San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Snapshots


San Francisco landing page image

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 is one of the most famous of the well-documented disasters of the early twentieth century. During the quake and fire that followed, more than 3,000 people died and over half of the city’s population was left homeless. 
In April of 1906, young Ogden native John Lorin Taylor was traveling in the Bay Area and witnessed the incident. The San Francisco Earthquake Snapshots collection (photograph collection P0346) at Utah State University’s Special Collections & Archives contains the twenty-five photographs which Taylor took on the day of the earthquake and the days following,  documenting the destruction of several buildings, such as the Emporium, City Hall, Merchants Exchange Building, and Hibernia Bank.
Using the snapshots (which Taylor captioned himself) and the stories of other witnesses, Utah State University’s San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Snapshots digital exhibit presents the story of the temblor, the buildings it destroyed, and the people who lived there.


by Elisabeth Cropper