18 April 1906: San Francisco Earthquake

Two cameramen captured an ordinary day on Market Street just four days before the Great Earthquake and the (seventh) Great Fire destroyed San Francisco, killing thousands:

Another video juxtaposes the same scene with footage taken after the earthquake:

From the uploader’s page:

Here is a side-by-side comparison of two filmed journeys down Market Street shot in April of 1906 sourced from the Prelinger Archives.

The video on the left has enjoyed wide circulation online, but has often been incorrectly dated to 1905. Subsequent research by Historian David Kiehn of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, has determined that the footage was actually shot by Harry and Herbert Miles on April 14th, 1906, only four days before the catastrophic event and subsequent fires leveled much of the city, resulting in conditions depicted in the video on the right, and of which the initial production source is unknown. Rick Prelinger, of the aforementioned Prelinger Archives has suggested that the post-event footage depicted on the right may have been shot by an Edison cameraman.


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