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Old 06-09-2010, 07:30 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Spooky ... 4 days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake


This film on YouTube is almost spooky. It is a good quality movie—105 years old! ... Please note that it is not jerky as we often see in old film—all movements are natural.

Traffic was a combination of motor cars, street cars, bicycles, buses and horse-drawn vehicles. It’s not clear if there were rules of the road—people seemed to drive wherever they wanted—some steering wheels were on the right side. Everyone wore a hat. Women were fully-covered—only missing the veil.

This is well worth viewing and filmed 4 days before the '06 earthquake.
You'll appreciate the research that it took to date this film so be sure to read this first.....

Here's a neat opportunity to enjoy some time travel. The film is from a cable car traveling down Market Street in San Francisco, four days before the big earthquake/fire that destroyed the area. You can clearly see the clock tower at the end of the street at the Embarcadero wharf that's still there ...

The quality & detail is great, so be sure to view it full screen.

The film, was originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).

It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing.

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Old 06-09-2010, 07:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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wow, what chaos in the streets... horse, cars, cable cars, pedestrians...

It's a wonder they all didn't get killed on the streets.
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:38 PM   #3 (permalink)

Last edited by settie; 03-28-2016 at 12:45 AM..
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Old 06-09-2010, 07:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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excellent video sir.
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Old 06-10-2010, 02:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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What a fascinating look into another time. So very different from our own. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Loved it!
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow! That was well worth watching. Thanks for posting it bobby.
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Great vid, its so fascinating to me to see the world in such a different time. I used to love sitting around and staring at old photographs in history books...after all its the closest thing we have to a time machine.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks, I thought it was a home movie of my last visit.
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Old 06-11-2010, 06:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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That was great. Wish I was born 100 years earlier.
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Old 06-12-2010, 05:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What a find! Many thanks, bobby. I'm going to watch it again now.

---------- Post added at 09:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:45 PM ----------

I think every automobile in the film had right-hand drive!
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Old 06-13-2010, 12:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
Nice find Bobby. Admirers might also appreciate the following - very early colour footage of London from 1927 with wry intertitles.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Amazing videos. They really make me feel like I'm back in time...they bring the past back to life in such an impressive way. I'm astounded.
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:13 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by oliver9184 View Post
Nice find Bobby. Admirers might also appreciate the following - very early colour footage of London from 1927 with wry intertitles.
Thats amazing. I really am fascinated by the use of color film before it was the standard choice. Since so much early film and photography is in B&W it's really hard to connect with, almost to the point that you feel like your looking at an alien world (Am I the only one who pictures history in B&W?). Without any context, and completely ignoring the fashion and technology, the above movie looks like it could have been filmed in 1977...and somehow (in my tired state I simply can't articulate this properly) I feel more connected with it...in other words it doesn't look like a dream.

Okay that made no sense so instead I'll just write, cool move!!!! <--- thats probably I should be writing right now.

Incidently that reminded a lot of the WWI color pics that seemed to be making the rounds a few years ago...put the era in a whole new perspective for me.

Here's a link if any one hasn't seen them

World War One Color Photos - Color Photos from World War I

Actually that made me think of another awesome link, the early 20th century photography of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii...honestly these look like they were taken last week on a high end digital camera, only most are from around 1910, astounding!

The Empire That Was Russia: The Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record Recreated (A Library of Congress Exhibition)
Just navigate through the menu and you'll get all the pics.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:21 AM   #15 (permalink)
Those Russian ones are brilliant, and poignant as he was photographer to the Tsar - capturing a way of life and traditions that would be buried for good in just a few years.

This is my favourite - look at the water! That's not something you could get using a modern camera. I wouldn't be surprised if that guy knew Rasputin.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:59 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Yeah thats one of my favs too, and to think the text said he had served at that position for, I think, 66 years. That means he was standing on that plank, wearing that outfit and doing his thing when Queen Victoria first ascended to the throne, amazing.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:38 PM   #17 (permalink)
Hi. I am a new user, so I cannot post links right now.

But there is a longer version of the pre-quake film. It is 13:53 minutes long.

Go to YouTube and search for "A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire 1905"

But to get the full impact of the quake, also do a search on "San Francisco Earthquake Damage 1906". It is 7:44 minutes.


Take a look at the post-quake film at 6:20 onward. You will see a building on the right which has a billboard. It says GEN ARTHUR.

Then take a look at the long version of the pre-quake version, starting at about 11:14. Look at the buildings on the right.

Then roll both of them back.

Before and after. You can see exactly what was destroyed.


If someone who is able to post links could post those two links, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
Here are the two links.

G5000 it's not difficult to put youtube links in here. All you have to do is get the last part of the URL, whatever comes after the = sign, and put it in between youtube tags like this

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1906, days, earthquake, francisco, san, spooky

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