June 6, 1915
An earthquake with an abrupt rocking motion at 9:51 a.m.
June 22, 1915
October 1, 1915
October 7, 1915
November 1, 1915
August 6, 1916
September 12, 1917
September 24, 1917
October 2, 1917
October 26, 1917
February 25, 1919
September 4, 1919
November 25, 1919
December 5, 1919
September 9, 1920
October 5, 1920
January 31, 1922
March 10, 1922
January 22, 1923
September 1, 1923
April 3, 1924
December 29, 1924
February 10, 1925
June 29, 1925
July 19, 1925
September 30, 1925
January 6, 1926
June 29, 1926
October 22, 1926
January 1, 1927
February 15, 1927
September 2, 1927
November 4, 1927
May 28, 1928
March 10, 1933
October 18, 1935
June 30, 1941
October 21, 1941
July 21, 1952
August 22, 1952
December 21, 1954
April 15, 1956
April 18, 1956
March 22, 1957
Three-alarm fire at Mission and Duboce shortly after the earthquake in buildings scheduled to be torn down for the new Central Freeway. Fire Chief William F. Murray said the fire was not earthquake caused, but communications were jammed because of the tremor. Five firemen were injured.
Many buildings suffered damage in the earthquake. KPIX at 2655 Van Ness suffered broken windows as did the Palace Hotel. The top floor of St. Anne's School at 13th and Irving was badly damaged, but the children were safe. The McCreery Branch of the library, on Sixteenth near Market was so badly damaged that it would be razed. The Presidio, Sunset and Richmond branch libraries were also damaged. A water main broke at City Hall and flooded Mole Hall under construction at Civic Center. Masonry fell from California Hall at Turk and Polk streets, and Central Emergency Hospital at 50 Ivy St. reported at least 50 people were treated for injuries. There was much glass and plaster damage at the ParkMerced Apartments, and the road at Lake Merced collapsed. Sheridan Elementary, Longfellow, Mission High and Park Presidio Junior High were closed because of earthquake damage.
English comedianne Gracie Fields said, "We were on the 16th floor of a hotel when the earthquake it. We were picked up like a wedding cake, shaken and then dropped to the floor again. It was very exciting." Plaster fell in the corridors at the Hall of Justice on Kearny St., but there were no injuries in the building.
The Municipal Organ, largest west of Chicago, had broken pipes and a dislodged harp attachment which would cost $300 to repair, according to James T. Graham, auditorium supervisor. At Golden Gate Park, the Portals of the Past, remnants of the Nob Hill home of A.N. Towne from 1906, were damaged by the earthquake when one column fell.
March 23, 1957
Speaking from his laboratory in Pasadena, Dr. Charles Richter said, This is not a prediction; it is only another way of saying that in California we must learn to live with the constant possibility of a serious earthquake."
Admiral A.G. Cook, the city's civil defense director, said a minimum of 70,000 homes had been damaged in the Bay Area by the earthquake.
March 24, 1957
March 26, 1957
April 1, 1957
April 7, 1957
April 9, 1957
April 29, 1957
April 30, 1957
November 25, 1959
January 3, 1961
August 11, 1963
March 27, 1964
April 3, 1965
June 27, 1966
September 12, 1966
April 18, 1969
February 9, 1971
February 21, 1971
May 20, 1971
September 7, 1973
September 23, 1973
August 1, 1975
November 7, 1975
January 1, 1976
August 13, 1978
January 19, 1979
March 15, 1979
August 6, 1979
October 15, 1979
January 24, 1980
January 26, 1980
May 25, 1980
May 27, 1980
November 8, 1980
April 26, 1981
May 2, 1983
April 24, 1984
July 21, 1984
November 23, 1984
September 19, 1985
September 30, 1985
October 2, 1985
February 26, 1986
April 9, 1986
July 8, 1986
July 21, 1986
October 1, 1987
November 4, 1987
November 14, 1987
November 23, 1987
February 20, 1988
June 10, 1988
December 3, 1988
February 9, 1989
April 3, 1989
October 17, 1989
The earthquake knocked out power to San Francisco, and the city was dark for the first time since the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Power was fully restored by October 20. Emergency telephone service became sporadic because a fire broke out in the 9-1-1 telephone equipment room, and citizens had to rely on fire alarm boxes for three days for emergency protection from fire. The quake killed 62 people throughout Central California, injured 3757 and left more than 12,000 homeless.
At least 27 fires broke out across the City, including a major blaze in the Marina District where apartment buildings sank into a lagoon filled with bay mud in preparation for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Dozens of people were rescued by firefighters from fallen buildings in the area that were imperiled by the flames. As they had done in 1906, citizens formed a bucket brigade to help firefighters who were without water because of broken mains. A magnitude 5.2 aftershock struck 37 minutes after the initial shock.
Interstate 280 rocked so viciously during the earthquake that sections of the freeway slammed into one another, cracking off pieces. Some columns actually fractured, exposing the reinforcing steel in places where the concrete disintegrated. The Embarcadero Freeway along the Waterfront was nearly destroyed by the shaking, though Caltrans said it could be repaired.
Sporadic but minor looting broke out in the downtown Shopping District near Fifth and Market streets, the Inner Mission and Hunters Point areas. District Attorney Arlo Smith said, "If there's anyone arrested tonight for burglary or looting, tomorrow morning we're going to go into court and demand that there be no bail. Anyone engaged in that kind of conduct can expect maximum sentences." 24-year-old DeSoto Barker was shot and killed by a motorist upset by the earthquake chaos. DeSoto was at first depicted as a good Samaritan, but Police Inspector Michael Byrne later said he had stolen traffic flares from legitimate volunteers and provoked his own shooting death.
The earthquake triggered a four-foot tsunami wave in Monterey Bay as well as a huge undersea landslide. The sea level at Santa Cruz dropped three feet as water rushed out of the harbor. The tsunami wave took 20 minutes to travel from Santa Cruz to Monterey.
Lombard St., the "crookedest street in the world," was closed because a cable car was left stranded at Hyde and Lombard by the earthquake power failure.
Peoples Temple, housed in the former Albert Pike Memorial on Geary Blvd., was gravely damaged by the earthquake. The building had been badly damaged during the 1906 earthquake.
The Municipal Organ at Civic Auditorium was badly damaged by the earthquake, and was out of commission. It had also been damaged during the 1957 earthquake.
People in San Francisco, 56 miles from the epicenter, felt the earthquake about 23 seconds later than the people in Santa Cruz, 10 miles away. People in Sacramento, 100 miles distant, felt it about 22 seconds later. The strong motion recorder at Corralitos-Eureka Canyon Road, near the epicenter, recorded the earthquake beginning at 5:04:21 p.m. The first quake wave arrived one second later at the Fire Station in Capitola. The first wave began to shake the water tank at Gavilan College in Gilroy at 5:04:24 p.m. Strong motion instruments at the Pulgas Water Temple at Upper Crystal Springs Reservoir recorded the quake beginning at 5:04:31 p.m. The Sierra Point Freeway overpass monitor, nearest to Candlestick Park, recorded the quake at 5:04:34 p.m. The quake wave arrived at the Presidio of San Francisco, nearest the Marina District, at 5:04:37 with the heaviest shaking recorded at 5:04:47 p.m.
The performance of Mozart's "Idomeneo" at the Opera House was canceled after the earthquake. Water and sewage were flowing in the basement of the War Memorial and Veterans' Building. There was no word on whether "Otello" will open this weekend as scheduled.
October 18, 1989
Preliminary ratings for the ABC, CBS, and NBC earthquake specials Wednesday night indicated nearly half of all U.S. homes with television tuned in. According to A.C. Nielsen Co. estimates, ABCs special, "The Great Quake of `89," was highest-rated with 13.2 percent of all households watching. ABC received a strong 24.2 rating and a 35 share for its earthquake coverage in the prime 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT time slot last night.
Lt. Gov. Leo McCarthy called for an investigation to find out why the Bay Bridge was so badly damaged during the earthquake. McCarthy was the Acting Governor of California because Gov. Deukmejian was in Frankfort, West Germany.
Mark Smith of Los Angeles won a car in a KIIS-FM contest and promptly donated it to the Red Cross for earthquake relief. Disc Jockey Rick Dees and the station matched the $15,000 and gave Smith another car.
October 18, 1989
Vice President Dan Quayle and his wife, Marilyn, flew from San Diego to the Marina District. They left in four hours without making contact with Mayor Agnos, who had not slept since the earthquake. The mayor called the visit a "cheap publicity stunt." The Vice President reacted with deep emotion as he toured the Marina District. He said, "Just walking through here and seeing the loss of property, knowing of the loss of life, it hits you right here in the heart, and that's the reason I'm here."
Fire Chief Frederick F. Postel arrived at Moffett Field on a jet provided by the White House. The FBI helicoptered the chief to Central Fire Alarm Station on Turk St. where he took command of fire and rescue activities. Chief Postel was in Boston at the time of the earthquake.
October 19, 1989
Dept. of Public Works reported that earthquake-damaged buildings include the Asian Art Museum, de Young Museum, The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Main Library, Hall of Justice, Opera House, Richmond Police Station, Candlestick Park, the airport and Pier 45.
Earthquake in China killed 20 people. A spokesman at the State Seismological Institute said there was no known connection with the earthquake in San Francisco.
GAP stores donated $100,000 to earthquake relief programs.
IBM donated $200,000 to the Red Cross for earthquake relief.
Independent Insurance Agents of American said the earthquake was the sixth-costliest disaster in history. Damage, they said, might exceed $1 billion.
The Lefty O'Doul Bridge over Third St. remained closed until it could be inspected for earthquake damage.
The Oakland Athletics voted not to have any champagne in their clubhouse if they win the World Series. "Because of the earthquake and the feeling of the club, we didn't think it would be appropriate," A's player Dave Parker said.
The U.S. dollar closed lower at 141.55 yen in Tokyo because of the earthquake and the worsening trade deficit. A dealer at Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank says "Recent developments did not provide any incentive to buy dollars."
October 20, 1989
Association of California Insurance Companies said insurance payout for earthquake damage may reach $2 billion.
Bechtel Corp. sent 80 engineers to the Marina District at 9 a.m. to inspect homes and apartment buildings for earthquake damage.
Cal/OSHA said its offices at 455 and 525 Golden Gate Ave., and 350 McAllister St. were closed because of earthquake damage.
Citicorp/Citibank donated $150,000 to the Red Cross for earthquake relief.
Economist Frank McCormick of the Bank of America in San Francisco said earthquake damage was likely to reach $10 billion.
Fire Dept. ordered evacuation of 706 Polk St. and 149 New Montgomery because of earthquake damage.
Ford Motor Co. donated $500,000 to the earthquake relief fund.
General Motors donated $500,000 to the Red Cross for earthquake relief.
Chrysler donated $100,000 for earthquake relief.
Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York assisted in coping with Tuesday's devastating earthquake. In a letter to Gov. George Deukmejian, Cuomo said, "New York stands ready to assist in any way we can." The New York Air National Guard had already sent crews to relieve California Air Guard members.
Governor George Deukmejian told NBC-TV: "Over the six-and-a-half, nearly seven years, that I've been Governor, I've never once been told by our people that we had any kind of a problem with respect to our freeways holding up under an earthquake situation, the severity of the one that we experienced here. So this came as a big surprise to me, a terrible disappointment."
Great Western Bank gave $100,000 to the Red Cross for earthquake relief.
Mayor Agnos informed enraged survivors in the Marina District that they have just 15 minutes to enter their earthquake-damaged homes to retrieve belongings prior to demolition. 60 buildings in the Marina District were destroyed. Agnos did not win in Marina District precincts during the next mayoral election.
McDonnell Douglas employees donated $100,000 to the earthquake relief fund.
Nissan Motor Co. donated $300,000 to the Red Cross Earthquake Relief fund.
Novell computer company donated $50,000 to the United Way for earthquake relief.
Partial list of earthquake dead released. Killed in San Francisco included Jeffrey Choi, 50; Yuk Lin Lau, 34; Scott Dickinson, 3 1/2 months; Donald McGlinchy, 59; and Diane Laufer, 40. Timothy Moss, 40, of San Francisco, was killed on the Cypress Freeway.
Portland Red Cross chapter shipped bread and other supplies to earthquake victims in San Francisco.
President Bush arrived at Moffett Field Naval Air Station to tour areas damaged by earthquake. He was briefed by civic leaders, including Mayor Agnos.
Proctor & Gamble donated products worth $300,000 to earthquake victims.
Sony Corp. donated $1 million for San Francisco earthquake relief.
Tass news agency reported that the Soviet government offered to send doctors, geologists and rescue workers to assist with San Francisco earthquake relief.
October 22, 1989
U.S. Navy helicopter carrier U.S.S. Peleliu housed 300 displaced earthquake victims who boarded at 1 p.m. at Pier 30-32. The Peleliu was one of three amphibious ships dispatched from San Diego to assist earthquake recovery efforts.
October 24, 1989
Bank America Corp. shares dropped $1.25 on the New York Stock Exchange on an unfounded rumor that the bank's California and Kearny Street headquarters building was damaged by the earthquake. A bank spokesman said that the structure was not harmed by the temblor and isn't owned by the bank.
Bank of America Chairman and Chief Executive Officer A. W. Clausen was named chairman of the American Red Cross earthquake disaster relief campaign.
Congress began debate on an earthquake relief bill. "We were hit by ten times the amount of explosive power of World War II, including the atomic bomb," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, "Please give us a chance to rebuild." A Wisconsin congressman complained that the median home price in San Francisco is $350,000, and Californians don't need help because of their waste and affluence.
First major convention since the earthquake opened at the Civic Auditorium. Don Dowd, spokesman for the Computer-Aided Software Engineering Conference and Exposition said, "Our keynote speaker addressed a full house and our exhibits are open as scheduled, with about 1,500 delegates in attendance. No one here is talking about the earthquake - they're talking about improving their information technology systems."
October 25, 1989
Evangelist Billy Graham toured the Marina District today. "I don't think we can say this earthquake was sent by God," he said. "We have to keep in mind that he is a God of love, mercy. Why this earthquake took place, I can't explain. I can only explain God gives grace, peace, and strength to those who trust in Him."
John Beckman, a survivor of the 1906 earthquake, died in Sherman Oak, Ca. Beckman designed sets for the motion pictures "Casablanca," "The Maltese Falcon," and the hit TV sitcom "Designing Women." He was 91.
Mayor Agnos said engineers have determined that Candlestick Park wasn't seriously damaged by the earthquake and game three of the world Series could play on Friday. Rain hampered both the A's and the Giants in their attempts to practice at Candlestick. The A's go to Phoenix for workouts today and tomorrow.
Pacific Union Co. said there was no evidence the earthquake will effect the real estate market. "Contrary to what the rest of the U.S. might believe, buyer interest has actually increased since last week's earthquake," said William Jansen, president of Pacific Union Residential Brokerage. "Many buyers hope to find good deals as a result of an expected seller's panic," he said.
San Francisco Chronicle poll showed three out of four residents in 10 Bay Area counties admitted having emotional problems since the earthquake. About two-thirds said they were worried about another major tremor.
October 26, 1989
President Bush signed a $3.45 billion earthquake relief package for California.
San Francisco Examiner published a 16-page earthquake photo section documenting the day of the earthquake and its aftermath.
The California Office of Tourism suggested that earthquake effects were exaggerated. In a news release it said, "The greater San Francisco Bay Area has rebounded quickly from a major earthquake that struck the region on Oct. 17. Damage to lodging facilities, convention centers and attractions was minimal, and all major airports in the area are open and operating at full service."
October 27, 1989
Southern Pacific inaugurated round-the-bay shuttle service between Oakland and San Francisco to help in the distribution of freight while earthquake damage to bridges and highways were being repaired.
The California Grape and Tree Fruit League delivered a truckload of fresh fruit for earthquake survivors at Glide Memorial Church.
October 28, 1989
California Conservation Corps. members continued to work 24-hour shifts to help Marina District residents retrieve valuables from their homes and assist with traffic control. The San Francisco Conservation Corps also provided meals to earthquake victims in the Tenderloin.
City Archivist Gladys Hansen wanted to know where you were when the earthquake hit. She was compiling the stories of all Bay Area residents as she and her staff of five began what she called "the most important" earthquake project of all. She asked people from all over the Bay Area to write or record their memories of what happened to them. So far, she has received about 50 letters.
Evangelist Virgi Rosemond preached through a bullhorn at Halladie Plaza today. "Jesus said he would send earthquakes to Godless places. This city's wicked, like Sodom and Gomorrah, where men love men more than they love God," she railed on behalf of the True Hope Pentecostal Church of God.
Part of the proceeds of the 10th annual Exotic Erotic Halloween Ball went to earthquake relief. More than 10,000 celebrants attended.
San Francisco law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe donated an additional $100,000 to the earthquake relief effort, which brought its total donation to $150,000.
October 29, 1989
Jefferson Airplane earthquake relief concert at Golden Gate Park's Polo Field.
October 30, 1989
The U.S. Court of Appeals and Post Office facilities at 7th and Mission streets suffered extensive damage in the earthquake and will remain closed until repaired. The building was severely damaged in 1906.
October 31, 1989
October 31, 1989
November 1, 1989
November 2 1989
November 3, 1989
The San Francisco earthquake spurred Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre to propose an earthquake safety ballot bond measure for L.A. to provide up to $300 million for seismic improvements to city buildings, housing projects, bridges and unreinforced apartment buildings. Alatorre's proposal was expected to be considered by the L.A. council Tuesday.
November 4, 1989
Gov. Deukmejian named 10 members to a Board of Inquiry to investigate collapses of Cypress Freeway and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The panel was headed by nationally known earthquake engineering expert George Housner.
November 6, 1989
November 7, 1989
November 13, 1989
November 14, 1989
November 15, 1989
November 15, 1989
November 16, 1989
November 18, 1989
November 25, 1989
November 27, 1989
December 1, 1989
December 3, 1989
December 11, 1989
December 13, 1989
State officials said homeowners cannot be penalized if they refused to pay for mandatory earthquake insurance required under a new law that takes effect next July.
December 15, 1989
December 19, 1989
December 29, 1989
Go to 1990-1994 Earthquakes.