Wednesday, October 6, 2010

San Fransisco: Before, After, and After the Earthquake

You history buffs out there, or eclectics like me, might enjoy a comparison of these three videos.

Each video was taken from a trolley traveling down Market Street, toward the San Fransisco Ferry 
riding a SF trolley with friends in 2009
Building. You can see the spire of the ferry building at the end of the road in each of the videos. 

I'm interested in the difference not only in the buildings and attire, but the attitude, expressions, and gestures of the people caught on film

The first video, from 1905, pre-earthquake, is wild with activity. Rumor has it the cameraman hired his friends to drive around like maniacs in front of the trolley to keep the video lively. 

The second video, taken just after the 1906 earthquake, is not surprisingly more sober. But I was intrigued to see families--men, women, and children--walking the streets as if it were any old Sunday morning. 

The third video is modern San Fransisco, 2005, with characteristically busy pedestrians and drivers. Still, some were aware enough to smile and wave at the camera. I laughed out loud when 4:40 into the video one guy pushing his bike across the street waved his hat. It reminded me of a gesture someone from the 1905 video would have made. Word to the wise: listen to the third video on mute. The music is cringe-worthy. Sorry.

First, San Fransisco in 1905, the year before the earthquake and fires that virtually destroyed the city. This video is a chapter of a much longer video. This segment is 4:54 long. (Found via If the embedded video doesn't work, try this link:

Second, newly uncovered 1906 footage of the city right after the earthquake and subsequent fires. From 2:30 to 6:00 is the trolley ride down Market Street. The rest contains footage of some of the demolition and clean-up efforts. (Footage from devour via

And here's the third video: a trip down Market Street today... well, 5 years ago. Remember to mute this one. And don't miss the guy at 4:40!

I hope you've enjoyed time traveling with me and seeing how people have lived in and with the great city of San Fransisco. What else did you see in the videos that you thought was interesting?

No comments:

Post a Comment