Lost San Francisco BEFORE the earthquake: 19th-century photographs of the young California city show landscape which was razed by devastating 1906 quake and fire
- 247 black and white stereoscopic photo cards include panoramas of the bay before the Golden Gate Bridge
- The pictures were taken 50 years before the 1906 earthquake, when 3,000 people were killed in the disaster
- Alcatraz prison, which was built in 1910, is also missing in the album going for auction at Bonhams for $7,000
|1966 Fox Plaza, it stands on the site of the former Fox Theatre, demolished in 1963. I remember walking thru Van Ness and Market St. the strong winds of San Francisco magnified like a wind tunnel. It Acts like a sail, that many times my hat blew away. My recollection about this building were all positive, all the five years of my stay in Highway design and Urban Planning. The first twelve floors contain office space. Unlike many buildings, Fox Plaza has a 13th floor actually labeled "13", although this floor is the service floor and is not rented out. The 14th floor contains a gymnasium and laundry facilities as well as apartments, while floors 15 through 29 are exclusively rental apartments. The main attraction during coffee break was the fashion show atmosphere of beautiful young ladies well chosen by private companies at Fox Plaza to the delight of bachelors like us.|
San Francisco was undeniably one of the most important epicenters of change. The city's history with the Renaissance poets, the Beats, and a vibrant folk scene left it in a good position to serve as a cultural engine, and the ignition of the San Francisco Sound came from dozens of sources, from Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, and the British Invasion to UC-Berkeley's 1964 Free Speech Movement, the evolution of freeform FM radio, and the proliferation of hallucinogenic drugs. By 1967, San Francisco was the most psychedelic city in America, if not the world
A few customers stand beneath the doomed marquee on the night of February 10, 1963. The building was demolished and in its place the "Fox Plaza" was constructed a combination office and apartment building. Fox Plaza 5th floor was the site of my office in Urban Planning, Dept. of Transportation, State of California in the late 60's. The last film's were shown on February 15, 1963. The following night an event called "Farewell to the Fox" tookplace. After a week or so of selling off artifacts from the theater the wreaking ball took over
The snaps were unearthed in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History of what is considered the worst natural disaster in US history .
Thought to be the first colour photos from the devastating earthquake were taken by pioneer photographer Frederick Eugene Ives
|The first colour images of what is considered the worst natural disaster in U.S. history have emerged, showing in beautiful and horrific detail the deadly force of the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.|
The subsequent fire that engulfed the city left more than 3,000 dead and thousands more injured. Images of the devastation left behind were captured by pioneering photographer Frederick Eugene Ives.
The never before seen snaps of the city's downtown area were taken from the roof of the Hotel Majestic, where Ives stayed on an October 1906 visit, and were unearthed by a volunteer at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Skyline: These images look South East from the Hotel Majestic roof, towards what appears to be the dome of City Hall on the horizon (centre right)
His shots show the devastation in the North East of the city, near San Francisco Bay. They were stowed amid other items donated by Ives' son, Herbert, and discovered in 2009 by volunteer Anthony Brooks while he was cataloguing the collection.
Hand-colored photographs of the quake's destruction have surfaced before, but Ives' work is probably the only true color documentary evidence, Shannon Perich, associate curator of the Smithsonian's photography history collection believes.
Previous images: The subsequent fires tore through the city leaving nearly two-thirds of the population homeless
The pictures are street-level shots of San Francisco's shattered downtown and rooftop views overlooking miles of ruins.
They depict buildings damaged by fire and broken by the shaking ground. Some of the buildings still exist.
The process he used to produce colour images, creating separate slides for each primary colour in the light spectrum, required a long exposure and therefore was not conducive to capturing people and objects in motion.
Ives is well-known for inventing the half-tone reproduction process still used to print photographs in newspapers.
The Great Earthquake measured 7.9 on the Richter Scale as was felt as far away as Orgeon, Los Angeles and Nevada.
Around 227,000 and 300,000 people were left homeless out of a population of about 410,000 and lead to refugee camps set up along the coast, which were still operational two years after the quake.
The cost of the damage from the earthquake was estimated at the time to be around $400million, which is around $9.5 billion in today’s money.
She said Ives was one of only a few photographers experimenting with colour photography in the early 20th century and that his San Francisco images were meant to be viewed through a 3D device he invented but which never became a commercial success.
Perich told the San Francisco Chronicle: ‘Can you imagine how shocking these were?’
The Hotel Majestic, Ives base for these photographs, was built in 1902 - four years before the earthquake struck - and still stands on Sutter Street today. It claims to be 'San Francisco's oldest continuously operating hotel'.
The history section of its website, relating to the time of the disaster, states: 'The terrible fires that ravaged the city were halted at Van Ness Avenue, two blocks from The Majestic.'
San Francisco hill
San Francisco view today from the Coit tower.
|This map of San Francisco shows the hotel where Ives stayed and from its roof he pointed his camera East to Union Square and South to City Hall to photograph the destruction in color .|
The quake caused around $9billion-worth of damage in today's money, and the extent of it can be seen in this shot of Union Square, with the Victory statue in the distance
Vibrant: Downtown San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake
San Francisco City Hall, 1906The 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco largely gutted City Hall. Source: U.S. Geological Survey
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco