Wednesday, July 10, 2024

McMenamins and Friends of Historic Forest Grove present

San Francisco 1906: Destruction by Earthquake, Trial by Fire

Presented by Sig Unander

History Pub

Grand Lodge - Grand Lodge Theater

6pm doors, 7pm program


All ages welcome

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About San Francisco 1906: Destruction by Earthquake, Trial by Fire

San Francisco 1906: Destruction by Earthquake, Trial by Fire


In 1906, San Francisco was the most populous city in the western United States. Prosperous from Gold Rush days, it was the largest West Coast port, terminus of the transcontinental railway, and a national center of finance, trade and manufacturing. Culturally, San Francisco was famous for opulent theaters, majestic steel skyscrapers, picturesque parks and the country's first and largest Chinatown district.  


Much of that changed on April 18,1906, when an estimated magnitude 8 earthquake struck without warning. Hundreds of buildings and homes collapsed and thousands more burned to the ground as a firestorm swept through the city. Firefighters, soldiers, sailors and volunteers were caught unprepared and battled the conflagration in an epic four-day fight. When it was over, some 3,000 residents were dead and a quarter-million rendered homeless as the "Paris of the West" lay in ruins. As a result of that event, San Francisco lost much of its population, manufacturing capacity and port traffic to Los Angeles and other cities. Although San Francisco was resurrected at great cost, it would never regain its status as the West's most influential city.  


The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 holds lessons for the Pacific Northwest as we prepare for a larger Cascadia Subduction Zone seismic event. Speaker Sig Unander tells the dramatic story of what happened to San Francisco and what we can learn from history to help us survive and rebound from the coming mega-quake. 


Sig Unander is a writer, historian and public speaker from Portland, Oregon. He began his career in broadcast journalism at media outlets in New Mexico, Minnesota and Georgia and as a freelance writer. Later, he worked in Spanish-language media, edited a business magazine for Hispanic professionals and served as writer and historian with a documentary film production company. He has spoken at hundreds of venues and lectured at universities in the United States and the Philippines. He is currently working on a narrative nonfiction book about Claire Phillips, a World War II heroine and Medal of Freedom recipient. 



About History Pub

History Pub

Stay the night, mention History Pub at check-in for 15% off your room.

These events are open to everyone interested in Pacific Northwest history, and beyond! Often co-sponsored by local or state historical and civic organizations, we bring you experts, scholars, first-person experiencers, historians and documentaries expounding on topics from indigenous history to the birth of Portland, early explorers to hop growing, and on and on! It's like being back in the classroom - except this time you get to settle into comfortable seats and enjoy a drink or two with dinner while you listen and learn.

This event is eligible for a History Pub Stamp