1906 San Francisco in Living Color

Color photographs show destruction in new light.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Sunday, Apr 17, 2011  |  Updated 8:06 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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San Francisco will pause Monday morning at 5 a.m. to remember those who died 105 years ago in the Great 1906 Earthquake.

City officials, a dwindling number of survivors, and locals will gather at Lotta's Fountain at Kearny and Market streets to kick off the city's annual earthquake ceremony.

This past year, we got a new look at the post earthquake destruction of the 1906 courtesy the Smithsonian Institution after it discovered color photographs of San Francisco taken following the quake.

The Smithsonian posted the photographs to show that color photos were indeed possible in the early 1900s, but to the people of the Bay Area they show a very photographed event in a new light. Color photographs were invented in 1861 by Thomas Sutton, so it was actually old technology by 1906.

The images, taking six months after the earthquake destroyed much of the city and  were taken by Frederick Ives.

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