Happy Earthquake Day

Flag of San Francisco

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake occurred on the San Andreas Fault at 5:12 am on April 18, 1906. Interestingly, the Phoenix was already the symbol of the city of San Francisco, and had already appeared on the SF City flag since it was adopted on April 14, 1900. Since 1906, the Phoenix on the SF flag and as a symbol of San Francisco in general has been interpreted to reference its recovery from the devastating fires that followed the 1906 quake. The motto on the flag means “Gold in peace, iron in war.”

My great grandfather, living in Oakland, took the ferry (as there was no bridge until the ’30s) to San Francisco to fight the fires. Almost 500 people died in San Francisco, with a total death toll throughout the area estimated at the time as 700-800. Later estimates put the number of deaths caused by the disaster, directly or indirectly, at more like 3,000.




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