As a native son, I know that my ancestors survived the April 18, 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, which, at 8.3 on the Richter Scale, ranks as one of the strongest of all time. (It was 140 times stronger than the 6.9 Loma Prieta quake in 1989!) The 270-mile-long rupture along the San Andreas Fault lasted from 45 to 60 seconds with an epicenter near S.F. It was felt from Coos Bay, Oregon in the north to south of Los Angeles and as far east as central Nevada.
Though the earthquake destroyed brick buildings, the five-day fire that followed consumed most of the City’s wooden structures. Firefighters couldn’t douse the flames because the water mains had cracked.
To commemorate the centennial of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, and to celebrate San Francisco’s rebuilding as “The City That Knows How,” dozens of special exhibits, walking tours, educational workshops and lecture series are being planned…
Two notable exhibits are:
• 1906 Earthquake: A Disaster in Pictures at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, opening today and running through May 30;
• After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum through June 4.