Amazing Historical Footage of San Francisco’s Market Street Before and After the 1906 Earthquake

Two incredible films from 1906 show what Market Street in San Francisco, California looked like at the time. The first film entitled “A Trip Down Market Street” was shot on April 14, 1906 and showed a bustling city with horse drawn carriages and motorcars trading places along the busy street.

It was produced by moving picture photographers the Miles brothers: Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe. Harry J. Miles hand-cranked the Bell & Howell camera which was placed on the front of a streetcar during filming on Market Street from 8th, in front of the Miles Studios, to the Ferry building. A few days later the Miles brothers were en route to New York when they heard news of the earthquake. They sent the negative to NY, and returned to San Francisco to discover that their studios were destroyed.

Just four days later on April 18th, a second silent film was also taken along Market Street that showed the absolute devastation that the infamous 7.8 magnitude earthquake of 1906 wreaked upon the city.

Travelling down Market Street, after Wednesday, April 18, 1906 Earthquake – there are horse and carts, people upset, fires, and destroyed buildings, interspersed with new motor cars and cable cars. People living roadside in tents. People queuing for aid. Steam engines in action.

via PetaPixel

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.