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Great San Francisco Earthquake, The

Great San Francisco Earthquake, The

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Item Number:
56 min.
Closed Caption:
WGBH Boston Video
Grade Level:
7 - 12
In the early 1900s, San Francisco stood as a proud and flourishing symbol of America's recent conquest of the once-wild West. But on April 18, 1906, the city would experience an awesome reminder of the uncontrollable forces lying dormant just beneath the splendors of its cosmopolitan surface. Thirty times more powerful than the temblor that decimated northern California in 1989, this earthquake measured a ground-wrenching 8.3 on the Richter scale, resulting in the worst catastrophe ever suffered by a North American city.

Narrated by Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham, the film begins with the sudden onset of the massive quake itself, where portions of the earth's crust were displaced as much as twenty-one feet. The colossal firestorms that raced through the city during the next days would continue the almost complete destruction of what had been until then western America's largest metropolis.

Captured in rare, newly restored movie footage from the period and the personal accounts of eyewitnesses, The Great San Francisco Earthquake is a breathtaking record of nature's unimaginable might—and of the survivors' equally impressive determination to rebuild their city and their lives.

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