a spectacular pan of the downtown area of San Francisco as seen from south of Market Street. The location among low ruins was ideal to view the tall ruined buildings along and north of Market Street. Since the facade of St. Patrick's Church is not visible in the pan, the film is probably later than May 9, the date the facade was demolished. The camera, placed on the east side of 4th Street near Natoma Street, one and two-thirds blocks south of Market Street, pans a full 240 degrees, from southwest to southeast.

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