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  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1902
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Procession of floats /

    From Edison films catalog: Taken at San Francisco, Cal., at the Golden Jubilee. In the foreground are seen crowds of people, all being very close to the camera. The first float is drawn by four white horses and is at least twenty feet long. It carries a full load of little school girls, who sit along its full length facing the sides of the ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Lurline Baths /

    "A large indoor swimming pool can be seen. The camera was directed toward a slide from which people can be seen entering the pool in rapid succession"--Early motion pictures. "At San Francisco. The main feature is the toboggan slide which the bathers use, some sitting, others lying down, head first or feet first. 50 feet"--Edison films catalog.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • S.S. "Coptic" in the harbor /

    From F.Z. Maguire catalogue: Shows the vessel away from the dock and slowly turning. The vessel is seen to good advantage, the four masts, smokestack and hull being faithfully reproduced. Clouds of smoke pour out of the funnel, and volumes of steam out of the exhaust pipe. In the foreground is a dense crowd, among which are numerous Chinamen. Clear and sharp with figures ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • [Unidentified Staples & Charles. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906] /

    This film is made up of five panoramas, four wide and one close-up, of the ruins of downtown San Francisco shortly after the 1906 disaster, plus a panorama and scene in a nearby refugee camp. Original intertitles precede each change of scene, but the locations provided are incorrect for three of the five views. The state of the ruins and camp suggest a date ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Panorama, Union Square, San Francisco /

    This film shows the crowd gathered in San Francisco for the dedication of the Dewey Monument in Union Square, on Thursday, May 14, 1903, from 9:00 a.m. to 9:20 a.m. The Monument, which is still in place, commemorates the victory of Admiral George Dewey and the American fleet over Spanish forces at Manila Bay, the Philippines, on May 1, 1898, during the Spanish-American War. ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Catalog Record

    Early films of San Francisco, before and after the great earthquake & fire, 1897-1916 / Catalog Record - Electronic Resource Available

    Compilation of 26 films from the collections of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1994
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • President reviewing school children /

    From the side of a broad avenue, a crowd of people await the arrival of President Theodore Roosevelt. The marching military that precedes his carriage can be seen at a distance of a quarter of a mile away. Four other camera positions along the march include the escort, the dignitaries, and at the conclusion, Roosevelt in his carriage.

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Capsize of lifeboat /

    "Daily practise [sic] of life boat crew, showing boat being upset purposely by the men. As these boats are self-righting and self-bailing, the scene is particularly interesting. 50 feet"--Edison films catalog. "Pacific Coast Life Saving Service series: These subjects are illustrative of the work performed by the Life Saving Corps of the United States Government, and show the methods in vogue at one of ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • San Francisco earthquake and fire, April 18, 1906 /

    This film shows the aftermath of the San Francisco earthquake of April 18, 1906, and the devastation resulting from the subsequent three-day fire. The 8.3 magnitude earthquake struck at 5:12am and was centered along the San Andreas Fault, which slices through coastal California. Most of the cities of central California were badly damaged. San Francisco, with thousands of unreinforced brick buildings - and thousands ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Sutro Baths /

    From Edison films catalog: Another view in which the figures show larger. A springboard furnishes the bathers with much amusement; also a toboggan slide. 50 feet. $7.50. "A large indoor swimming pool is shown, as well as the walkways that separate the varying depths of the water, and a sign identifying the locale on the wall farthest from the camera position. In the immediate ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Feeding sea gulls /

    From Edison films catalog: A fine view of San Francisco Bay, from an Oakland ferryboat. Tug towing a scow passes by. Sea gulls sail through the air and dive into the seething wake of the boat. 40 feet. $6.00. Advertised as part of the "Southern Pacific Company Series" (Edison films catalog): The Southern Pacific Company ("Sunset Route") offers special inducements to winter travelers, by ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Over route of Roosevelt parade in an automobile /

    This film is a review by automobile of the arrival parade route of President Theodore Roosevelt, on Tuesday, May 12, 1903. The film was shot from about 2:10 pm to 2:15 pm (shortly before the 3 pm parade) and shows street and building decorations and excited crowds. The portion of the route shown is in the heart of the downtown business district. The later ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1903
  • Scenes in San Francisco, [no. 2] /

    This film is a compilation of panoramas filmed in the ruins of downtown San Francisco and outlying refugee camps following the 1906 earthquake and fire. The film dates from Wednesday, May 9, 1906. The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [Frame: 0102 (part 1)] The film begins with a long, dramatic pan of downtown ruins viewed from Natoma Street between 4th and ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • 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 ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1916
  • Launching, no. 2 /

    From Edison films catalog: The camera was changed after the former subject had been photographed [Cataloger's note: see film entitled Launch of Japanese man-of-war "Chitosa"] and the ship is seen nearly head-on, bow first, still floating backward into the harbor, while in the foreground are seen numerous row-boats with their occupants. As the boat passes out of view the row-boats constantly move around and ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1898
  • Return of lifeboat /

    "Shows a life boat coming through the breakers. The surf is high and the stout boat is tossed about like a cork. 50 feet"--Edison films catalog. "Pacific Coast Life Saving Service series: These subjects are illustrative of the work performed by the Life Saving Corps of the United States Government, and show the methods in vogue at one of the most important stations on ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1897
  • Army pack train bringing supplies. /

    This film highlights the role of the United States Army in transporting supplies following the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco. The Army's relief operations headquarters was at their base, the Presidio, outside the burned part of the city. The Army played a major role in relief and refugee operations. In the first weeks after the fire, food, water, tents, blankets, medical supplies, ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1906
  • Mabel and Fatty viewing the World's Fair at San Francisco, Cal. /

    The 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition was San Francisco's second fair (following the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair) and her first major exposition. The 1915 fair celebrated both the opening of the newly-completed Panama Canal -- a triumph of Franco-American engineering -- and the newly-rebuilt San Francisco, vital and vigorous after recovering from the 1906 earthquake and fire. The fair opened on February 20, 1915, and closed December ...

    • Original Format: Film, Video
    • Date: 1915