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1906 Earthquake Centennial Alliance

Activities & Events

1906: The Great Quake: The History of a Disaster

Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

This exhibition, commemorating the centennial of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, features manuscripts, photographs, prints, books, and ephemera from The Bancroft Collection, providing a historical overview of the disaster.

On April 18, 1906 at 5:12 am, the San Andreas Fault broke loose with a magnitude 7.9 earthquake. The quake started beneath the boundary of San Mateo and San Francisco counties and propagated north as far as Shelter Cove in Humboldt County and south to Hollister in San Benito County. All in all, the rupture extended nearly 260 miles and took 40 to 65 seconds to complete, causing strong shaking all along its length.

Berkeley and the campus were spared much damage, but on the day of the quake, UC Berkeley sent its Cadet Corps into the city to help with search and rescue and firefighting. In the next few weeks, the university also contributed to the relief efforts, as more than 20,000 displaced people came to the East Bay, some as casualties to be treated in temporary hospitals on campus (one located where the south wing of Wurster Hall is today), and others as refugees to live for a time in a tent city where Hearst Gymnasium now stands.

Plans to rebuild San Francisco developed quickly, as its business community was eager to ensure that the city would prosper again as it had before the earthquake. At the same time, UC Berkeley faculty members were engaged in a study of the earthquake that yielded many new insights into earthquake processes and needed improvements in building safety.


January 13, 2006 - April 5, 2006

Spring Semester Hours (Jan 16 - May 19)
Mon - Fri: 10 am - 5 pm
Sat-Sun: Closed

Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, Main Library
University of California, Berkeley
2121 Allston Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

For more information, call (510) 642-3781 or visit http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/.


Brown Gallery, Doe Library, University of California


Historical look at the events of April 18, 1906 and the aftermath.


General public. Free event.


Theresa Salazar, (510) 643-8153

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