Photograph, original, 7 ½ x 9 ½ sepia toned gelatin. No. 140 Kearny & Geary Sts Aug 1 1906. R.J. Waters & Co. photographer’s imprint. Strong view of the aftermath of th fire and earthquake. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck the coast of Northern California at April 18 with an estimated moment magnitude of 7. Devastating fires soon broke out in the city and lasted for several days. More than 3,000 people died. Over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed. The events are remembered as one of the worst and deadliest earthquakes in the history of the United States. The death toll remains the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California's history and high on the lists of American disasters.
The photographer RJ Waters was born in Virginia City, NV and worked out of Gold Hill, NV until his move to San Francisco. After the disaster, the California Insurance Company made the unusual decision to cover losses from the earthquake, and was the only insurance company that did this. Besides providing an important kick-start to the rebuilding effort, this gesture brought new customers. To emphasize their important contribution to the rebuilding of San Francisco, the insurance company commissioned a photographer, R.J. Waters & Co., to make a large panorama photograph of San Francisco on April 22, 1906 He became well known for his photos of the SF quake and later did some innovative work for the Pan Pacific Exposition in 1915.
Image tipped on to old paper, perhaps from album page. Tips of image on the t/r and t/r corner missing, o/w very appealing image with good tonality.