Regional History from the National Archives

"There is practically nothing left..."

“At 5:13 o’clock A.M. of this 18th day of April 1906 San Francisco and vicinity was visited with a most violent earthquake shock.” The clerk of the U.S. District Court of San Francisco wrote these words in the court minute book, explaining why court was adjourned that day. His note describes one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the United States.

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The documents selected for this exhibit are primary sources that historians and other researchers study when they write about historical events. They are a selection from the files created or received by Federal agencies in or near San Francisco at the time of the disaster. They contain eyewitness testimony of the damage of the earthquake, the ensuing fires, and the desolation that was left in their wake.

The exhibited documents and other records concerning the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire are available for research at the
National Archives-Pacific Region (San Francisco) 1000 Commodore Drive
San Bruno, California 94066
Tel: 650-238-3500
Directions: By Car or Public Transport
Hours: Mon. thru Fri., 7:30 am to 4:00 pm