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Pre-Earthquake: San Francisco in 1906

Thanks to the creative ideas of four early filmmakers, later generations have the chance to see San Francisco in early 1906, before the now famous Earthquake decimated the city.

Early video pioneers Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe Miles put together the film. Harry J. Miles manually operated the Bell & Howell camera on the front of a streetcar during its trip down Market Street.

According to Wikipedia:

“A virtual time capsule from over 100 years ago, the film shows many details of daily life in a major American city, including the transportation, fashions and architecture of the era.”



When the film was re-discovered, original estimates as to the date of production were sometime in 1905. Later research found a closer estimate to be spring of 1906, although the Library of Congress still recognizes the original estimated date of 1905.

Several copies of San Francisco in 1906 still exist in 35mm print – both at the Library of Congress and the Prelinger Archives.

In 2010 the San Francisco in 1906 film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.