San Francisco, 110 Years Ago Today — A Few Days Before the Great Earthquake

The film that’s reproduced in this video was taken by a camera mounted on the front of a San Francisco cable car on 14 April 1906.

That was four days before the Great Earthquake, which lends the film a certain Last Days of Pompeii quality.

David Lemon, who posted the video to YouTube, included a detailed commentary in his notes on the site.  He mentions, for instance, that historians have been able to identify the owners of the cars that appear in the film by looking at old license plate records, which sort of demonstrates both that end of privacy isn’t new, and that once it’s on the Internet, it’s forever.

Best viewed in short doses–it gets repetitive–and with sound effects muted.

William Del Monte

Photo from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Photo from the San Francisco Chronicle.

This is Bill Del Monte, who was the last known survivor of the 1906 earthquake.  He was less than three months old when it hit, and died just three months ago, at 109 years old.

The San Francisco Chronicle gave him a nice write-up when he died.


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