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This Day in History, 1906: Great San Francisco Earthquake

The eighteenth of April in '75 is famous for the ride of Paul Revere and Wiliam Dawes, but the eighteenth of April exactly one hundred years ago is noted for something else: the Great San Francisco Earthquake.

At 5:12 AM local time on April 18, 1906, an earthquake estimated at about 8.0 on the Richter scale hit San Francisco. At the time, the city was mostly made up of brick and wooden buildings, many of which collapsed completely. Fires broke out all across the city. In the end, it has been estimated that about 3,000 people died and 30,000 buildings were destroyed. A majority of the city's population of 400,000 was left homeless.

For more information, see Wikipedia: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
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It wasn't the earthquake which destroyed the town, it was the fire. Check the court cases against the insurance companies if you don't believe me.

Explanation: This may be an urban legend, but I read in a novel once that the CA courts ruled that the destruction of the city of San Francisco was caused by the fire (which damage was covered by insurance) and not by the earthquake (which as an act of god would not have been covered). These days of course earthquake insurance exists - I had my house in MA covered by it.
And there is still at least one survivor of the quake, amazingly enough--I saw her interviewed on the nightly news this past Sunday evening. One-hundred and eight years old. Whew.
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