This Patched Film Shows San Francisco Days Before the ‘Big One’

The restored film gives us all a glimpse into the SF’s past — all before the vast majority of it was leveled by a truly apocalyptic geological event.

A colorized vintage photo of a horse-drawn carriage near a streetcar in front of the Ferry Building.
Image via u/avitechwriter/Reddit

Watching the film is like a portal to the past, and the restoration in color really brings history to life. Horse-drawn carriages go over cable car tracks. Dapper men (some sporting envious beards) mouth to one another. Women in flouncy dresses and gorgeous hats crisscross the road; what appears to be two nuns — though looking somewhat ghoulish, per the color correction — saddle the busy traffic. More cable cars come into view, trailing up the iconic SF street, transporting working-class people, the dominant socio-economic class in SoMa at that time.

Image via u/avitechwriter

It’s wild to think this everyday day-to-day life all that changed less than a week later. The United States Geological Survey ranks the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake as one of the most destructive geological events of all time.

It’s frequently said that some 700 deaths were caused by the shake and coinciding fires, though experts now believe three or four more times that number of people could have died. With most of those fatalities occurring in San Francisco, the 1906 quake still represents the deadliest natural disaster the city has ever faced.

Enjoy the view into 1906 SF, and while we’re talking about it, are you ready for the next big one (which some seismologists believe we’re overdue for)? Heed these tips from seismologists.

Feature Image: via u/avitechwriter/Reddit

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