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1906 San Francisco earthquake

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Author Topic: 1906 San Francisco earthquake  (Read 1327 times)
Mr. Miracle
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« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2009, 01:32:37 pm »

Almost immediately after the quake (and even during the disaster), planning and reconstruction plans were hatched to quickly rebuild the city. Rebuilding funds were immediately tied up by the fact that virtually all the major banks had been sites of the conflagration, requiring a lengthy wait of seven-to-ten days before their fire-proof vaults could cool sufficiently to be safely opened without risk of spontaneous combustion. Tiny Bank of Italy, however, had no vault and evacuated its funds to the country and was the only bank able to provide liquidity in the immediate aftermath. Its president also immediately chartered and financed the sending of two ships to return with shiploads of lumber from Washington and Oregon mills which provided the initial reconstruction materials and surge; today that bank has been renamed as Bank of America.[25]

The grander of citywide reconstruction schemes however, required investment from Eastern monetary sources, hence the spin and de-emphasis of the earthquake, the promulgation of the tough new building codes, and subsequent reputation sensitive actions such as the official low death toll.[25] One of the more famous and ambitious plans came from famed urban planner Daniel Burnham. His bold plan called for, among other proposals, Haussmann-style avenues, boulevards, arterial thoroughfares that radiated across the city, a massive civic center complex with classical structures, and what would have been the largest urban park in the world, stretching from Twin Peaks to Lake Merced with a large atheneum at its peak. But this plan was dismissed at the time as impractical and unrealistic.

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Mr. Miracle
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« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2009, 01:32:53 pm »

For example, real estate investors and other land owners were against the idea due to the large amount of land the city would have to purchase to realize such proposals. City fathers likewise attempted at the time to eliminate the Chinese population and export Chinatown (and other poor populations) to the edge of the county where the Chinese could still contribute to the local taxbase.[25] The Chinese occupants had other ideas and prevailed instead. Chinatown was rebuilt in the newer, modern, Western form that exists today. In fact, the destruction of City Hall and the Hall of Records enabled thousands of Chinese immigrants to claim residency and citizenship, creating a backdoor to the Chinese Exclusion Act, and bring in their relatives from China.[30][31][32]

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Mr. Miracle
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« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2009, 01:33:16 pm »

While the original street grid was restored, many of Burnham's proposals inadvertently saw the light of day, such as a neoclassical 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.

The earthquake was also responsible for the development of the Pacific Heights neighborhood. The immense power of the earthquake had destroyed almost all of the mansions on Nob Hill except for the Flood Mansion. Others which hadn't been destroyed were dynamited by the Army forces aiding the firefighting efforts in attempts to create firebreaks. As one indirect result, the wealthy looked westward where the land was cheap and relatively undeveloped, and where there were better views and a consistently warmer climate. Constructing new mansions without reclaiming and clearing old rubble simply sped attaining new homes in the tent city during the reconstruction.[25] In the years after the first world war, the "money" on Nob Hill migrated to Pacific Heights, where it has remained to this day.

Reconstruction was swift, and largely completed by 1915, in time for the Panama-Pacific Exposition which celebrated the reconstruction of the city and its "rise from the ashes".

Since 1915, the city has officially commemorated the disaster each year by gathering the remaining survivors at Lotta's Fountain, a fountain in the city's financial district that served as a meeting point during the disaster for people to look for loved ones and exchange information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake#cite_note-22
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