San Fran looks to 100th quake year

It’s rare that a destination would point out its faults, but in the case of San Francisco there’s one in particular that will be getting a lot of attention this April. The 290-mile rupture along the San Andreas Fault, at 650 miles California’s longest and most notorious zone for earthquakes, caused San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire.

Geologists are quick to point out, however, that the tremor that “shook San Francisco like a wet dog” was, in fact, felt from Humboldt County in the north all the way south to Hollister, San Benito County.

Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce details on several special civic events shortly. Among the official activities planned for the centennial are a three-day safety expo April 15-17 and the annual commemorative ceremony at Lotta’s Fountain on the morning of April 18.

An outdoor concert is slated for later in the year. All details will be posted on, the Web site for the city’s official commemorative events.

More events are posted on An alliance of more than 200 Bay Area organizations has posted months of activities to “commemorate, celebrate and educate.”


Special hotel, restaurant and sightseeing promotions will be posted after March 15 on, the Web site of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hotels will be offering special packages, local chefs are recreating circa 1906 menus and sightseeing companies are adding earthquake content to their tours.

Special 1906 centennial event calendars being printed by the 1906 Centennial Alliance will be available after March 15 at the Visitor Information Center, 900 Market St. near San Francisco’s Powell Street cable car terminus, as well as other locations throughout the Bay Area.

The centennial is also being perceived as a “teachable moment.” Not only will there be a renewed focus on public safety issues, but also educational activities for all ages. Ultimately what will be celebrated is the spirit of a city that was determined to rebuild itself with courage and vision.

Complete event details are posted on Event highlights include:

Through May 30, 2006.
1906 Earthquake: A Disaster in Pictures
SFMOMA, 151 Third St.
SFMOMA mounts an exhibition of approximately 60 vintage photographs drawing from the museum’s collection as well as from local public and private holdings. The exhibit includes views of the destroyed city, including spectacular panoramas by the firm Garrison and Huddleston and glass lantern slides by Arnold Genthe, as well as snapshots, albums and photo quilts from amateur photographers. For information, call 415-357-4000 or visit Media contact: Libby Garrison, 415-357-4177, [email protected]

Through June 4, 2006
After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006:
Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire
Legion of Honor, 34th Avenue and Clement Street
The result of extensive fieldwork, which took photographer Mark Klett through mounds of archival photographs to the streets of present-day San Francisco, this exhibit at the Legion of Honor, 34th Avenue and Clement Street, features 75 current photographs of the city paired with its 1906 counterpart. For information call 415-863-3330 or visit Media contact: Barbara Traisman, 415-750-3620, [email protected]

Through June 10, 2006
Jack London and the Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906
California Historical Society, 678 Mission St.
On the morning of April 18, 1906 author Jack London and his wife, Charmian, were shaken awake in their Glen Ellen home, 49 miles from San Francisco. By 6 am, they were on horseback surveying the damage at their nearby ranch which had been reduced by rubble and over the course of the next few days, they made a journey from Ft. Bragg to San Francisco. The photos they took, the words they expressed have been chronicled in this exhibit at the California Historical Society, 678 Mission St. For more information, call 415-357-1848 or visit Media contacts: David Perry, 415-693-0583, [email protected] or Darlene Plumtree, 415-357-1848 ext. 215.

Through December, 2006
Japantown Centennial
San Francisco’s Japantown moved to the Western Addition district following the April 1906 earthquake that devastated the South Park and Chinatown areas, the original Japantown locations. San Francisco’s Japantown is the first and oldest of its kind on the continental U.S. and was established when the first Japanese immigrants arrived in San Francisco in the 1860s. With the relocation of the community came more Japanese businesses, shops, churches, schools, restaurants, hotels, and other organizations, which grew in the Western Addition and further supported the growth of the community. The neighborhood took on a very Japanese character and before long became a miniature Ginza known as Nihonmachi, or Japantown. For more information, visit or Media contact: Teresa Ono, 415-567-5505 or [email protected]

February 27-June 30, 2006
San Francisco Is In Ashes: The Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906
Wells Fargo History Museum, 420 Montgomery St.
Photographs, artifacts and interactive displays form the core of this exhibit at the Wells Fargo History Museum, 420 Montgomery St. As one of San Francisco’s oldest businesses, Wells Fargo delved into their rich archives to produce this exhibit. For information call 415-396-2619 or visit Media contact: Julia Tunis, 415-222-3858, [email protected]

March 24 and 31
Earthquake Mass
Grace Cathedral, 1051 Taylor St.
Chanticleer, the internationally acclaimed 12-man vocal ensemble performs Antoine Brumel’s rarely performed Renaissance masterpiece, Earthquake Mass (Missa Et ecce terrae mortus) at Grace Cathedral, 1051 Taylor St. Performances are also slated for Santa Clara and Berkeley. For information, call 415-252-8589 or visit Media contact: Nancy Roberts, 415-252-8589 ext. 306, [email protected]

April 1, 2006
Don’t Be Fooled, Be Prepared
California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard St.
Learn why the Bay Area has earthquakes and what to do before, during and after the next big one at the California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard St. In In addition to scheduled programs, representatives from the following institutions will visit the museum to intereact with Academy visitors: American Red Cross, U.S. Geological Service, San Francisco Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Services. Quake, Rattle, and Roll, a new puppet show teaching kids and their families how to be earthquake safe, premieres today, too. For information, call 415-321-8000 or visit Media contact: Pat Kilduff, 415-321-8125, [email protected]

April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Barbary Coast Trail Walking Tour - 1906 Earthquake and Fire Tours
Old Mint, Fifth and Mission Streets
Every Saturday morning in April members of the San Francisco Historical Society will lead special two-hour earthquake tours of the Barbary Coast Trail. The free tours (rain or shine) departing from the Old Mint, Fifth and Mission streets, at 10 am. Come hear tales of the tragedies and triumphs, devastation and renewal of those fateful days. Learn how the Old Mint was saved from certain destruction. See the landmark where survivors gathered to reunite with friends and loved-ones. Find out how the City’s premier hotel continued to operate as its destroyed building was restored. Visit the only structure in Chinatown to have survived the disaster. For more information, call or visit Media contact: Nancy Fox, 415-459-3434, [email protected]

April 1-31, 2006
Magnitude X: Quake Science and Survival
The Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon St.
The Exploratorium, 3601 Lyon St., shakes up the Bay Area with a series of exhibits and programs covering the science, structural engineering and human dimensions of earthquakes. Exhibit includes an interactive demonstration of real rescue dogs; an offbeat, quivering, large-scale Jell-O model of San Francisco by artist Liz Hickok, on view for one day (April 22). See earthquakes pop up on an international map as they occur throughout the world. A sampling of a month-long collection of exhibits and demonstrations cover liquefaction, the physics of waves, resonance, seismic action and the mathematics of sine waves. For information, call 415-EXP-LORE (397-5673) or visit Media contact: Linda Dackman, 415-561-0363, [email protected]

April 1-August 13, 2006
Aftershock! Personal Stories from the 1906 Earthquake and Fire
The Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland
The Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, remembers the seismic catastrophe that rocked the Bay Area; the 4,000-square-foot exhibition, with more than 250 artifacts and photographs, is the largest in California dedicated to the centennial of the earth-shaking events of April 18, 1906. Aftershock! recounts how individuals withstood and rebounded from the calamitous 1906 events. Visitors to Aftershock! can experience a simulated earthquake via a “shake table” under a re-created Victorian room that rolls and pitches. A three-minute tape of digitally enhanced photographs and archival film footage helps visualize the impact of the temblor. The exhibition includes one of the original 14- by 12-foot canvas tents erected as temporary shelter for the newly homeless. For information, call 510-238-2200 or visit Media contact: Elizabeth Whipple, 510-238-3402, [email protected]

Beginning April 2, 2006
San Francisco City Guides
In commemoration of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, City Guides will feature three new walks throughout 2006. Learn what it was like to escape the disaster and rebuild in the aftermath and meet some great characters along the way. Many of the regular tours will also feature added 1906 content. Tours, “It Can’t Happen Here,” “Phoenix Rising,” “Are We There Yet?” are free. For details on hours and days offered, call 415-557-4266 or visit Media contact: Abby Daniels, 415-557-4266, [email protected]

April 1-30, 2006
Survivors: Life in an ‘06 Quake Camp
Presidio of San Francisco, Main Post at Lincoln Blvd and Halleck St.
The 1906 Earthquake and Fire left more than 200,000 San Franciscans homeless. Experience what life was like for them through the Presidio’s re-creation of a refugee camp, Main Post at Lincoln Blvd and Halleck St. Enter the tents and earthquake cottages to learn more about the earthquake and fires that followed, and how refugees overcame the physical and emotional challenges of obtaining food, water, clothing, shelter, and medical care, while keeping their families together as they struggled to rebuild their lives. Learn how race relations and other issues were handled in the tent cities. As part of the re-creation, you might find yourself patrolling with a soldier or sewing with a seamstress. For information, visit or Media contact: Bob Holloway, 415-331-1563 and 415-595-5395, [email protected]

April 1-May 7, 1006
Chinatown is Burning!
The Chinese Historical Society of America commissioned Chinese American storyteller, musician, and performer Charlie Chin to research and invoke the persona of Hugh Liang. Liang, a real historical figure, was a teenager living in Chinatown at the time of the 1906 earthquake. He survived the earthquake and fires, to witness the rebuilding of his community. Chinatown is Burning! will be performed before K-12 classes and at various venues in San Francisco during the centennial. For locations and details on performance locations, call 415-391-1188 or visit Media contact: Leonard Shek, 415-391-1188 ext. 107, [email protected]

April 1-May 28 (weekends and weekdays by appointment (particularly for schools.
The Hayward Fault Exposed! An Interpretive Viewing and Educational Exhibit
Fremont Central Park
Commemorate the 1906 San Francisco earthquake by standing face-to-face with an earthquake fault. As part of the Bay Area-wide commemoration of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, this exhibit will feature a 12- to 15-feet-deep trench across the Hayward fault in Fremont’s Central Park. The fault is easily seen here and visitors are encouraged to descend a staircase to meet the Hayward fault face-to-face. Surrounding the trench will be educational displays and posters providing information about earthquakes, faults and preparedness. For details visit Media contact Heidi Stenner, 650-329-4801, [email protected]

April 3-September 18, 2006
Earthquake: The Chinatown Story
Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay St.
Stories about Chinese Americans and their families are revealed in this exhibit by the Chinese Historical Society of America, 965 Clay St. Using anecdotes collected from their survivors and their descendents, newspaper accounts, photos and other artifacts, the exhibit also tells the story of how Chinatown was allowed to rebuild within its original boundaries rather than relocate to Hunters Point. For information call 415-391-1188 or visit Media contact: Marisa Louie, 415-398-1188 ext. 101, [email protected]

April 5, May 19-20
Diablo Ballet - Earthquake
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St.
A special dance production by Diablo Ballet celebrates 100 years of advances in earthquake engineering. The world premiere of this Computer and Structures, Inc.-commissioned work is at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., April 5. Performances are also slated for the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, May 19-20. For information, call 415-978-ARTS or 925-943-7469 or visit Media contact: David Hicks, 925-943-1775 ext. 4, [email protected]

April 8-August 20, 2006
Snapshot Chronicles
San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St.
At the turn of the 20th century, the emergence of inexpensive, portable cameras made it possible for many people to record their lives in pictures for the first time. The centerpiece of the exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St., features 1906 photo albums made by San Francisco residents and tourists to the city who witnessed and took photos of the earthquake devastation and fire and chronicled their experiences in their personal photo albums. For information, call 415-557-4282 or visit Media contact: Sherri Eng, 415- 557-4282, [email protected]

April 12-December 8, 2006
Shake, Bake & Spin!
San Francisco and the Media in the Aftermath of the 1906 Earthquake
Society of California Pioneers Museum, 300 Fourth St.
As the city crumbled and San Franciscans scrambled to meet their most basic needs, political ambition, commercial greed and media manipulation rose to unprecedented heights. Mayor Eugene Schmitz and James D. Phelan worked with bankers, insurance companies, real-estate developers and the local press to downplay the severity of the catastrophe, protect property, sustain morale and focus attention on the rebuilding of the city. Using historic documents, retrieved relics, photographs, newspapers and rare film footage to examine the repackaging and reselling of the events of April 18, 1906 the Society of California Pioneers Museum, 300 Fourth St., commemorates the centennial of the great earthquake and fire. For information, call 415-957-1849 or visit Media contact: John Hogan, 415-957-1848, [email protected]

April 15-17, 2006
1906 Great Earthquake and Fire Expo
Pier 48
Presented by the San Francisco Fire Department Historical Society at Pier 48 (one block from AT&T Park), this exposition features historical exhibits with vintage fire apparatus; memorabilia and artifacts; historical photographic displays; fireboat tours and displays; an old-time firefighter muster with bucket brigades, hose cart races, hand-operated fire pumps from the 1800s, steamer operation, horsedrawn pumps and a 65-foot ladder raise. The San Francisco Office of Emergency Services & Homeland Security will also be participating in the expo and will offer tips on preparing for the next quake at home and in the workplace. The expo will also feature live entertainment, food and beverages and the 1906 Great Earthquake and Fire Dance on Saturday night, April 15, with a turn-0f-the-century costume contest. For more information, visit Media contact: Paul L. Barry, 415-706-7994, [email protected] or Sarah Tyler, 415-760-1576, [email protected]

April 17-18, 2006
1906 Centennial - San Francisco Rising
The Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St.
More than 1,000 guests are expected to attend a gala at The Palace Hotel on April 17. The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society and the Chinese Historical Society of America are the joint presenters of the event marking the 100th anniversary of the earthquake and celebrating the spirit and rebirth of the great city of San Francisco. Tickets are also available for a breakfast on the morning of April 18. For more information, call 415-775-1111 or visit Media contact: Joanne Ireland, 415-409-4299 ext. 226, [email protected]

April 18, 2006
Lotta’s Fountain Commemoration
Lotta’s Fountain, Market and Kearny Streets
Those who lost their lives in the 1906 earthquake and the ensuing firestorm—as many as 3,000 at last count—will be memorialized in traditional ceremonies at Lotta’s Fountain, Market and Kearny streets, on April 18, 2006 beginning at 4:30 am. Each year a small corps of survivors is also honored at this time; at press time organizers were in touch with 21 survivors. Media contact: Taren Sapineza, 760-720-9194, [email protected] or Lee Housekeeper, 415-777-4700, [email protected]

April 18-22, 2006
Earthquake Conference
Moscone Center, 747 Howard St.
This five-day 100th anniversary conclave at Moscone Center, 747 Howard St., is sponsored by the Seismological Society of America (SSA), Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and the California Office of Emergency Services (COES) will offer a unique perspective on what happened in 1906 and what can be learned from the past to prepare for the future. More than 2,000 risk management professionals, researchers, academicians and others from more than 40 countries are expected to attend the conference. For information, visit Media contact: Solem Associates, [email protected]

April 18-June 30, 2006
Earthquake Cottage Display
Yerba Buena Lane
More than 5,000 earthquake shacks housed over 16,000 refugees of the 1906 earthquake and fire. They were then moved out of the camps to private lots across the city, helping to repopulate San Francisco. One of these small dwellings will be on display on Yerba Buena Lane (south side of Market street, between Third and Fourth streets) by April 18, 2006. Interpretive displays and exhibits by the San Francisco Building Department will accompany it. For more information, visit Media contact: Woody LaBounty, 415-759-6429, [email protected]

April 18-October 31, 2006
W.A. Coulter: A Master’s Brush With The Sea
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s Visitor Center, 499 Jefferson St.
Staged in the heart of the noted maritime artist Coulter’s waterfront, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park’s Visitor Center, 499 Jefferson St., this exhibit features his 10-foot-long earthquake painting San Francisco Fire, 1906 which was painted on a window shade pulled from the rubble of the quake. Other paintings from private and public collections make this the largest and most complete retrospective of Coulter’s work ever attempted. For information, call 415-556-3002 or visit or Media contacts: Lynn Cullivan, 415- 561-7006 or [email protected] or Linda Kahn, 415-346-0643.

April 21, 2006
Cartography of Ashes
Fire Station No. 7, 19th and Folsom Streets
A free, outdoor film event, Cartography of Ashes, will combine archival images with footage of contemporary San Francisco and narration by San Francisco firefighters. Beginning at 8 pm the film will be projected on a firefighters’ training tower located at Fire Station No. 7, 19th and Folsom streets in the city’s Mission District. For information, call 415-621-4054 or visit Media contact: Dolissa Medina, [email protected]