Film, Video [Unidentified Staples & Charles. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906] San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906

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[Unidentified Staples & Charles. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906]
Other Title
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 in late April, 1906. The absence of streetcar tracks in the "Grand Avenue" panorama dates that segment to before May 1, 1906.
The following is a scene-by-scene description of the film: [Frame: 0103 (part 1)] Intertitle: "Panorama of City Hall from Top of U.S. Mint." In fact, this right-to-left (north-to-northwest) panorama of the ruined City Hall was filmed from the east side of 8th Street at Market Street. For another description of essentially the same view (in reverse pan) see Scenes in San Francisco, No. 2. The principal features seen here are [0219 (part 1)] the Hall of Records, [0655 (part 1)] the east wing, [1020 (part 1)] Marshall Square with the Pioneer Monument in front of the ruined City Hall cupola, [1327 (part 1)] the ruined southwest wing, and [1602 (part 1)] Market Street (note the elaborate street lamp). Because City Hall stood back from Market Street on a parallel street, ruins can be seen in front of parts of City Hall. In July 1993, in a spectacular engineering feat, the 1000-ton Pioneer Monument was moved in one piece to the site of the City Hall cupola on the (future) Fulton Street mall. The move makes room for a corner of San Francisco's new Main Library. [1724 (part 1)] Intertitle: "Panorama of Mission Street." This jerky segment is a right-to-left (northeast-to-west) panorama filmed from the north side of Mission Street between 6th and 7th streets, a block south of Market Street. [1821 (part 1)] The camera looks northeast down Mission Street. The twin chimneys of the U.S. Mint (one smoking) at 5th Street are at center right. Beyond them and in the center of the picture is the Call Building tower on Market Street. [1926 (part 1)] The Flood Building at Market and Powell streets is seen in the background. The ruins of the Hale Brothers Department Store rise in the background at Market and 6th streets. In the far distance at left is the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill. Note the steps in the foreground leading nowhere; a common sight in the ruined city. [2205 (part 1)] A small break in the continuity occurs here. [2424 (part 1)] The arch-windowed ruin on Jessie Street between Mission and Market streets is the Swedish Evangelical Mission Church, founded in 1877 and built on this site circa 1900. The heart of the city's Scandinavian neighborhood lay several blocks further west. [2695 (part 1)] The distant ruined tower of St. Boniface Church (1902) rises beyond the classic facade of the ruined Hibernia Bank (1892) at McAllister and Jones streets, at Market Street. [3057 (part 1)] We see the north (Stevenson Street) wing of the U.S. Post Office (1905) at 7th and Mission streets, and a lower central part of the building behind a boundary wall. Built on a buried marsh, the building was damaged in the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. It was recently restored to serve as a court building for the U.S. Court of Appeals. [3192 (part 1)] Intertitle: "Panorama [of] Market Street, San Francisco, from Top of U.S. Mint." This segment was actually filmed from the first floor of the ruined California Casket Company Building located near the Mint on the south side of Mission Street between 5th and 6th Streets. The segment is a right-to-left (north-northwest-to-west) pan. [3290 (part 1)] At far right is the Flood Building, with the northwest corner of the Mint in the foreground. At distant center is the Saint Francis Hotel on Powell street and the Alexander Hotel behind it (left). The narrow tower at left is the Press Club Building on Ellis Street. Far beyond it on Nob Hill are the Flood mansion (left) and the Fairmont Hotel (right). [3606 (part 1)] Popular Zinkand's Cafe had occupied the ground floor of the building reduced to the dramatic brick spires seen here behind a foreground ruin. [3941 (part 1)] The towers of ruined apartment buildings and hotels are seen along Turk Street across Market Street. Note the man searching through rubble in the foreground. [4327 (part 1)] The ruins of Hale Brothers Department Store at Market and 6th Streets fill the screen. Stevenson Street is in the foreground. [4880 (part 1)] The ruins of St. Boniface Church are in the background. [5384 (part 1)] At right center are an east-wing tower of City Hall and the adjacent dome of the Hall of Records. The Grant Building at 7th and Market streets hides the City Hall cupola. At left is the U.S. Post Office at 7th Street. Close to the camera and at left is the cornice of the California Casket Company Building. [Frame: 0102 (part 2)] Intertitle: "Panorama from Grand Ave." The correct name is Grant Avenue and the panorama was actually filmed almost a block southwest of Grant on Market Street near the Stockton and Ellis streets intersection. The first part of the segment is a right-to-left (northeast-to-west) pan. The second part is a slow, closeup pan moving left-to-right, of a ruined lot on the west side of Stockton Street north of Ellis Street. This site is also seen in the background near the end of the first pan in the segment. [0263 (part 2)] Bicycle and pedestrian traffic on Market Street reflects the lack of public transportation before the beginning of streetcar service on May 1, 1906. [0396 (part 2)] The Call Building tower at 3rd and Market streets rises behind the Sorensen Jewelers Building. Beyond the Call Building are the Monadnock Building and the Palace Hotel. [0461 (part 2)] A film assistant directs pedestrians out of the camera view. [0565 (part 2)] The Mutual Savings Bank at Market and Kearny Streets is seen. [0850 (part 2)] The view is of the rear wall of the elegant City of Paris Department Store, rebuilt on the site and now the location of Neiman-Marcus. [1946 (part 2)] The unfinished frame of the Butler Building, now I. Magnin department store, is seen along Stockton Street at Geary Street, across from the City of Paris building. [2542 (part 2)] The St. Francis Hotel and adjacent Alexander Hotel (left) rise in the background. Pedestrians are seen on Stockton Street and a work crew is busy in a lot across the street (see below). [3757 (part 2)] The camera points up Ellis Street. The Flood Building stands on the left at Powell Street. The pan then drifts back up to Stockton Street. [Frame: 0100 (part 3)] Intertitle: "Refugees in Jefferson Square." This segment gives an excellent view of the informal, egalitarian atmosphere of a typical San Francisco earthquake refugee camp in the weeks following the earthquake and fire. Jefferson Square was and is a public park at the edge of the burnt area, a few blocks northwest of the ruined City Hall. One of the city's better run camps, it housed refugees from adjacent Hayes Valley. The park covers an area equal to four city blocks and is bounded by Laguna, Eddy and Gough streets, and Golden Gate Avenue. It is bisected by Turk Street and has a flat southern half (now Hayward Playground) and a sloping northern half in which this segment was filmed. The park is little changed today but the row of Victorian homes seen along Eddy Street is gone. The pan was filmed from right-to-left (east-to-north) on the curving central path near the west side of the park. The fixed view section was probably filmed further east along the same path, looking east from near the center of the park. [0244 (part 3)] Note the "102" on the Army-issued umbrella tent. A couple are busy tightening the tent ropes. [0560 (part 3)] Signs on a ramshackle structure suggest a possible public convenience. [1093 (part 3)] Small cooking grates line the path. Note the strong afternoon west wind blowing through the trees and the soldier with a cold. A woman is seen cooking at her stove on the north side of the path. [2080 (part 3)] A doctor, carrying his bag, pauses to look back. The woman with the polkadot blouse seems to be in charge of the grey tent at left, which may be a laundry. Note the homes on Eddy Street, north of the park, in the background. [2700 (part 3)] An army officer gives some advice to a camp resident. [3100 (part 3)] A man sits dozing, holding a newspaper. Washing hangs on nearby makeshift clotheslines. [3412 (part 3)] The stationary view is of soldiers patrolling to keep order in a food line as approaching pedestrians dodge cooking grates on the path.
Contributor Names
AFI/Staples (Robert) & Charles (Barbara) Collection (Library of Congress)
Created / Published
[United States : s.n., 1906?].
Subject Headings
-  Earthquakes--California--San Francisco
-  Fires--California--San Francisco
-  Buildings--Earthquake effects
-  Disaster relief--California--San Francisco
-  Emergency housing--California--San Francisco
-  Emergency mass feeding--California--San Francisco
-  San Francisco (Calif.)--History
Actualities (Motion pictures)
Short films
Nonfiction films
-  Copyright: no reg.
-  Duration: 3:05 (part 1), 2:34 (part 2), and 2:21 (part 3) at 15 fps.
-  Photographed: late April, 1906. Location: various locations in and near downtown San Francisco, California.
-  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files.
-  Received: 6/1993 from LC film lab; ref print; preservation; AFI/Staples (Robert) & Charles (Barbara) Collection.
1 reel (450 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. ref print.
Call Number/Physical Location
ncn 000773
Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA dcu
Digital Id
Library of Congress Control Number
Online Format
LCCN Permalink
Additional Metadata Formats
MODS Record
Dublin Core Record

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Chicago citation style:

Afi/Staples. [Unidentified Staples & Charles. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906]. [United States: s.n., ?, 1906] Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, (Accessed February 24, 2017.)

APA citation style:

Afi/Staples. (1906) [Unidentified Staples & Charles. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906]. [United States: s.n., ?] [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Afi/Staples. [Unidentified Staples & Charles. San Francisco after the earthquake and fire of 1906]. [United States: s.n., ?, 1906] Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.