1906 Quake in Living Color

Color photographs show destruction in new light.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Apr 15, 2011  |  Updated 3:20 PM PDT
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1906 Color Photographs From San Francisco

Courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

This is Market Street. Notice the green street car.

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The Smithsonian Institution discovered color photographs of San Francisco taken in 1906 that sheds new light on the destruction caused by the great earthquake.

The Smithsonian actually posted the photographs a year ago, in part to show that color was indeed possible in the early 1900s, but we found them Wednesday after the Chronicle posted a story.

The images, taking six months after the earthquake destroyed much of the city, show the city and the damage in an entirely new light. The photographs were taken by Frederick Ives.

When we first heard there were color pictures from the quake on line we thought they were "colorized," but in fact they are in real color.  Color photographs were invented in 1861 by Thomas Sutton, so it was actually old technology by 1906.

The pictures include one on Market Street that includes a green street car.  Another one shows a large billboard for Breuner's. Get ready to call your coworkers over to check this out.The+photos+were+taken+twice+for+a+3-D+effect+the+photographer+was+working+on.

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