Saturday, March 26, 2011

Film of downtown San Francisco 4 days before the 1906 quake, and after

This is a 9-minute 35mm film of Market Street heading east towards the ferry terminal building shot from the front of a cable car.

These are the comments from the poster on YouTube.

Dir...Miles Brothers.

This 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 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. Amazing but true! Copied from

Additional comments from the person who sent me this link:

This film was "lost" for many years. It was the first 35mm film ever that has come to light. It was taken by a camera mounted on the front of a cable car as it`s traveling down the street. You feel as if you're really there, standing at the front looking down the street, an amazing piece of historic film. The number of automobiles is staggering for 1906. Absolutely amazing! The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there. How many street-cleaning people were employed to pick up after the horses? Talk about going green!
Great historical film!

No wonder there had to be laws created to regulate driving habits. This is insane. Good thing they couldn't go very fast. This is a fascinating movie. A camera on the front of a street car 105 years ago. Look at the hats the ladies were wearing and the long dresses. Some of the cars had the steering wheels on the right side, I wonder when they standardized on the left? Sure were still a lot of horse drawn vehicles in use. Mass transit looked like the way to get around. Looks like everybody had the right of way! And the >people in San Francisco were already jaywalking!

This next one is the same film, but it's been cleaned up. There is additional footage at the end that's worth seeing, even if the music is not half so good as the previous clip.

A trip down Market Street. The original version of which can be downloaded at suffered badly from "Film Roll" at the beginning and end, this version however has had those faults corrected and shows a lot more detail particularly at the end were the film froze and skipped frames.

Finally, the footage from four days before the quake has been displayed side-by-side with footage of the same trip, but right after the quake and fire.


No comments: