City left in ruins

City left in ruins

Perhaps no single event has been more important to the San Francisco we know today than the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906.

The massive temblor struck at 5:12 a.m. April 18. Despite the fact that it was a major quake — it preceded the Richter scale by decades, but estimates peg it at 7.8 magnitude — the fires that broke out afterward did the most damage. Thousands died and hundreds of thousands were left homeless.

Having no ability to print newspapers in San Francisco after the quake, the three major dailies of the time — the Examiner, Call and Chronicle — banded together to put out the news. The joint edition the next day (pictured at right) was printed in Oakland. As the days passed and operations were restored, the full scale of damage became clear in the pages of The Examiner.

In the ensuing years, building standards and codes would be revised so as to withstand the next big one. Many structures built after the 1906 quake stood tall through the 1989 temblor.

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