San Francisco view South on Van Ness Avenue (at Green St.) after the 1906 earthquake and before the fire approached. Photo by JB Monaco. Water mains are destroyed; St. Brigid Church in background. The East side of Van Ness Ave (left) was dynamited a block deep to create a fire break and finally stop the fire from spreading to the Western Addition and Cow Hollow.
San Francisco view down Kearny St. at Broadway after the 1906 earthquake and fire. A block down from Broadway at the intersection of Kearny and Columbus Ave. (at that time it was called Montgomery Ave.) is the Sentinel (Flatiron) Bldg. which was under construction at the time of the quake. It is now called Columbus Tower and is owned by director Francis Ford Coppola.
In 1876, railroad baron Charles Crocker built one of the largest mansions on Nob Hill, San Francisco. It was burned to the ground in the great 1906 fire. The second photo shows the fence around his property which still stands today. In the background of that photo are the remains of the Flood mansion and the steel framed Fairmont Hotel, the only two buildings on the hill that survived the fire.
Nob Hill in San Francisco at the turn of the century was the home to some of the richest men in the country. James Flood was one of the Bonanza Kings and made his fortune in Comstock mining and stock trading. His mansion was made of sandstone and survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. It still stands today. The incredible all wood mansion of railroad baron Mark Hopkins at the corner of California and Mason burned to the ground in the fire. The Mark Hopkins hotel now stands in it's place.
"Looking Down Sacramento St., San Francisco, April 18, 1906". The most famous of all the earthquake photographs taken by the great photographer Arnold Genthe. It is considered to be one of the greatest historical photographs ever taken. Genthe lost his equipment in the quake and borrowed a Kodak 3A Special from his camera dealer George Kahn's shop on Montgomery St. He loaded his pockets with film and walked around the City taking photographs. The shot was taken on Sacramento St. between Powell and Stockton St. (at Miles Place) on the morning of the quake at 9 a.m. as the fire began raging. Note cable car slot in street at that time. The alley Miles Place is now called Miller Place. I took my shot at 8:23 a.m. on a foggy, holiday morning.
Photographer Arnold Genthe, who was famous for his photos of the San Francisco 1906 earthquake, wrote about his stay at the Hotel Rafael in his autobiography. He came to San Francisco in 1895 from Germany at the request of Baron Heinrich von Schroeder who was the proprietor of the Hotel Rafael. After some research I found out that: "The Hotel Rafael opened in 1888 and was the first luxury hotel in Marin County. It cost approximately $200,000 to build and occupied 21 acres in San Rafael, California. The hotel had 100 rooms, multiple dining rooms, an observation tower, plus gardens, tennis courts and stables. The warm climate of San Rafael attracted many San Francisco vacationers across the foggy San Francisco Bay. A fire started on the top floor and burned the hotel to the ground on July 29, 1928, despite the local fire department's best efforts. In 1939, the land was sold at auction and subdivided into smaller lots on which private homes were built. Part of the original gates are still visible at Belle Avenue and Rafael Drive in San Rafael, California." .....so I went to the intersection and found the gates buried in the foliage and shrubs. Here are some shots of the gates today along with postcards from 1900 and 1905.
The corner of Chestnut and Leavenworth St. marked the NW end of the fire line. Neighbors fought the fire with buckets and the fire stopped at Chestnut St. sparing the property to the North of Chestnut. The buildings in these photos still stand today. 2430 Leavenworth was the home of photographer JB Monaco who took these 1906 photographs.
© Joseph Greco