Historic Market Street Video Shot A Week Before 1906 Quake

Most of our readers have probably already watched the amazing historic film of Market Street in the early 1900s, but you probably didn’t realize the video was shot in April, 1906, merely a week before the 1906 earthquake and fires destroyed most of the buildings that lined the street in the film. 60 Minutes aired an excellent story about the video on Sunday, which you can watch above. One point worth noting: Some of those cars driving in and out of the picture were staged by the filmmakers, likely as an example of the technological innovation represented by those earlier vehicles. How times change.

  • We at Market Street Railway are proud that we were first — four years ago — to create a narrated video of this great 12-minute historic film that credited film historian David Kiehn and his research proving that the film was shot only a few days before the 1906 earthquake and fire. We’ve now updated that narration and put it to the latest, highest quality transfer ever of this film, by San Francisco film archivist Rick Prelinger. Responding to the demand we’ve gotten from visitors to our San Francisco Railway Museum (77 Steuart Street, across from the Ferry Building), we’re now offering this DVD for sale, with all proceeds going to our mission of preserving historic transit in San Francisco (the F-line streetcars and the cable cars). Visit streetcar.org to learn more.