Today marks the 113th anniversary of the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906, which largely decimated San Francisco and left a huge swath of the city homeless.
Back in my early years on duty at SFist, we would report on the couple of living survivors of the quake, all of whom were children when the entire Bay Area shook at 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, who would dutifully come to SF for the annual survivors' breakfast. And so huge was the disaster, and particularly the fire that followed, that the early-morning commemoration ceremonies still happen each and every year. (ABC 7 has some footage that you can see below from the ceremonial moment of silence at Lotta's Fountain this morning.)
The last known survivor, William Del Monte, died at the age of 109 in 2016.
As is tradition, the ceremony moves from Lotta's Fountain to repainting the gold-painted fire hydrant at 20th and Church streets that famously was the only working water source during the fire.
The Chronicle's architecture guy John King brings us the story of the Bourdette Building at 2nd and Mission streets, one of the sole survivors in that neighborhood and SF Landmark number 271. (The stretch of buildings along Jackson Street between Montgomery and Sansome was also saved from the flames — legendarily because it was home to a whiskey warehouse.)
But as SFist has done in the past and will continue to do, we're using the anniversary to give you the very important reminder to get your earthquake kit and go-bag together. Do you have water, food, and prescriptions to last you several days? Cash stashed away in small bills? A battery-powered radio?
Bijan Karimi, acting deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, said earlier this week that according to a report prepared by that department, a 7.8 magnitude quake like the one that struck in 1906 could kill anywhere from 200 to 7,800 people in San Francisco. The aftermath of the quake would likely find a third of SF households without power for three days or more, and half the city would likely be without running water for at least a month.
Be prepared, everybody. The Hayward Fault could go any day.