Historical Bibliography of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire


The following is a historical bibliography of works related to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires. The bibliography was originally prepared by the San Francisco Public Library and published in the city’s San Francisco Municipal Reports, 1905-1907, pp. 743-754.

The historical bibliography is transcribed here and is intended for research purposes. Citation styles have been left in their original format as much as possible.



(Prepared by the San Francisco Public Library)

List of Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Articles Relating to the San Francisco Earthquake, Fire and Relief Work of 1906.


  1. Aitken, F. W., and Hilton, E. History of the Earthquake and Fire in San Francisco. 1906.
  2. American National Red Cross. Bulletin. Vol. 1, No. 4; Vol. 2, No. 1.
  3. American Society of Civil Engineers. Report of a General Committee and Six Special Committees of the San Francisco Association of Members of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Effects of the San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906, on Engineering Construction. Proceedings. 33:299, 537.
  4. Bancroft, H. B. Some Cities and San Francisco, and Resurgam. 1907.
  5. Banks, C. E., and Read, O. P. History of the San Francisco Disaster and Mount Vesuvius Horror. 1906.
  6. Bennett, J. E. Rebuilding of San Francisco. 1906. Pamphlet.
  7. Best’s Special Report upon the San Francisco Losses and Settlements. Pamphlet.
  8. California Earthquake Investigation Commission. Preliminary Report. 1906.
  9. Complete History of the San Francisco Disaster and Mount Vesuvius Horror. 1906.
  10. Davidson, G. San Francisco Earthquake of April, 1906. (American Philosophical Proceedings. 45:164.)
  11. Davidson, G. Points of Interest Involved in the San Francisco Earthquake. (American Philosophical Proceedings. 45:178.)
  12. General Masonic Relief Fund. Report. Pamphlet.
  13. Gill, H. V. Possible connection between the recent Disturbances of Vesuvius and San Francisco. (Royal Dublin Society of Science Proceedings. June, 1906.)
  14. Givens, J. D. San Francisco in Ruins.
  15. Greely, A. W. Special Report of Major-General Adolphus W. Greely, U.S.A., commanding the Pacific Division, on the relief operations conducted by the military authorities of the United States at San Francisco and other points, with accompanying documents. 1906.
  16. Himmelwright, A. L. A. San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. A brief history of the disaster; a presentation of facts and resulting phenomena, with special reference to the efficiency of building materials; lessons of the Disaster. 1907.
  17. Irwin, W. H. City that Was. 1906.
  18. Japan. Imperial Earthquake Investigation Committee. Bulletin. Vol. 1, 1907.
  19. Jordan, D. S., ed. California Earthquake of 1906. Contents: Jordan, D. S., Earthquake Rift of April, 1906. Branner, J. C., Geology and the Earthquake. Derleth, C., Jr., Destructive Extent of the California Earthquake of 1906, its effect upon structures and structural materials, Within the Earthquake Belt. Gilbert, G. K., Investigation of the California Earthquake of 1906. Taber, S., Local Effects of the California Earthquake of 1906. Omori, F., Preliminary Note on the Cause of the California Earthquake of 1906. Fairbanks, H. W., Great Earthquake Rift of California. Austin, M., The Temblor, a personal narration. 1906.
  20. Joseph Dixon Crucible Co. Through Frisco’s Furnace. 1906. Pamphlet.
  21. Keeler, C. San Francisco Through Earthquake and Fire. 1906.
  22. Lafler, H. A. How the Army Worked to Save San Francisco. 1906. Pamphlet.
  23. Linthicum, R. San Francisco Earthquake Horror.
  24. McAdie, A. G. Catalogue of Earthquakes on the Pacific Coast, 1897 to 1906. 1907. (Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. Vol. XLIX.)
  25. Manson, M. Report of Marsden Manson to the Mayor and Committee on Reconstruction on the Improvements now necessary to Execute, and an Estimate of the Cost of Same. 1906. Pamphlet.
  26. Marsch, C. W. Facts Concerning the Great Fire of San Francisco. 1907. Pamphlet.
  27. Massachusetts Association for the Relief of San Francisco. Report. 1906. Pamphlet.
  28. Merchants’ Association of New York. Committee for the Relief of the San Francisco Sufferers. Report. 1906. Pamphlet.
  29. Mills, W. H. Influences that Insure the Rebuilding of San Francisco. (State Board of Trade, Bulletin No. 15.) 1906. Pamphlet.
  30. Mining and Scientific Press. After Earthquake and Fire. 1907.
  31. Mississippi Wire Glass Company. Earthquake and Fire, San Francisco, 1906. Concerning the fire resistance of building materials tested in San Francisco, 1906. 1907. Pamphlet.
  32. Morris, C., ed. San Francisco Calamity by Earthquake and Fire. 1906.
  33. Morrow, W. W. Earthquake of April 18, 1906, and the Great Fire in San Francisco on that and succeeding Days. Personal experiences, inauguration of Red Cross and General Relief Work. Pamphlet.
  34. National Fire-proofing Company. Trial by Fire at San Francisco. 1906. Pamphlet.
  35. Newman, W. A. What the Earthquake Actually Did to California Federal Buildings. 1906. Pamphlet.
  36. Omori, Fusakichi. Comparison of the Faults in the Three Earthquakes of Mino-Owari, Formosa, and San Francisco. (Imperial Earthquake Investigation Committee. Bulletin v. 1:70.)
  37. Omori, Fusakichi. Note on the San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906. 1906. (Earthquake Investigation Committee. Publications 21, appendix II.)
  38. Omori, Fusakichi. Preliminary Note on the Cause of the San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906. (Imperial Earthquake Investigation Committee. Bulletin, v. 1:7.)
  39. Omori, Fusakichi. Preliminary Note on the Seismographic Observations of the San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906. 1906. (Imperial Earthquake Investigation Committee. Bulletin, v. 1:26.)
  40. Reconstruction Committee. Sub-Committee on Statistics. Report. April 24, 1907. Pamphlet.
  41. Redwood Association. Redwood in the San Francisco Fire. Pamphlet.
  42. Reed, S. A. San Francisco Conflagration of April, 1906. Special report to the National Board of Fire Underwriters. Committee on Twenty. 1906.
  43. San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Report of the Special Committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce on Insurance Settlements incident to the San Francisco Fire. 1906. Pamphlet.
  44. San Francisco Relief and Red Cross Funds. Department Reports. March 19, 1907. Pamphlets.
  45. San Francisco Relief and Red Cross Funds (Finance Committee). Rules of procedure to define the accounting system covering the business of the Finance Committee. April 30, 1906. Pamphlet.
  46. Schussler, H. Water supply of San Francisco, California, Before, During and After the Earthquake of April 18, 1906, and the subsequent Conflagration. 1906.
  47. Searight, F. T. Doomed City. 1906.
  48. See, J. J. T. Cause of Earthquakes, Mountain Formation and Kindred Phenomena connected with the Physics of the Earth. 1907.
  49. Southern Pacific Railroad. San Francisco Imperishable. 1906.
  50. Stetson, J. B. San Francisco During the Eventful Days of April, 1906. Pamphlet.
  51. “Thirty-Five” Companies. Committee of Five. Report of Committee of Five to the “Thirty-Five” Companies on the San Francisco Conflagration. 1906. Pamphlet.
  52. Tyler, S. San Francisco’s Great Disaster. A full account of the recent terrible destruction of life and property by earthquake, fire and volcano in California and Vesuvius, with an interesting chapter on the causes of this and other earthquakes, growing mountains and volcanoes, by Ralph Stockman Tarr. 1906.
  53. United States Geological Survey. Bulletin 324. San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of April 18, 1906, and their effects on structures and structural materials. 1907.
  54. United States War Department. Employment of Labor at Mare Island Navy Yard, etc. Message from the President of the United States, transmitting communications from the Navy Department in reference to communications from Mayor Schmitz, of San Francisco, and other representatives of California. 1906. (59th Congress., 1st Session, Senate Document 405.)
  55. United States War Department. Relief for San Francisco. 1906. (59th Congress., 1st Session, House Document 714.)
  56. Wilson, J. R. San Francisco’s Horror of Earthquake and Fire, to which is added graphic accounts of the eruptions of Vesuvius and many other volcanoes, explaining the causes of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, compiled from stories told by eyewitnesses of these frightful scenes. 1906.
  57. Wood, J. W. Church in San Francisco, How It Suffered from Fire, What can be done to Rebuild It. 1906.
  58. Woodruff Co. Our Story: Reinforced Concrete and Methods of Using It. 1906. Pamphlet.
  59. Zeigler, W. G. Story of the Earthquake and Fire. 1906.


  1. Aiken, C. S. San Francisco One Year After. Sunset. 18:501.
  2. Aiken, C. S. San Francisco’s Plight and Prospect. Sunset. 17:13.
  3. Aiken, C. S. San Francisco’s Uprising. Sunset. 17:328.
  4. Alden, C. H., Jr. Burnt Clay Construction at San Francisco. Brick Builder, May, 1906.
  5. Ashley, C. H. Geological Prelude to the San Francisco Earthquake. Popular Science Monthly. 69:69.
  6. Atherton, G. San Francisco’s Tragic Dawn. Harper’s Weekly, May 5, 1906.
  7. Atherton, G. Earthquake Reflections. Harper’s Weekly, May 12, 1906.
  8. Austin, M. The Temblor: a personal narration. Out West. 24:479.
  9. Baker, R. S. Test of Men. American Magazine. 63:81.
  10. Bauer, L. A. Magnetograph Records of Earthquakes, with special reference to the San Francisco Earthquake, April 18, 1906. Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity. 11:135.
  11. Bauer, L. A. and Burbank, J. C. San Francisco Earthquake of April 18, 1906, as recorded by the Coast and Geodetic Survey Magnetic Observations. National Geographic Magazine. 17:298.
  12. Bauer, L. A. Seismograph and Magnetograph Records of the San Francisco Earthquake, April 18, 1906. Popular Science Monthly. 69:116.
  13. Beringer, P. N. Destruction of San Francisco. Overland. 47:392.
  14. Beringer, P. N. San Francisco’s Wonder Year. Overland, n.s. 49:375.
  15. Bicknell, E. P. In the Thick of the Relief Work at San Francisco. Char. 16:295.
  16. Boggs, E. M. Comments of Californian Engineers on the Earthquake and Fire. Eng. Rec., May 5, 1906.
  17. Bonner, G. Passing of the Argonaut’s City. Reader. 8:285.
  18. Brandt, L. Rehabilitation Work in San Francisco. Char. 17:25.
  19. Brandt, L. Relief Work in San Francisco in 1907. Char. 18:248.
  20. Branner, J. C. Geology and the Earthquake. Out West. 24:513.
  21. Burke, E. M. Woman’s Experience of Earthquake and Fire. Outlook. 83:273.
  22. Carey, E. P. The Great Fault of California and the San Francisco Earthquake, April 18, 1906. Journal of Geography. 5:289.
  23. Chard, C. Long Day. Harper’s Weekly. 50:700.
  24. Christy, S. B. Some Lessons fro the Earthquake. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:273.
  25. Cohen, E. A. With a Camera in San Francisco. Camera Craft. 12:183.
  26. Cooper, A. S. The Earthquake Explained. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:401.
  27. Cowell, H. San Francisco Under Stress. Poet-lore, 17: Autumn No. 73.
  28. Cowles, P. What Really Happened. Out West. 24:477.
  29. Crafts, H. A. Features of the Great Earthquake. Scientific American. 94:383.
  30. Currie, B. W. Reconstruction Figures. Sunset. 17:312.
  31. Davison, C. San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Nineteenth Century. 62:220.
  32. De Forest, R. W. Lessons of the San Francisco Disaster. Char. 16:155.
  33. Deering, M. C. C. Woman’s Story of San Francisco’s Ruin. Leslie’s Weekly. 102:448.
  34. Derleth, C., Jr. Destructive Extent of the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Engineering News. 55:707.
  35. Derleth, C., Jr. Report. Engineering News. 55:503, 525.
  36. Derleth, C., Jr. Some Effects of the San Francisco Earthquake on Water Works, Street Sewers, Car Tracks, and Buildings. Engineering News. 55:548.
  37. Devine, E. T. Housing Problem in San Francisco. Popular Science Quarterly. 21:596.
  38. Devine, E. T. Relief of the Stricken City. Review of Reviews. 33:683.
  39. Dixon, J. M. Concerning the Great California Disaster. Scottish Geographical Magazine. 22:430.
  40. Duryea, E., Jr. Better City. Overland, n.s. 48:108.
  41. Duryea, E., Jr. Reliable Fire Protection the Greatest Present Need of San Francisco. Overland, n.s. 48:385.
  42. Dutton, A. H. Triumph of the Automobile. Overland, n.s. 48:145.
  43. Eaves, L. Where San Francisco was Sorest Stricken. Char. 16:161.
  44. Effects of the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire on Buildings. Engineering Magazine. 33:467.
  45. Emerson, E., Jr. Handling a Crisis. Sunset. 17:23.
  46. Emerson, E., Jr. Reconstruction of San Francisco. Out West. 26:191.
  47. Emerson, E., Jr. San Francisco at Play. Sunset. 17:319.
  48. Engineering News. San Francisco Disaster; Earthquake and Fire Ruin in the Bay Counties of California. Engineering News. 55:478.
  49. Fitzpatrick, F. W. San Francisco Lesson. Scientific American Supplement. 62:25604, 25620.
  50. Freitag, J. K. Fire Losses in the United States; A Grave National Question. Engineering Magazine. 31:321.
  51. French, H. How the Home of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson was Saved. Overland, n.s. 48:195.
  52. Funston, F. How the Army Worked to Save San Francisco. Cosmopolitan. 41:239. Argonaut, July 9, 1906.
  53. Galloway, J. D. Recent Earthquake in California and the Resulting Fire in San Francisco. Engineering News. 55:523.
  54. Gilbert, G. K. Cause and Nature of Earthquakes. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:272.
  55. Gilbert, G. K. Investigation of the San Francisco Earthquake. Popular Science. 69:97.
  56. Gill, H. V. Some Recent Earthquake Theories. Nineteenth Century. 144.
  57. Gray, J. A. San Francisco and the Spirit of the West. Harper’s Weekly. 50:665.
  58. Griswold, M. E. Three Days Adrift. Sunset. 17:119.
  59. Harriman, E. H. San Francisco’s Experience. Sunset. 17:3 Same. Sunset. 17:36.
  60. Helburn, J. W. Quickening the Spirit. American Magazine. 62:294.
  61. Heller, C. Earthquake and Fire in Steel Buildings. Engineering Magazine. 31:526.
  62. Hill, A. A. Reconstruction of San Francisco. Char. 16:165.
  63. Hill, A. A. San Francisco and the Relief Work Ahead. Char. 16:135.
  64. Holden, J. A. Destruction of San Francisco. Canadian Magazine. 27:136.
  65. Holland, B. B. Notes on the Fire-proofing in San Francisco Buildings after the fire. Eng. Rec., May 26, 1906.
  66. Hopper, J. Destruction of San Francisco. Strand. 32:320. Everybody’s. June, 1906. Sricken’s City’s Day of Terror. Harper’s Weekly. 50:661.
  67. How Things Were Righted. Sunset. 18:529.
  68. Howard, J. G. Rebuilding of the City. Out West. 24:532.
  69. Hyde, C. G. Structural, Municipal and Sanitary Aspects of the Central California Disaster. Eng. Rec., June 24, 1906.
  70. Inkersley, A. Amateur’s Experience of Earthquake and Fire. Camera Craft. 12:195.
  71. Inkersley, A. Effects of the Earthquake and Fire Upon San Francisco. Scientific American. 94:418.
  72. Inkersley, A. Salving Fireproof Safes and Their Contents. Scientific American. 94:434.
  73. Inkersley, A. What San Francisco Has to Start With. Overland. 47:466.
  74. Irwin, E. P. Matter with San Francisco. Overland, n.s. 48:188.
  75. James, G. W. Great Opportunity. Arena. 36:113.
  76. Jennings, R. P. Organization in the Crisis. Out West. 24:519.
  77. Jordan, D. S. Cause of the Great Earthquake. Cosmopolitan. 41:343.
  78. Jordan, D. S. Earthquake Rift of 1906. Popular Science. 69:289.
  79. Keeler, C. A. Children and Their Pets in the San Francisco Fire. St. Nicolas. 33:971.
  80. Lafler, H. A. My Sixty Sleepless Hours. McClure’s. 27:275.
  81. Larkin, E. L. California Earthquake. Science. 24:178.
  82. Larkin, E. L. Earthquake Observations. Scientific American. 94:418.
  83. Leavitt, B. Relief Work in San Francisco. Pacific Unitarian. 14:215.
  84. Leavitt, B. What San Francisco Stands for To-day. Sunset. 18:545.
  85. Leonard, J. B. Effect of the California Earthquake on Reinforced Concrete. Eng. Rec., May 26, 1906.
  86. Leuschner, A. O. The Earthquake. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:274.
  87. Lewys, E. F. Pioneer Firms of New San Francisco. Overland, n.s. 47:498.
  88. Lummis, C. F. In the Lion’s Den. Out West. 24:431.
  89. McAdie, A. G. Scientific Side of the California Earthquake. Sunset. 17:42.
  90. Marvin, C. F. Record of the Great Earthquake written in Washington by the seismograph of the United States Weather Bureau. National Geographical Magazine. 17:296.
  91. Mears, W. How San Francisco Spent the Relief Fun. World To-day. 13:1097.
  92. Mears, W. Spending $9,181,403.23. Overland, n.s. 50:211.
  93. Michelson, M. Destruction of San Francisco. Harper’s Weekly, May 5, 1906. 50:623.
  94. Millard, B. When Alturia Awoke. Cosmopolitan. 41:237.
  95. Mitchell, W. G. The Great Fire in San Francisco. American Arch. 89:185.
  96. Moffett, S. E. San Francisco’s Disaster. Review of Reviews. 33:170.
  97. Moore, J. F. Hero of the San Francisco Relief. Char. 17:418.
  98. Murdock, C. A. The San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Pacific Unitarian. 14:197.
  99. New San Francisco. Sunset. 19:421.
  100. New San Francisco Magazine.
  101. Newlands, F. G. New San Francisco. Ind. 60:1093.
  102. Norris, C. G. Valley of the Shadow. Sunset. 17:104.
  103. Notes on the California Earthquake. Eng. Rec., May 19, 1906.
  104. Omori, Fusakichi. Observation of Distant Earthquakes. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:397.
  105. Omori, Fusakichi. On the Great Earthquake of April 18, of San Francisco, of 1906. Journal Geography. 18:764. (Tokyo Geographical Society.)
  106. One Lesson of the Earthquake. Journal of Franklin Institute. 162:158.
  107. Palmer, F. Stricken City Undismayed. Collier’s, May 12, 1906.
  108. Phelan, J. D., and Others. The Builders: A Symposium. Overland, n.s. 48:3.
  109. Phelan, J. D. Future of San Francisco. Out West. 24:537.
  110. Phelan, J. D. Regeneration of San Francisco. Ind. 62:1448.
  111. Phelan, J. D. Rehabilitations of San Francisco. Chaut. 47:103.
  112. Phelan, James D. Rise of New San Francisco. Cosmopolitan. 41:575.
  113. Ransome, F. L. Probably Cause of the San Francisco Earthquake. National Geographic Magazine. 17:280.
  114. Redway, J. W. Some Notes on the San Francisco Earthquake. Geographical Journal. 29:436.
  115. Reid, H. F. Records of Seismographs in North America and Hawaiian Islands. Terrestrial Magnetism and Atmospheric Electricity. 11:185.
  116. Richards, J. Fire Prevention Apparatus. Journal Association Engineering Society. 38:196.
  117. Rickard, T. A. After the Disaster. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:287.
  118. Rickard, T. A. The Earthquake. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:270.
  119. Rickard, T. A. Former Earthquakes and Their Discarded Lessons. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:289.
  120. Rogers, J. E. Social Settlements in the San Francisco Disaster. Char. 16:311.
  121. Ryan, A. J. San Francisco as a Cynosure. Overland, n.s. 48:413.
  122. San Francisco Catastrophe. Review of Reviews. 33:541.
  123. San Francisco Catching Her Break. Outlook. 83:361.
  124. San Francisco in Ruins. Insurance Engineering. May, 1906.
  125. San Francisco Prostrate but Courageous. Outlook. 83:187.
  126. San Francisco Rising from the Ashes. Outlook. 83:562.
  127. Saving of the Western Electric Building at San Francisco. Eng. Rec., May 12, 1906.
  128. Scheffauer, H. Significance of San Francisco. Fortnightly. 86:536.
  129. Schmitz, E. E. New San Francisco. Ind. 61:434.
  130. Simpson, G. Steel Structures in the San Francisco Disaster. Iron Age, June 7, 1906.
  131. Smith, M. E. B. R. Relief Work in Its Social Bearings. Char. 16:308.
  132. Smoot, C. C. Earthquake in the Mission. Pacific Unitarian. 14:210.
  133. Soper, C. A. Sanitary Situation at San Francisco. Char. 16:305.
  134. Soule, F. Comments of Californian Engineers on the Earthquake and Fire. Eng. Rec., May 12, 1906.
  135. Spencer, A. C., and Arnold, R. Cause of the Great Earthquake. World’s Work. 12:7678
  136. Strong, E. H. San Francisco’s Upbuilding. Sunset. 18:115.
  137. Strother, F. Rebound of San Francisco. World’s Work. 12:7779.
  138. Suplee, H. H. Sermon in San Francisco’s Stones. Harper’s Weekly. 50:730.
  139. Taber, S. Local Effects of the San Francisco Earthquake. Journal of Geology. 14:303.
  140. Thompson, W. H. Watching a City Perish. World To-Day. 10:592.
  141. Van Ornum, J. L. Some Engineering Lessons of the San Francisco Disaster. Journal Association Engineering Society. 38:147.
  142. Voorsanger, J. Relief Work in San Francisco. Out West. 24:526.
  143. Walcott, E. A. Calamity’s Opportunity. Sunset. 17:151.
  144. Wall, L. H. Heroic San Francisco. Century. 72:579.
  145. Weatherbee, D’arcy. First Observations of the Catastrophe. Mining and Scientific Press. 92:275.
  146. Wheeler, B. I. Future of San Francisco. Century. 72:630.
  147. Wheeler, B. I. New San Francisco. Review of Reviews. 33:681.
  148. Wheeler, B. I. Spirit of San Francisco. Outlook. 83:1.
  149. Whitaker, H. The Fault: the Visible Cause of the California Earthquake. Harper’s Weekly. 50:874.
  150. Whitaker, H. Human Drama at San Francisco. Harper’s Weekly. 50:694.
  151. Windmuller, L. Fire Insurance Lessons from San Francisco’s Experience. Review of Reviews. 33:713.
  152. Work of Rehabilitation in San Francisco. Char. 16:369.

EDIT, August 6, 2014: Image of the old San Francisco City Hall, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Contemporaneous description of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast

This short article appeared in the Daily Alta California newspaper on May 19, 1852 and provides a contemporaneous description of the city’s infamous Barbary Coast quarter, then called Sydney Town. The article describes a scene on Pacific Street, probably located somewhere between Stockton and Montgomery or Sansome Streets.

“BAD CHARACTERS. Pacific street has justly obtained an unenviable notoriety, from the fact of being the resort of gangs of miserable loafers and despicable thieves, who seem to confine their operations entirely to that portion of the city. There appears to live in that quarter a host of systematic sharpers and organized bands of villians, who live entirely by their wits in plucking the many verdant ones as fast as they come to town. The numerous dance-houses and rum-mills are filled with half dressed and slovenly looking women of every color known, whilst bloated loafers are hanging around watching every opportunity to take advantage of the least thing that might turn up in their favor. The stories of the many who have been plucked in that street have become as familiar as household words; each one goes through the same course, and all come out alike. Persons just arrived from the mines, who were perhaps never in so large a city in their lives, are struck with perfect wonder and astonishment at the many curious and wonderful things to be found in the city. Fandangos naturally attract their whole attention, an intimate acquaintance is soon formed with some bewitching syren, who would rather drink twice than make one excuse. It requires but a few drinks of drugged rum to render the victim insensible; he is plucked at leisure, and then kicked out, on the plea of creating a disturbance. Though our police are constantly watching these notorious characters, and know at the same time that they are thieves, these depredations are managed in such a manner as to make it impossible to obtain sufficient evidence to convict them. Aided by low, degraded women, thieves carry on a successful business, and defy the officers of the law. Witnesses can be easily obtained for a trifle who will swear to anything necessary to clear these scoundrels, with as much unconcern as if an oath were but a mockery. Guilty parties are thus cleared, the spoils divided, and plans are laid for some new enterprise. Though the police are active and industrious in watching these scoundrels, and though the Recorder would willingly punish them to the fullest extent, still the law is inadequate to reach them, so skillfully do they manage their affairs. It will require but a few more cases of an aggravated nature for the people to take the matter into their own hands, and rid our city of the hordes of graceless scoundrels that infest it.”

“Local Matters,” Daily Alta California, May 19, 1852, pg. 2, col. 3.

From the Reference Desk: The San Francisco Chronicle Encourages You To “Die Now”

Notice found in an issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, dated March 27, 1867:

“Worthy of Note.

Persons contemplating dying soon are remined that the present times are favorable towards the securing of a respectable crowd of mourners. This is mainly owing to the fact that the Central R.R. Company charge but one fare to the Lone Mountain cemetery. Hence, haste, hurry, improve your time and die now if you would secure a live funeral.”

Sheesh Chronicle, alright we can take a hint!

Lost L.A.: The Abandoned Corralitas Streetcar Line

Corralitas Trail HikeIn the triangle-shaped neighborhood between the Silver Lake Reservoir, the Glendale Freeway, and the I-5 Freeway is a little piece of Los Angeles history that is lost, but not forgotten. The Corralitas Trail is a little-know urban hike that follows an abandoned Pacific Electric streetcar line that used to run between downtown Los Angeles and the city of Glendale. Before L.A.’s urban landscape was dominated by automobiles and freeways, the Pacific Electric Railway–L.A.’s “Red Cars”–operated one of the most extensive inter-urban mass transit networks in southern California. The Red Cars were a network of light rail trains and streetcars that integrated downtown Los Angeles with outlying urban areas such as Long Beach, Santa Monica, Burbank, Glendale, and San Bernardino, among others. In the 1940s, the Pacific Electric Railway system, along with the Los Angeles Railway’s “Yellow Cars,” were sold to National City Lines (a company whose investors included Firestone Tires, Standard Oil, and General Motors), a move which resulted in the dismantling of L.A.’s popular urban rail network. For more history on L.A.’s Red Cars, click on this link from the University of Southern California or this link from the Orange Empire Railway Museum.

While some portions of the old Pacific Electric Railway have been incorporated into the modern, publicly-run Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, some abandoned remnants of the old Red Car infrastructure, like the Corralitas Trail, can still be seen throughout Los Angeles. I first heard about the Corralitas Trail from the Modern Hiker website who explored it after the L.A. Weekly said it was a “haunted hiking trail” where “relics of the big red cars” were still visible. With my curiosity sufficiently piqued, I organized an urban hike with some friends to explore the abandoned streetcar line and document a little piece of L.A.’s lost history. The Google Map below shows our hike along the Corralitas Trail with some points of interest. Click the points to read additional information or click the link below the map to see a larger version.

Although we couldn’t find any railroad tracks on the Corralitas Trail, the right-of-way through this neighborhood has somehow remained undeveloped. The trailhead at the corner of Lake View Avenue and Allesandro Way leads you to a concrete path sandwiched between private property on your left and the Glendale Freeway on your right. This path leads you all the way down to the Corralitas Drive cul-de-sac, but at the bottom of the hill you’ll see a field open up to your left. I’m calling this the Corralitas Open Space even though this area is not an officially designated trail or open space. Beyond this field, the trail winds through a dense wooded patch, which eventually brings you to an unpaved road known on Google Maps as Silver Lake Court. This “street” is really just an unpaved easement used as a driveway by the few residents who live in these wooded lots. Incidentally, while it’s a nice hike in the day, I wouldn’t recommend exploring this trail at night. The abandoned right-of-way continues on past Silver Lake Court snaking through some more wooded areas (yes, wooded areas in LA!) and eventually opens up on the hill behind the Arco station at Fletcher and Riverside Drives. Stretching down the hill, you can see several sets of old concrete pylon foundations marking the location where the old steel bridge used to carry streetcars over Fletcher Drive.

We continued the hike on the other side of Fletcher Drive walking up the concrete stairwell that goes up the hill behind the restaurant Home. The right-of-way continues on the north side of Fletcher Drive, paralleling Riverside Drive. We explored the walkway and hill at the top of the steps but found that there wasn’t really a trail we could use to explore this stretch of the abandoned rail line, so we decided to just head back. In the end, we didn’t find any actual train tracks or abandoned cars, but we saw a fascinating and hidden part of Los Angeles history. The surviving relics we did see included old water/sewer infrastructure in the Corralitas Open Space, abandoned stair platforms along Silver Lake Court (possibly for getting on and off the train), and the old streetcar trestle foundations on the hills on both sides of Fletcher Drive.

After doing some additional research using Sanborn maps from the 1950s, I found that the rail line used to run from downtown Los Angeles along Glendale Boulevard and Allesandro Street (where the Glendale Freeway starts in Silver Lake). As the streetcar passed the small hill at Lake View Avenue, it turned north through the Corralitas neighborhood. The Sanborn map from the mid 1950s still showed a wood and steel trestle crossing Fletcher Drive, though it probably wasn’t being used at that point since the Glendale Freeway had already been built.

The map also shows the Pacific Electric Railway right-of-way continuing on the north side of Fletcher Drive, alongside Riverside Drive down to Glendale Boulevard. Here the streetcar turned eastward, crossed the L.A. River on another steel trestle, and continued on towards downtown Glendale. Today, there is a large apartment building on part of the Pacific Electric Railway near the corner of Riverside Drive and Glendale Boulevard and the streetcar bridge over the L.A. River no longer exists. However, a concrete foundation can still be seen in the L.A. River alongside the Glendale Boulevard bridge.

When the Glendale Freeway was built in the mid 1950s, the Red Car line that ran alongside Allesandro Street was paved over, leaving the abandoned rail line through the Corralitas neighborhood. A section of the neighborhood around Corralitas Drive was also demolished during construction of the Freeway. You can see evidence of this in some of the digitized maps included below.

Here are some of our photos of the Corralitas hike with other Red Car documentation: