Today is the 100th anniversary of the Great Quake and fire that destroyed San Francisco. Lots of reflection in the newspaper. This morning was the rememberance ceremony at Lotta's Fountain; I'm headed into town now for the parade.
I was going to say it's hard to imagine what it was like to have a whole city destroyed in the course of three days. But no imagination required; it happened last year in New Orleans. The stories about San Francisco's recovery talk about the optimism and "city that knows how" spirit that quickly restored San Francisco to greatness. I hope New Orleans can pull that off too, but it seems a more cynical era now. New Orleans is still nonfunctional and there are grave doubts that adequate levees can be built before the 2006 hurricane season. It all seems quite pessimistic.
I hope that I don't live to see a great quake come through San Francisco. Odds are one will. My friends and I are pretty much unprepared. The best I've done is print out some earthquake preparation tips; maybe I should get around to actually getting a kit together? But the first 3 days are a crapshoot; it's the idea of rebuilding the whole city again that gives me chills.
See also the Wells Fargo history blog