Lotta’s Fountain—100 years later

A record crowd of thousands gathered before dawn to commemorate the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.


A striking crew of Salvation Army officers and staff gathered in the predawn hours of April 18 at Lotta’s Fountain in San Francisco to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake. Following several months of preparation, many worked through the night handling last minute details before the big event. There was little rest for the weary!

Doughnut girls and “officers” dressed in vintage uniforms visited with the gathering crowd of thousands and distributed commemoration memorabilia that included The Salvation Army’s own story of how the officers helped to rebuild not only the city but also the spirit of those whose lives were irrevocably changed by the damage caused by the earthquake.

There were also four canteens proudly on display in downtown San Francisco as part of the commemoration, including a 1950’s vehicle. Officers and staff came from all over California, including Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Long Beach and Turlock to participate in the historic event—just as their predecessors came to help their brothers and sisters and the city of San Francisco so many years ago.

There was a spark in the air, and if you listened really hard you could almost hear the rallying cry of Commander Evangeline Booth that appeared in an early issue of the War Cry:

“The natural hopefulness, I was going to say sunnyness of the California disposition has stood them in good stead; all their troubles and privations have not been able to keep them under. They have spirits like corks and come up with a bounce every time.”

See the back cover for a first-hand account of the disaster.


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