Collection Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916

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  • Exploded gas tanks, U.S. Mint, Emporium and Spreckels Bld'g /

    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 ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Kleine (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • San Francisco disaster /

    This film shows the partial burning of a small-scale model of downtown San Francisco in an early attempt at simulating the 1906 disaster. The model is seen in aerial view from above the South-of-Market district, looking northwest toward Market Street and the downtown area. Russian Hill (left) and Telegraph Hill (right) are shown in a painted background. The Call Building at 3rd and Market ...

    • Contributor: Bitzer, G. W. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • The President's carriage /

    This film shows President Roosevelt in San Francisco, passing in the arrival parade on Market Street on Tuesday, May 12, 1903. The camera view is from the north side of Market Street, just east of Grant Avenue. After leaving the Southern Pacific train station at Third and Townsend streets, the parade proceeded up Third Street and wound through downtown San Francisco before continuing up ...

    • Contributor: Miles, Herbert J. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Scenes in San Francisco, [no. 1] /

    This film is a compilation of views and pans among the ruins of San Francisco after the earthquake and fire and dates from Wednesday, May 9, 1906. The film was shot in the downtown area along Market and Mission streets. The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [Frame: 0100] The camera, positioned at the southwest corner of Mission and 5th streets, makes ...

    • Contributor: Gove, Otis M. (Otis Meader) - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • TR in San Francisco, 1903 /

    The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: The camera was positioned on the southeast corner of O'Farrell Street and Van Ness Avenue, and pans from north to west to south, and then back to west. [Frame: 0100] The view is north on Van Ness Avenue toward the approaching band and cavalry. Students of Whittier School are in the foreground. [0604] The band ...

    • Contributor: Theodore Roosevelt Association Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • San Francisco's future /

    By mid-1916, after viewing the carnage in Europe, the United States saw itself poised with great reluctance on the edge of participation in World War I. Isolationism and anti-preparedness feeling remained strong in San Francisco, not only among radicals such as the International Workers of the Worlds ("the Wobblies"), but also among responsible labor leaders. At the same time, with the rise of Bolshevism ...

    • Contributor: Hearst, Phoebe Apperson - Rodiester, Claire - Rolph, James - Afi/Post (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1916
  • Related Resources - Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 - Collections

    Selected Annotated Bibliography General Beebe, Lucius, and Charles Clegg. San Francisco's Golden Era. Berkeley, CA: Howell-North Books, 1960. Excellent pictorial and graphic coverage of pre-1906 San Francisco. Cameron, Robert. Above San Francisco. San Francisco: Cameron and Company, 1986. One of a series, superb aerial coverage of San Francisco and the Bay Area, including "then and now" views. Dillon, Richard. San Francisco: Adventurers and Visionaries. ...

  • A trip to Berkeley, Cal. /

    This film, shot from a moving streetcar, shows portions of north Berkeley and the adjacent University of California campus, circa 1906. (A 1905 photo-panorama of Berkeley shows a virtually identical view of the area seen in the film.) The Oakland and Berkeley Rapid Transit Company began operating in 1891 and was a major factor in the development of Berkeley. Unincorporated until 1878, a decade ...

    • Contributor: Gove, Otis M. (Otis Meader) - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Rights and Access - Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 - Collections

    Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. The ...

  • About this Collection - Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 - Collections

    This collection consists of twenty-six films of San Francisco from before and after the Great Earthquake and Fire, 1897-1916. Seventeen of the films depict San Francisco and its environs before the 1906 disaster. Seven films describe the great earthquake and fire. The two later films include a 1915 travelogue that shows scenes of the rebuilt city and a tour of the Panama Pacific Exposition ...

  • Panorama of beach and Cliff House /

    This film is an afternoon panorama of weekend crowds at the north end of Ocean Beach, the western shore of San Francisco near the famed Cliff House. The film postdates the nearby Dutch Windmill (1902) and predates the burning of this Cliff House (1907). Until the 1920s much of western San Francisco was open sand dunes blown inland from Ocean Beach, the five-mile-long untamed ...

    • Contributor: Miles, Herbert J. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • San Francisco Chinese funeral /

    This film shows most of the ceremonial portion of the funeral procession of Tom Kim Yung (1858-1903), military attache to the Chinese Legation to the United States. The funeral procession took place at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, September 23, 1903, and was probably the largest ever seen in Chinatown. Tom's death (note that Tom is the family name) was the tragic consequence of a ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Kleine (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Arrest in Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal. /

    This film shows the arrest and conveyance of a Chinese man in Chinatown, watched by a crowd of onlookers. The precise date of this film and the arrest charge are uncertain. It is possible that the arrest was connected with the smuggling of illegal immigrants from China. By mutual agreement between China and the United States, a small quota of merchants and students was ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Scene in Chinatown /

    This film was shot in an alley of San Francisco's Chinatown on Saturday, September 15, 1900, at midday. The topography of the site (sloping down to the far street), the width of the alley, the location of utility poles [Frame: 0255], and the location of buildings across the far street suggest that the view is north from Washington Street down Washington Place (today's Wentworth ...

    • Contributor: Ackerman, Raymond - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Panoramic view of the Golden Gate /

    This film, photographed from the front of a moving steam engine, shows the scenic portion of the Ferries and Cliff House Railroad route along the bluffs and cliffs of Lands End (at the northwest corner of San Francisco) overlooking the Golden Gate and the Marin headlands. The line gave access to the famed Cliff House and Sutro Baths, previously accessed by the Point Lobos ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Early San Francisco - Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 - Collections

    The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire rivalled the Chicago fire of 1871 in the annals of urban disasters in America. Large conflagrations were common in cities of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, which were often crowded and lacked the sophisticated safety consciousness of today. However, the totality of destruction caused by these two disasters was extraordinary, comparable only to that of the ...

  • Launch of Japanese man-of-war "Chitosa" [i.e., "Chitose"] /

    This film shows the launching of the Imperial Japanese Navy cruiser Chitose at the Union Iron Works shipyard, San Francisco, on Saturday, January 22, 1898. The camera view is east, across a small inlet of Central Basin, to slipway #1. Four additional slipways lay beyond to the west. The inlet and slipway remain today, now covered with chunks of abandoned piers, adjacent to the ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Mount Tamalpais R.R.

    The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: The first segment of the film was probably shot from the back of a passenger car being pushed up the grade by a locomotive (as was standard practice). The unseen locomotive is probably the 30-ton Heiser steam locomotive S.B. Cushing. The camera swings from east to north-northeast as the train approaches the summit station. [Frame: ...

    • Contributor: White, James H. (James Henry) - Blechynden, Frederick - Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) - Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • A trip down Market Street before the fire /

    The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [Frame: 0300 (part 1)] The film begins looking northeast on Market Street just west of the intersection of Hyde, Grove and 8th streets. The dark building at right is the Odd Fellows Hall and the grey building beyond (across 8th St.) is the Grant Building (1905). A white postal service automobile is at left center. ...

    • Contributor: Miles Brothers - Afi/Post (George) Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • The Actuality Film - Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 - Collections

    The earliest popular venues for motion pictures were nickelodeons -- peep show parlors where machines played short film loops, or films on flip cards called mutoscopes, for individual viewers on demand. By the turn of the century, films were being shown in store-front theaters and traveling carnivals. Significantly, movies also began to be projected in vaudeville and burlesque theaters, sharing the bill with a ...

  • Bird's-eye view of San Francisco, Cal., from a balloon /

    As early as 1874, passenger balloon flights were being made over San Francisco. San Franciscans - and Americans in general - were fascinated with the thrills and dangers of flight. Although balloon technology had not advanced greatly by the turn of the century, attempts at man-powered flight were sustaining public interest. The era of powered flight arrived in 1903 with the Wright brothers' flight ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • Troops embarking at San Francisco /

    This film shows troops of the First Regiment, California Volunteers, boarding the Pacific Mail steamer City of Peking to serve in the Philippine theater of the Spanish-American War. The film was shot at the Pacific Mail Steamship Company dock between 10:50am and 1:50pm on Friday, May 13, 1898. The dock was located at First Street between Brannan and Townsend streets, and is now a ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • America at the Turn of the Century: A Look at the Historical Context - Before and After the Great Earthquake and Fire: Early Films of San Francisco, 1897-1916 - Collections

    The National Setting By 1900 the American nation had established itself as a world power. The West was won. The frontier -- the great fact of 300 years of American history -- was no more. The continent was settled from coast to coast. Apache war chief Geronimo had surrendered in 1886. Defeat of the Sioux at the battle of Wounded Knee in 1891 had ...

  • Hotel Vendome, San Jose, Cal. /

    This brief film shows an excursion party passing in the carriage drive of the Vendome Hotel, a major resort hotel in San Jose, south of San Francisco. The exact date of the film is unknown, but may be in October 1897. The camera faces north-northwest in the carriage drive, toward the main (east) entrance of the hotel. Two excursion stages, a surrey, and three ...

    • Contributor: Thomas A. Edison, Inc - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Market Street before parade /

    This film is an automobile tour of a portion of the arrival parade route of President Theodore Roosevelt along Market Street, San Francisco, on Tuesday, May 12, 1903. The film was shot in the mid-afternoon, shortly before the parade, which traversed this portion of the route in the reverse direction shown here. The earlier portion of the route is seen in the film "Over ...

    • Contributor: Miles, Herbert J. - American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903