Here our club members are presenting some of the world's most collectible and desired items of philatelic interest. Each month we will display items that are of a unique character, obscure or extremely hard to find, portray printing or other errors or are in general fun and interesting. When an item has high value the owner's name will not be listed.
For your viewing pleasure our own club member Emmanuel Serrière has provided us with a glimpse of the incredible disaster San Francisco experienced in 1906. Follow along the text and establish a discovery of what happened.
SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE - 1906
At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, an earthquake devastated San Francisco, California, and shook nearly the entire west coast of the United States. Ruptured gas lines ignited fires that burned for four days afterwards, destroying much of the city, including many post office sites. Since the quake and aftermath damaged wire communications connecting San Francisco with cities worldwide, news of the devastation did not spread until 10:05 a.m. U.S. Post Office telegraph operators transmitted messages until 2:20 p.m., when, with fires fast approaching, authorities ordered them to leave their posts. They transmitted their last message at 2:20 p.m.
[No. 221 San Francisco Post Office withstood earthquake and fire April 18, 1906- Post card view of the San Francisco's main post office, saved by about a dozen loyal and courageous employees who extinguished fires] (Courtesy of Marv Murray)
Emotionally and financially devastated citizens began rebuilding the city immediately. Despite bewilderment amid reconstruction efforts, postal services soon resumed at make-shift sites. A general delivery system was initiated so people could call at a post office and pick-up and deliver mail. Many postal workers remained at work during the crises, working to rescue post office mail and assets and to provide as much service as possible. As an emergency measure, mail without stamps was accepted until the sale of stamps was possible at the main post office on April 25. Mail was postmarked in San Francisco and sent to the receiving post office, where postage due was assessed, postage due stamps affixed, and the fee collected from the recipient of the letter.
The envelope featured above was postmarked at San Francisco. It arrived in San Leandro, where the recipient paid 4¢ postage due on April 26, 1906. The postal clerk applied the two 2¢ stamps.
The following letter describes the event.
Thank you Emmanuel for providing us this interesting piece of philatelic history.
Thank you visitors and friends for looking at these interesting Gems!