The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake: The Largest In Continental U.S. History

By | April 16, 2020

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More than 28,000 buildings were destroyed. (

On this day, 114 years ago, the residents of San Francisco were jolted out of their beds in the early morning hours by the biggest earthquake in the history of the continental United States. By the time it—and the raging fires it caused—finished its rampage, more than 3,000 people were dead and about 80% of San Francisco was in ruins. It remains one of the United States' worst natural disasters to this day. Let’s take a closer look at the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 

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Earthquake damage, followed by devastating fires. (

San Francisco In The Early 1900s

Around the turn of the century, San Francisco was called "The Paris of the West." More than half a million people lived in the city, which was full of grand hotels, opera houses, stately mansions, universities, and of course, its iconic cable cars. Some of the era's greatest authors spent time in San Francisco, including Oscar Wilde, Ambrose Bierce, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Mark Twain. Renowned Italian opera star Enrico Caruso performed in San Francisco the night before the earthquake struck.