Interactive Map of San Francisco Matches Photos From the 1906 Earthquake to Modern Places

Michele Debczak
City Hall Ruins. Image credit: OpenSFHistory
City Hall Ruins. Image credit: OpenSFHistory / City Hall Ruins. Image credit: OpenSFHistory

For modern San Franciscans, it can be hard to connect their dots between the city as they know it and the aftermath of the April 19, 1906 earthquake that took 3000 lives and changed the face of the metropolis forever. Now, a new project aims to visualize that devastating chapter in history in a way current residents can wrap their heads around.

This interactive map from the Western Neighborhoods Project plots thousands of photographs of the 1906 quake. Using resources like the San Francisco Public Library, the Online Archive of California, and the David Rumsey Map Collection, the organization was able to estimate the locations of the images more than a century after they were captured.

The pictures, taken by both amateurs and professionals, were donated to the Western Neighborhoods Project by an anonymous collector. Users can browse the images pin by pin, or enter their address to see what their neighborhood looked like in the wake of the destruction. “We see this as […] a gift to the people of San Francisco,” the project’s co-founder David Gallagher told City Lab. You can see some highlights from the collection below.

Temple Emanu-El

Hall of Justice

Financial District

[h/t City Lab]All image courtesy of OpenSFHistory