4 in HIGH x 5 in WIDE
(10.16 cm HIGH x 12.70 cm WIDE)
Gift of Patricia Brenzel Vercelli

One of two negatives found in the same original envelope. original envelope reads, "Clay Street @ Embarcadero." The two negatives were both attached to a note within the envelope that identified Battery and Clay Streets.

At 5:15 a.m. on April 18, 1906, Californians from Eureka to Salinas were jolted by an estimated 7.7-7.9-magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas Fault. The force of the quake destroyed the downtown of Santa Rosa, caused chaos in San Jose and Stanford University, and caused alarm and death in Oakland. San Francisco, California's largest city at the time, was subjected to the most destruction. Thousands took to the streets; the dramatic event left them speechless. Areas of the city founded on swamps and landfill were the hardest hit. Cheap lodging houses like the Valencia, Brunswick, and Denver transformed into coffins for many working-class San Franciscans who were still sleeping when the earthquake hit. San Franciscans living in more affluent neighborhoods did not experience the same force of the earthquake. The earthquake alone would have significantly altered San Francisco; but it would be four days of fires, referred to as the great fire, and dynamiting done to stop the fires completing the devastation. Small flames started about an hour after the earthquake and due to a lack of water and outdated firefighting systems; firefighters could not control the flames. For four days, the fires had raged, destroying everything in their path. In the end, an estimated 3,000 perished and there was 500 million in 1906 dollars in damages. The earthquake and great fire wiped out three-fifths of the city's housing, municipal government buildings, the financial capital of the West, and landmarks such as City Hall. The city was destroyed. The earthquake and fire displaced approximately 325,000 San Franciscans, 75,000 of them fled the city. The other 250,000 victims of the disaster established makeshift camps in park areas, empty lots, and cemeteries amidst the burnt out ruins and fled to the outer edges of San Francisco seeking food and shelter. Excerpt from Aftershock! Centennial Exhibition write-up, 2005.

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