South-of-Market 1906 Earthquake Ruins

Early Motion Pictures

Item 6 of 6

Exploded gas tanks, U.S. Mint, Emporium and Spreckel's Bld'g

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United States : Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1906.


Copyright: no reg.

Duration: 2:15 at 15 fps.

Location: downtown San Francisco, California.

This film is a spectacular pan of the downtown area of San Francisco as seen from south of Market Street. The location among low ruins was ideal to view the tall ruined buildings along and north of Market Street. Since the facade of St. Patrick's Church is not visible in the pan, the film is probably later than May 9, the date the facade was demolished. The camera, placed on the east side of 4th Street near Natoma Street, one and two-thirds blocks south of Market Street, pans a full 240 degrees, from southwest to southeast.

The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [15613] The pan begins in the southwest, viewing two 550,000 cubic foot, 45' diameter frames of gas tanks of the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company at 5th and Folsom streets. [16107] The 1873 U.S. Mint is visible in the distance at 5th and Mission streets, a classical facade with two large smokestacks at the rear. The building is now a museum. [16035] The dome of the ruined City Hall is seen in the background at left, behind the ruined wall. [16348] The camera views the impressive ruins of the Emporium department store facing Market Street. A couple in the foreground walk up 4th Street. [16401] The Flood Building is seen behind the Emporium across Market Street at Powell Street. [16548] We look up 4th Street to see the St. Francis Hotel, at Powell and Geary streets. Its adjacent unfinished north wing was under construction before the disaster. [16605] The frame of the Butler Building (now I. Magnin's department store) at Stockton and Geary streets is seen. It also was under construction at the time of the earthquake and fire. [16642] The Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, almost ready to open at the time of the disaster, is the square building seen in the distance. The tower of the unfinished (pre-disaster) Whittell Building, on Geary Street near Stockton Street, is at center right. [16701] The tower of the Shreve Building (pioneer silverware firm) at Post Street and Grant Avenue is behind the ruins at left. The smokestack of a San Francisco Gas and Electric Company substation is at right. [16830] At center is the handsome domed tower of the Spreckels Building, renamed the Call Building when it became the main office of the San Francisco Call newspaper. The view is due north. The Aronson Building is just visible above the nearby wall, which hides the ruined Palace Hotel. [17054] Ruins are seen along 2nd and 3rd streets to the northeast. The Wells Fargo Building with its heavy cornice is at left center at Mission and 2nd streets. At right, a block closer to the camera position, are hotels on 3rd Street. [17177] A view diagonally across Howard Street to 3rd Street shows dramatic hotel and apartment house ruins.

Received: ca. 1959 from USDA film lab; ref print, dupe neg and arch pos; purchase Kleine (George) Collection.

Earthquakes--California--San Francisco.
Fires--California--San Francisco.
Buildings--Earthquake effects.
Historic sites--Earthquake effects.
Pedestrians--California--San Francisco.
San Francisco (Calif.)--History.

Thomas A. Edison, Inc.
Kleine (George) Collection DLC
Exploded gas tanks, U.S. Mint, Emporium and Spreckel's Building.

1 reel (50 ft) : si., b&w ; 16 mm. ref print.

FLA 1493 (ref print)