Thanks to Ivo for linking me to this film shot from a streetcar traveling down Market Street in 1905, before the earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed the city. Remarkable footage of turn of the century lifestyles in California and the transition of transportation modes, from horse and buggy to the earliest automobiles. Interesting to see how well the street traffic worked despite what seems to me like chaos. There were couple of moments that made me yell at people to get out of the way. Look out for that car, fine fellow! You foolish, foolish, fine fellow.
Here is the Western Addition neighborhood and the same stretch of Market in 1906 after the earthquake struck. Almost complete devastation. Though the Ferry Building at the end of the street still stands!
It spooks me a bit to know the Bay Area is still filled with many of the same wood frame structures and potential for seismic activity. Of course, they are earthquake veterans here. My former home, Salt Lake City, sits on a fault just as dangerous but hasn’t experienced a single major quake since it was settled. I hope folks are prepared. Fortunately, being prepared for emergencies is a Mormon strong suit — nearly every one I know back home has emergency food and water thanks to a long tradition of preparedness admonition from Church leaders.
Thanks to the Prelinger Archives for preserving these films.