By coincidence on the anniversary of our 1906 earthquake, I found the above video of side-by-side comparison footage taken from a Market Street streetcar four days before the quake and one day after. Tomorrow we will Commemorate The 1906 Earthquake With Three Events Monday.
I had found this video first – it floated around online incorrectly as a 1905 recording. It’s just resurfaced on junk linkblogs (the incorrectly labeled video) and it’s still incorrectly labeled, but it’s remarkable nonetheless:
The video led people to speculate that it might be related to, or close to the complete after-quake video of what looks like the same Market Street ride, an uncredited video that was simultaneously floating around YouTube and uploaded by The Earthquake Channel (and is still uncredited):
User Lunaparcel Media did the research and found out the uncanny facts: the videos were the same ride, and shot only days apart by the same people, Harry and Herbert Miles. The Miles Brothers also shot most of the 1906 earthquake footage we see now (if not all of it) and they had planned to make San Francisco the center of worldwide filmmaking (oh – and they, ahem, rented films to vaudeville houses in San Francisco in 1902).
About the final side-by-side, Lunaparcel explained:
Here is a side-by-side comparison of two filmed journeys down Market Street shot in April of 1906 sourced from the Prelinger Archives at http://www.archive.org. The video on the left has enjoyed wide circulation online, but has often been incorrectly dated to 1905. Subsequent research by Historian David Kiehn of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, has determined that the footage was actually shot by Harry and Herbert Miles on April 14th, 1906, only 4 days before the catastrophic event and subsequent fires leveled much of the city, resulting in conditions depicted in the video on the right, and of which the initial production source is unknown.
Both of these files are an extraction from longer source footage available from the Prelinger Archives. Some of that footage has been omitted from this presentation due to substantially poor presentation quality of the source content. Both files were adjusted to correct original capture timing, and the video on the right was horizontally flipped to correct the reversed-image version currently found in the Archives.
These videos are also presented with only an approximate rudimentary synchronization of imagery. More precise synchronization has proven elusive due to differences in speed of travel, position of camera in relation to surroundings, dynamics of original imaging optics, and retention of content. As close as possible, the intent has been to show the structures and landmarks on the left in contrast with the devastation of the matching scenes on the right.