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1906 Post Fire and Earthquake Panorama

November 30, 2012

Thanks to the bountiful twitter and web feed of Philip Bump, I came across a 5 minute film showing the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake and fire from the Internet Archive. This may have been filmed by Thomas Edison himself. Since WordPress hates iFrame I can’t embed the video, but here’s a GIF and yet another link.

There’s a tremendous 240 degree pan taken on 4th near Natoma, right where Moscone Center is now. It turns out there is a much clearer version of this pan over at the Library of Congress.


1906 Folsom & 5th gas tanks 1906 Spreckel bldg ruins
1906 Emporium Department store ruins 1906 4th St ruins

Someone at the Library of Congress saved me a tremendous about of time and described the buildings and ruins seen in the pan. However, I got annoyed at scrubbing back and forth in the video, so I just extract screenshots from it and built a panorama, and added the descripions to it. 8000 pixels, so click to zoom.

1906 Edison panorama Natoma & 3rd

More later — I actually have work to do today so I don’t have time to integrate this with the buildings you can see in the Sanborn maps from 1905, but you can take a look over at to get your bearings.

1905 Sanborn 4th & Natoma

Here’s a quick and dirty amalgamation of the 1905 Sanborns from 5th to 3rd between Howard and Market — you can see many of the buildings mentions in the pan. Achtung, crazy big, 80MB.

1905 Natoma and 4th-5th-3rd index

More later!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 3, 2012 8:38 pm

    YES!!! I just watched this the other day on my phone and it was so tiny, I could barely tell what I was looking at and haven’t gotten back to it. Thank you for doing le extreme backstory into this.

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