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Lotta's Fountain

Landmarks from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake


A social landmark then and now
Photo (c) Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com (fair use policy)
In the days after the earthquake and fires, the downtown was a trackless wasteland of rubble and ruins. Lotta's Fountain, a bronze landmark donated to the city by singer Lotta Crabtree in 1875, became a meeting point for many people trying to reassemble their families. The city holds a ceremony here every April 18th at 5:12 a.m., the moment of the mainshock, attended by earthquake survivors and dignitaries.

Behind Lotta's Fountain is the Palace Hotel, then and now a magnificent place to stay. The original hotel survived the quake in good shape, thanks to its massive construction, but was burnt out soon afterward when its independent water supply failed. The hotel was rebuilt with a simpler exterior but reproducing the original interior. Photos old and new are presented at the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum.

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