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Old 01-24-2013, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Vineland, NJ area
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How would modern San Francisco be today if the earthquake of 1906 never happened? How would things like infrastructure, culture, economy, protege, etc be different for the city.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:29 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Protege? Wha?

I don't think it would be that different. It only took a few years for The City to rebuild itself after 1906. I suppose the main difference is that there would be more pre-1906 buildings around. We also probably wouldn't have seawater cisterns all over the place. And Lotta's Fountain wouldn't exist.

Now if the 1989 quake had never happened, things really would be quite different. The Embarcadero freeway might still exist, and the impetus to rebuild the eastern span of the Bay Bridge wouldn't have been there.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Baghdad by the Bay (San Francisco, California)
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I bet San Francisco's population would be much higher and it would resemble Manhattan. Pretty much everything east of Van Ness burned to the ground in 1906, wiping the slate clean for a rapid rebuilding. I think, as is the case with most cities, had there not been this natural mass clearing, the City would have grown outward more, instead of in filling as it did. But, it still would have been contained by its geography.

In less tangible ways, the earthquake reaffirmed the resiliency of this city and bolstered its will to be a great city against all odds. Without that major setback, who knows if the boom of 1849 would have been sustainable to create the San Francisco we know today? More likely, it would have grown more to resemble Los Angeles, growing for a longer period, at a steadier pace. The big bridges might have come in a decade or so earlier and not been as grand, to serve a vibrant and wealthy, but not really really exceptional city that grew out of a mining town.

In terms of structures, there probably wouldn't be a Transamerica Pyramid or the overly articulated structural designs you see in tall buildings. There would be more glass curtain wall designs today, as seen in Los Angeles, and the buildings would be much taller. There would not be a Coit Tower, either.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:29 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalparadise View Post
In terms of structures, there probably wouldn't be a Transamerica Pyramid or the overly articulated structural designs you see in tall buildings. There would be more glass curtain wall designs today, as seen in Los Angeles, and the buildings would be much taller. There would not be a Coit Tower, either.
I don't really get how if the 1906 quake never happened how it would affect the city's high rises and Coit Tower.

Personally I don't think the city would be that different if the quake would have never occurred. I don't think the landscape of the city was even dramatically changed after they rebuilt it. The quake probably affected the East Bay more overall in the long run in terms of development than SF as it caused people to evacuate to Berkeley and Oakland.
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Old 01-24-2013, 03:05 PM
 
Location: Lafayette, CA
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I think a more interesting one would be what if the 1989 Earthquake had not happened.

I remember when I could get to Chinatown from the Bay Bridge by taking 480. I don't know many people who are still living in the Bay Area who remember driving on the Embarcadero freeway. I can close my eyes and still remember looking out into the Bay from that angle. Totally changed the look and feel of that area when it was torn down.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:28 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by dalparadise View Post
Pretty much everything east of Van Ness burned to the ground in 1906, wiping the slate clean for a rapid rebuilding..
There wasn't much west of Van Ness, mostly sand dunes. Some of the people who lost their homes moved to the East Bay, thereby stimulating growth in Berkeley and Oakland.

One thing I was surprised to learn recently about the '06 quake was that it had TWO epicenters; the 2nd one was under Santa Rosa, which also suffered destruction. Odd how that never enters the discussion; the focus is always on SF.
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:57 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
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Originally Posted by pch1013 View Post
Now if the 1989 quake had never happened, things really would be quite different. The Embarcadero freeway might still exist, and the impetus to rebuild the eastern span of the Bay Bridge wouldn't have been there.
I agree with this.

I also think @dalparadise is right. The population would be higher.

But if anyone has studied what happened during the 1906 quake, I think the Embarcadero, the Market St corridor and even City Hall would be completely different (remember, City Hall was destroyed).

Exactly how it would be different? I can't say because I've not studied the trends of that era to figure out what would have remained, but I know that the earthquake and its aftershocks rocked San Francisco.

I'm not sure if it's still there but the California Academy of Sciences had a great movie on earthquakes going over the summer and it led with the 1906 quake. I caught it twice during their Nightlife events.
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Old 01-24-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwillyfromphilly View Post
How would modern San Francisco be today if the earthquake of 1906 never happened? How would things like infrastructure, culture, economy, protege, etc be different for the city.
It's an interesting question, to be sure, but if it hadn't happened there certainly would be many more older buildings (especially ones made of brick!).

Some interesting images (some even in color) of SF before/after the earthquake: The 1906 Great Earthquake of San Francisco in colour: never-before-seen photos uncovered a century later in the Smithsonian

Also, here's a video of a trip on a cable car down Market St. taken only a few days before the earthquake (the video barely survived, only because it had been shipped out of SF one day before the quake):


Last edited by HockeyMac18; 01-24-2013 at 06:40 PM..
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:37 PM
 
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I think that San Francisco would continue be pretty much the same as it is now had the 1906 earthquake never happened!
The city would still have the same population numbers today, but yes maybe the Embarcadero and Central Freeway to nowhere would still be standing, so Octavia Blvd wouldn't exist.
Demographically! the city it self will always continue to change,people moving in people moving out;back during the 1980's and nineties you could ride the 22 Fillmore or the 39 Geary bus at 5'clock AM with hardly anyone on the bus, they were completely empty as oppose to today were commuters ride the buses to work almost 24/7.
The only different thing today is that San Francisco is getting more and more crowded, and soon the city will build higher skyscrapers as they have lifted the building height limit.
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