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Student: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Links Verified: June 11, 2009 

1906 San Francisco Earthquake Photographs

Link to USGS 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Link to San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection

Link to USGS Earthquake ABC

San Francisco Chronicle - April 18, 1956

Fun Stuff

Go To Student Lessons


The 1906 earthquake caused severe damage to many homes and businesses. Many were covered by insurance policies. Most insurance policies will cover damage from fire but most will not cover an "act of God" (such as earthquake, hurricane or flood) unless special coverage has been purchased. Most homes and businesses in San Francisco did not have this special coverage.

The instructions below are for students who would like to complete this lesson without a teacher's direction.


You are in the role of an insurance adjuster for a major insurance company. It is your job to decide if the damage to the home or business was caused by earthquake or by fire. If it is fire damage, your company must pay the claim. If the damage was from the earthquake, you may refuse the claim.

You have three pages of photograph examinations to fill out.

  1. Look at the Howard Street Photo of a building on Howard Street. Use information from the photo to fill out your Howard Street Analysis Form.

  2. Do the same for the building circled in San Francisco Before the Earthquake Photo. In the second picture, After Earthquake-During Fire, you will be looking at the same building after the earthquake as the fire started. The third picture was taken four days later. After looking at these three pictures, fill out the Circle Building Analysis Form and decide if there is coverage.

  3. Look at the Call Building Burning Photo, then Call Building Ruins. Fill out the Call Building Analysis Form for them and decide if there is coverage. (The Call building survived, was remodeled and is now called the Central Towers.)

  4. After you complete this lesson, please remember to Grade Our Site. Thank you.


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