San Francisco Earthquake Films
About the Film
The same Miles Brothers who shot A Trip Down Market Street just four days before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake also took their camera on another trip down the city’s main artery to survey the ruins. This nine-minute segment, recently recovered at a California flea market, was identified by David Kiehn, the same Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum historian who had determined that A Trip Down Market Street was filmed so close to the estimated eight-point temblor that rocked the City by the Bay. The recovered footage is actually a composite of three films, showing not only from Fifth Street down to the Ferry Building, but also City Hall and, in a section tinted in red, the demolition of Prager’s Department Store at Jones Street. Restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival in partnership with Silver Shadows Gallery Ltd and the Essanay museum, these rarities are a small portion of the almost two hours of footage that the Miles Brothers shot of the devastated city.
About the Restoration
In June 1906 the Miles Brothers film company advertised a selection of short films depicting the city of San Francisco before and after the devastating earthquake and fire of 18 April 1906. This restored reel includes portions of three of the films that were offered for sale, specifically: #351 – Fifth St. to Market, down to Ferry #346 – Refugees Leaving City with their goods at Ferry Bldg; Blasting at City Hall #344 – Dynamiting Prager’s Dept. Store, at Jones and Market Sts. The final film, #344 – Dynamiting Prager’s Dept. Store, is tinted red in the original nitrate print. We have reproduced the tinting in this restoration. This restoration was completed in May 2018 as a partnership between Silver Shadows Gallery Ltd, the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Silver Shadows Gallery Ltd.