Views of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Ruins

Early Motion Pictures

Item 1 of 6

Scenes in San Francisco. [No. 1]

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United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1906.


H77925 U.S. Copyright Office

Copyright: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company; 19May1906; H77925.

Duration: 2:14 at 15 fps.

Camera, Otis M. Gove.

Photographed: May 9, 1906. Location: Market and Mission streets, San Francisco, California.

This film is a compilation of views and pans among the ruins of San Francisco after the earthquake and fire and dates from Wednesday, May 9, 1906. The film was shot in the downtown area along Market and Mission streets.

The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [17715] The camera, positioned at the southwest corner of Mission and 5th streets, makes a hurried and jerky pan from the east side of 5th street eastward to the south side of Mission Street. At the start of the pan, the ruined Lincoln School building is seen, with the dark profile of the Flood Building behind it on Market Street. The camera pans right on a long row of windows in the ruined west wall of the Emporium department store [17751]. The tent in the foreground is probably a temporary "office" of the business formerly on the site. The pan continues further right and looks northeast down Mission Street. [17834] The Rialto Building stands in the distance. The camera pans farther right, to another tent and a sign -- "Safes opened 105 5th Street" [17878]. Many safes fused shut in the heat of the fire and others had to be cooled for weeks before being opened. [17887] The camera is at the southwest corner of 4th and Market streets, looking northeast across Market Street in afternoon light. The Mutual Savings Bank (two blank walls) is in the background at Geary/Kearny and Market streets. The street traffic is part of the afternoon commute down Market Street to the Ferry Building. [17933] Note the heavily-laden wagon (perhaps containing a family's posessions) and the Sanitary Laundry Company wagon. [18544] The camera captures a traffic jam on Market Street. The view is probably north, across Market Street just east of California Street, in the afternoon. The laying of streetcar tracks along this section of Market Street may be the cause of the bottleneck. [18620] The view is northwest, near the southwest corner of East [The Embarcadero] and Market streets, just west of the Ferry Building. A heavily-laden streetcar approaches the Ferry Building. [18655] Note the beggar on crutches. [18745] In the hazy background are Nob Hill and the south slope of Russian Hill (right). [18740] The view is approximately the same as the previous segment, with a streetcar beginning its run up Market Street. [19112] Note the sailor patrolling with fixed bayonet. In the hazy distance unburnt dwellings on the summit of Russian Hill are visible. Nob Hill is in the distance, with the rectangular silhouette of the Fairmont Hotel. [19165] In this very brief scene the camera focuses on workers removing debris. The view is east on Mission Street between 4th and 3rd streets, just east of St. Patrick's Church, part of which is visible at left. [19195] The camera pans to show the demolition of the facade of St. Patrick's Church. The camera is southwest of the church on Mission Street between 4th and 3rd streets. After a brief view of ruins along Market Street, the camera pans right (eastward) past two men near a fire engine [19329], to the church facade being demolished [19527]. Of particular interest is the cameraman seen in the foreground filming the action. He is photographing the film titled San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, April 18, 1906 (Side B, Chapter 2).

Received: 5/19/06; paper pos; copyright deposit Paper Print Collection.

Earthquakes--California--San Francisco.
Fires--California--San Francisco.
Buildings--Earthquake effects.
Street-railroads--California--San Francisco.
Pedestrians--California--San Francisco.
San Francisco (Calif.)--History.

Gove, Otis M., camera.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) DLC
Scenes of San Francisco.

1 roll (145 ft) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. paper pos.

LC 2180 (paper pos)