Remarkable Video from 1906 Shows San Fran’s Market Street Days Before the Earthquake
This film was shot on April 14, 1906, just four days before the San Francisco earthquake and fire that destroyed over 80% of the city. It was produced by moving picture photographers the Miles brothers: Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe.
Harry J. Miles hand-cranked the Bell & Howell camera which was placed on the front of a streetcar during filming on Market Street from 8th, in front of the Miles Studios, to the Ferry building.
The origin of the film was an enigma for many decades, and it was long thought to have been shot in September of 1905, after being dated as such by the Library of Congress based on the state of construction of several buildings.
However, in 2009 and 2010, film historian David Kiehn, co-founder of Niles Film Museum in Niles, California, dated the film to the spring of 1906 from automobile registrations and weather records. Kiehn eventually found promotional materials from the film’s original release and dated the film to April 14th, 1906, and finally gave credit to the filmmakers, the Miles Brothers.