1906: Earthquake And Fire

Neighborhood: SOMA to Union Square


You are jolted awake in the morning of April 18, 1906 to a horrific scene. The San Andreas Fault has unleashed a shockwave felt from Los Angeles to Oregon, with the epicenter just off the coast of San Francisco. As the ground convulses, buildings disintegrate and fires are ignited. Your home, the capital of the West Coast, has been reduced to rubble in minutes: 28,000 buildings destroyed, 3,000 dead and more than 200,000 homeless. What followed that disaster, though, was one of the greatest stories of resilience in history — powered by the sheer will of the San Francisco people to rebuild their city and reclaim its place as the capital of the American West.

Walk with us and learn about the heroes who struggled valiantly against the fires — many whose efforts were in vain. How did the city’s vulnerable geologic location contribute to the most significant disaster in the US at the time — and how did the city heroically rebuild itself by 1910?. See the buildings that somehow survived the whirling inferno, from grand hotels and downtown landmarks to a legendary whisky distillery. Explore a magnificent tale of turning unimaginable loss into an unparalleled opportunity for reinvention.

Next Tours

  • Thursday, August 25 at 11:00 am given by Matthew LarsenSign Up
  • Thursday, September 1 at 11:00 am given by Harlan HirschfeldSign Up
  • Thursday, September 8 at 11:00 am given by Matthew LarsenSign Up
  • Thursday, September 15 at 11:00 am given by Kathleen ClarkeSign Up
  • Saturday, September 17 at 2:00 pm given by Tim ElamSign Up
  • Thursday, September 22 at 11:00 am given by Matthew LarsenSign Up
  • Thursday, September 29 at 11:00 am given by Matthew LarsenSign Up
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Tour Length: Approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours



Meet between the 525 building and 555 building on the south side of Market Street.


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Please note: Private groups tours required for groups of 8 or more.