Earthquake/Fire: Lafayette Park



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The striking images on these cards date from the afternoon of 4/19/1906, the second day of the fire, looking SE from Lafayette Park toward the corner of Gough/Sacramento. Lef: Weidner 212, postmarked SF 4/15/1907. At the left edge is 1941 Clay (SE corner Gough/Clay), with the tower of 1939 Clay just beyond, and the houses on the corner at the right edge are 1812/1814 Gough. Behrendt 229 shows the same image with dramatic coloring of flames added. Next: Weidner 229. Next: Rieder, postmarked Oakland 5/16/1906, less than a month after the earthquake and fire. Right: Weidner 210, postmarked U.S.S. South Dakota, postmark date illegible but card dated 2/20/1910; same image as Rieder. The houses at 1812/1814 Gough again appear at the right edge. Just left of the woman's white blouse is 1919 Sacramento, still standing in 2020. A Scheff postcard using this image is postmarked 7/26/1906, just three months after the fire. Unknown publisher 212 (probably Behrendt) enhances this image with sensationalized flames, and the image also appears in Behrendt's souvenir postcard folder Destruction of San Francisco by Fire and Earthquake, titled "Watching the Fire".

Weidner 212 must be taken earlier in the day, as in Weidner 210 a large tent has been erected, the park is filling with refugees and their belongings, and the fire is much closer. Punnett's Two Years After map shows that the fire burned to within a block of the park; it crossed Van Ness but was stopped at Franklin. Doolittle shows the burned area after the fire, looking east across Van Ness between Bush/Pine toward Nob Hill.



Steve's SF postcard pages: