April 18, 2011

The Definitive Post-Earthquake Homage to San Francisco in 1906

105 years ago, a devastating earthquake hit San Francisco. Fires swept over the city. As is still the case, commentators across the country tried to make sense of the destruction and ended up meditating on what the city by the bay had meant before tragedy struck. Perhaps the most stylish of these essays was The City That Has Fallen by William Marion Reedy, a St. Louis editor who’d never seen the place. I ran across it in a slim little volume tucked away in the Berkeley library, a reprint of the original from 1933. The essay is a sidelong, scattershot tour through the American conception of “Frisco.”

"One may not hear it mentioned for a year, two years, five years—then someone is sure to state definitely that Reedy’s story in the Mirror is ‘the best thing ever written about San Francisco,” wrote Oscar Lewis in the foreword to the 1933 edition, printed by the San Francisco Book Club.

Read more (and see more photos) at The Atlantic

(Source: The Atlantic)

Filed under: history photography national 
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    Simultaneously awe-struck yet secretly pumped for the Brad Bird movie.
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