Saturday, September 26, 2009

California Street after the 1906 Earthquake

This card was sent from Petaluma, California on May 4, 1906, which shows just how quickly postcard printers reacted to the disaster of April 18th. The picture on the card shows the destruction on California Street in downtown San Francisco. The earthquake was felt as far away as Oregon and Los Angeles, and damage extended from Eureka south to San Jose. The death toll from the earthquake and the fire that followed it was estimated to be about 3,000. Nearly half the population of San Francisco fled for Berkeley and Oakland. Yesterday's card is a perfect example of that.
The resulting fire was much more destructive than the earthquake itself. On April 19th, the fire had reached Van Ness Avenue. In an unusual move, the army dynamited the beautiful mansions along Van Ness to establish a firebreak and save the rest of the city.

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