Bernal Heights 1906 Quake Shack survivors

Unfinished History


Earthquake shacks start their exodus from then-Bernal Park (now Precita Park) in 1907.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


View North on Mission between Kingston (then Lizzie) and Eugenia. Horse teams moving 1906 earthquake refugee shacks on city street. All buildings on right demolished, tall building in left distance still stands at Virgina Street.

Photo: wnp37.04335

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Miss Esther Chelim of 81 Crescent Avenue next to shack provided after the earthquake in 1906.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

On the 100th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, the Bernal Heights History Project conducted historical walking tours of the neighborhood, in search of the 1906 earthquake shacks that have become incorporated into the housing on the hill. Here are some of the addresses visited.

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About 150 people gathered and divided into three groups. We all started at this place at 43 Carver, which consists of two "B" shacks joined together, and now obviously still quite a quaint place to live. ("Type A" cottages are 10' wide and 14' deep. "Type B" cottages are 14' wide and 18' deep.)

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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Photo: Chris Carlsson

The first occupants of the earthquake shacks at 43 Carver were Theodore and Domicella Ferenz, Polish immigrants who had previously lived on 11th St in the City before the '06 fire and quake destroyed the area. Theodore Ferenz built the hall between the two shacks, installed the plumbing in the back at a later time. In the beginning, he built an outhouse in the open yard to the left. The outhouse and chicken coops were still there when the house was bought in 1973. One of their children, Helene Critler, who died in April, 2006, right after the centennial of the Great Earthquake and Fire ("I wouldn't know anything about that, would I," she said), recounted many stories about living at 43 Carver, including going down to the cellar to fill oil lamps, and using buckets to catch water in the leaking hall between the two shacks.

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451 Anderson Street

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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164 Bocana Street

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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20 Newman Street

Photo: Chris Carlsson


Quake shack on the move, probably Army Street, with Bernal Heights poking up behind the buildings at the top of the photo, 1906.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

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Taking your home with you, after the big 1906 quake.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

1906 moving quake shack AAC-2847.jpg

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

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