San Francisco 1905 (Burnham plan)

What happened

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

On April 18, 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit San Francisco. The earthquake and subsequent fires caused widespread damage to the city, including destroying an estimated 25,000 buildings and leaving more than half the population homeless.

Plans to rebuild the city were made hastily as there was pressure to have the city repaired in time for the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915. Daniel Burnham’s plan was mostly disregarded and considered to be impractical.┬áIn looking at the map included with Burnham’s plan, compared to modern-day San Francisco, it is clear that very little of his street-scaping was actualized and much less open space and park land exists than he had included. Despite most of the city being rebuilt according to the original plan, some of Burnham’s vision was realized, particularly in the widening of certain streets and the building of a few “city beautiful” monuments (such as City Hall – the new city hall under construction on top; old city hall underneath).