1906 Earthquake and Fire Memorial

Thanks to a generous $5,000 grant from the Victorian Alliance, we have now raised more than $15,000 for the 1906 Earthquake and Fire Memorial Plaque. This now ensures us the necessary funds to begin the design work, fabrication, permitting, and installation of the plaque, slated for April 18, 2019.

It's been a long process to raise the funds, and we are grateful to all the donors who made this happen! Now we need your help more than ever to meet this goal: SFHA is looking for a volunteer with the expertise in navigating the intricacies of City Hall to make sure the permitting process goes smoothly. Please contact project coordinator Joseph Amster joseph@sanfranciscohistory.org for more information. We'll post updates on further progress on this page.

Mockup of the proposed plaque site. Photo by Joseph Amster.

As incredible as it may sound, San Francisco has no designated memorial for the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906. While many consider Market Street’s Lotta’s Fountain, Golden Gate Park’s Portals of the Past, and the golden fire hydrant at the corner of 20th and Church Streets to be memorials, none of them have ever been designated as such, and none tell the story of the defining event in San Francisco’s history.

Chronicle Building postcard 1901 by Detroit Photographic Co./WikipediaSeeking to rectify this oversight, the San Francisco History Association intends to place a plaque on the de Young Building at the corner of Market and Geary Streets to serve as the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 Memorial. The owners of the de Young Building have granted permission for the placement of the plaque.

We chose this location because of its proximity to Lotta’s Fountain, the site of the annual commemoration of the earthquake and fire, as well as the building’s distinction of having survived the conflagration. 

The bronze plaque, which will measure 74” wide and 48” tall, will be placed on the Geary Street side of the building, and will be clearly visible from Lotta’s Fountain. To explain the history of the disaster to residents and visitors, it will feature a map of the burn area, the story of the disaster, and some history of the de Young Building. 

All donations are tax-deductible and will include a special thanks on the History Association’s website.