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The Great San Francisco Earthquake
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Last message sent in front of the Hall of Justice before the approach of the fire. In the June-July 1906 issue of Sunset Magazine that reviewed how the earthquake crisis was handled, author Edwin Emerson, Jr. described what happened when telegraph and telephone lines were destroyed:

"Communication with Washington was broken, and so was telephonic connection with municipal headquarters with the demolished City Hall. As in the olden days before telegraphs and telephones were invented, General [Frederick] Funston [the ranking Army officer in the city] had to call for dispatch riders and sent them galloping over to Fort Mason and the Hall of Justice. General Funston's marching orders reached Fort Mason and the Presidio shortly after six. Within a few minutes after its receipt fifteen hundred United States soldiers, in full campaign equipment, were marching into the panic-stricken city to form an effective military cordon against fire and lawlessness."

In the aftermath, Funston would be praised for taking the initiative to protect the city. But accounts also emerged of soldiers barring people from rescuing their possessions, taking part in looting, and even shooting citizens in the streets.

With communications lines down, should the Army have seized control to keep the city from descending into anarchy?

 

Yes

No


 
Did you watch the film, "The Great San Francisco Earthquake"?
(Please vote "yes" if you watched at least half of the film.)
 

Yes

No

 

If yes, did it influence your answers?

 

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The Great San Francisco Earthquake American Experience

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