At 5:12 am on
the morning of April 18th 1906, an initial shock awakened the residents of San
Francisco. Some 20 to 25 seconds later the great quake hit. Violent
shockwaves rocked the city for some 45 to 60 seconds. The earthquake was felt
from southern Oregon to south of Los Angeles and inland as far as central
Nevada. For the next four days the city burned. Although the exact
number will never be known, as many as three thousand people perished from the
quake and fires.
While the Cliff House survived the '06
earthquake with only $300 in damages, it was widely reported in the newspapers of
the day that it had
been washed into the sea...
Contrary to initial
reports, the Cliff House survived with only minor damage (see below)...
SF Chronicle - 23 Apr 1906
Sacramento Union - 23 April 1906
New York Times - 23 Apr 1906
San Francisco Call - 24 Apr 1906
The below postcard claims to show where
refugees camped after the earthquake, but other postcards of the era also
repeated the false claim that the Cliff House had slid into the sea.
Wilkins, the manager of the Cliff House at the time offered to house refugees
(see above clipping).
"Beach where the homeless refugees camped after the great San Francisco
calamity. Cliff House in distance."
SF Call - 24 April 1906
"Alarm is also felt for the safety of Mrs. Joseph Schwab,
sister-in-law of C. M. Schwab. Mrs. Schwab has been in San
Francisco for several weeks. She was
staying at the Cliff
is said to have slid into the sea."
is a very curious article as the Cliff House was NOT a hotel
according to all other information. So how was she staying
there? As a private guest? Unknown at this time.
SF Chronicle - 24 Jun 1906
San Francisco Call - 25 June 1906
When the Cliff House burned down a year
later, postcards sent to family and friends show very clearly the impact the
earthquake had on the people of San Francisco...
Gone but not forgotten. Did
not go out to see the ruins as see plenty of that in the city here...
S.S.L. Sept 24, 07
Dear Eddie, The powers that be seem determined to clean out the old town and
give us a better and greater one. - W.H. Ford
Oct 2, 07
One of the Cliff House
stereoviews has an advertisement
"Old Kirk Whisky" in the background.
here for an interesting
earthquake related story.
To firmly understand what San Francisco looked like just
days before the earthquake, be sure to watch this...