Saturday, April 18, 2009

What about Oakland?

What happened to Oakland during the 1906 earthquake? Well, a visit to the Oakland Museum's website tells you some of the story. In 2006, the Oakland Museum had an exhibit called Aftershock! which showed in a variety of ways how the Bay Area residents coped with the huge earthquake. In fact, the exhibit dug a little deeper and documented how certain San Franciscans tried to downplay the severity of the disaster and protect their commercial future. (By the way, the Oakland Museum is a great place to visit. Very interesting exhibits plus it has great food -- mostly organic -- in the cafe. On weekends, there is live jazz in the cafe.)

Here's what the Oakland Museum website says:

Oakland to the Rescue!, a companion exhibit (through December 31), shows how Oakland, largely undamaged by the quake and fire, with a busy port and railroad lines, served as the base for San Francisco’s recovery efforts. Gov. George C. Pardee and San Francisco businessmen temporarily moved their offices to Oakland. Many refugees took shelter across the Bay; Oakland’s Chinatown population boomed during the influx.

At the turn of the century, Oakland was California’ssecond largest city, with a population of 67,000. When the 1906 earthquake struck, Oakland suffered considerable damage, but it avoided the devastating fires that crippled San Francisco. Oakland’s residents responded quickly to the disaster and welcomed almost 200,000 San Franciscans who sought refuge. Oakland’s Chinatown boomed during the influx. Overnight Oakland, with its port and railroad lines, banks, and communication lines, became the base for the relief effort.

Oakland. I love it.

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