San Francisco in Ruins


Wonderful site!

THE YEAR was 1906, and the citizens of San Francisco must have found it a wildly incongruous sight–grown men at child’s play in the midst of tragedy. Less than three weeks before, the earth had shaken and the city had burned. The disaster began with an earthquake in the early morning of Wednesday, April 18, and when the fires were extinguished three days later, at least two hundred thousand San Francisco residents were homeless. Yet on the afternoon of May 5, a small group of men was flying kites near Folsom and Sixth streets.

The man in charge, George R. Lawrence, was anything but mad. As soon as news of the disaster had reached Chicago, he made plans to go to San Francisco with his Captive Airship and crew. With the Captive Airship he knew he could take aerial photographs of the prostrate city that no one else in the world could take. He was gambling by going to the devastated. city, but he took the chance knowing there would be an international market for his photographs if he succeeded. Lawrence was, first and foremost, a commercial photographer.

(via Bifurcated Rivets)


  1. I saw a tv show this past year that suggested photos of the quake had been retouched at the time to make the damage look not as bad as it really was.

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