History of San Francisco

Rebuilding San Francisco following the 1906 Earthquake

Ruins of Hibernia Bank Building, Market and Jones Streets, after the 1906 Earthquake

Almost immediately after the quake re-planning and reconstruction plans were hatched to quickly rebuild the city. One of the more famous and ambitious plans, proposed before the fire, came from famed urban planner, Daniel Burnham. His bold plan called for Haussmann style avenues, boulevards, and arterial thoroughfares that radiated across the city, a massive civic center complex with classical structures, what would have been the largest urban park in the world, stretching from Twin Peaks to Lake Merced with a large athenaeum at its peak, and various other proposals. This plan was dismissed at the time and by critics now, as impractical and unrealistic to municipal supply and demand. Property owners and the Real Estate industry were against the idea as well due to the amounts of their land the city would have to purchase to realize such proposals. While the original street grid was restored, many of Burnham's proposals eventually saw the light of day such as a neo-classical civic center complex, wider streets, a preference of arterial thoroughfares, a subway under Market Street, a more people friendly Fisherman's Wharf, and a monument to the city on Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower. In 1907/8, the city was rocked by graft investigations and trials involving bribery of the Board of Supervisors from so-called public service corporations that put mayor Eugene Schmitz and Abe Ruef in jail.


Earthquake, Rebuild, Daniel Burnham