Apocalyptic images from 1906 San Francisco earthquake reveal the devastation that killed 3,000 and left 400,000 homeless

Apocalyptic images from 1906 San Francisco earthquake reveal the devastation that killed 3,000 and left 400,000 homeless

- in Usa News
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SHOCKING vintage photos show the horrifying impact of one of America’s worst natural disasters – which left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 ruptured along hundreds of miles of the San Andreas fault and destroyed more than 80 per cent of the much-loved city.

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 eventually destroyed more than 80 per cent of the Californian city
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 eventually destroyed more than 80 per cent of the city[/caption]

Thousands were killed and properties were hundreds of millions were destroyed
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

Thousands were killed and properties worth hundreds of millions were destroyed[/caption]

Officially, it claimed more than 3,000 lives although some sources claim the actual death toll may be more than double that.

Apocalyptic images, taken at the time by the US Army, show the horrific destruction wreaked on the city by the 7.9 magnitude quake.

The black and white images show sick souvenir hunters picking through the rubble for keepsakes and the tent cities that sprang up to house the 400,000 left homeless.

Another moving photo shows a pop-up soup kitchen with stoic survivors braving a smile for the cameras.

The city had experienced earthquakes before – notably in 1864, 1898, and 1900  – but nothing on the scale of the 1906 event.

Just after 5am on April 18, a noise “like the roar of 10,000 lions” was heard just as the entire city began to tremble and shake.

Cable cars stopped, City Hall crumbled, and the Palace Hotel’s glass roof splintered and littered the courtyard below.


The quake was followed by a massive fire which swept through the business district near Montgomery Street and lasted for four days.

During the shocking quake, more than 500 blocks in the city centre covering some four square miles were completely levelled.

The inferno then destroyed more than 28,000 buildings, and the total property value loss was estimated at around $350 million.

Just after 5am on April 18, a noise 'like the roar of 10,000 lions' was heard
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

Just after 5am on April 18, a noise ‘like the roar of 10,000 lions’ was heard[/caption]

Souvenir hunters pick through the wreckage for keepsakes and things to sell
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

Souvenir hunters pick through the rubble for keepsakes and things to sell[/caption]

Survivors are pictured at a soup kitchen opened in the wake of the disaster
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

Survivors are pictured at a soup kitchen opened in the wake of the disaster[/caption]

The quake was followed by a massive fire that swept through the business district
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

The quake was followed by a massive fire that swept through the business district[/caption]

The city's famous tram tracks were torn apart by the monster quake
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

The city’s landmark tram tracks were torn apart by the monster earthquake[/caption]

The panoramic image shows the full extent of the damage caused
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

The pieced-together panoramic image shows the full extent of the damage caused[/caption]

Tent cities sprang up on the outskirts of the city to house those left homeless
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

Tent cities sprang up on the outskirts of the city to house those left homeless[/caption]

It took more than four years to rebuild San Francisco after the quake
Mediadrumimages/USNationalArchives

It took more than four years to rebuild San Francisco after the quake[/caption]

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