“Life in the Bay Area stood still”: A reporter’s recollection of the ’89 earthquake

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. As we look back over the 28 years since the temblor, Bay Area native Diana Gapuz walks San Francisco Diaries past the Battle of the Bay World Series, the ill-fated Cypress Structure, and a surreal commute in the aftermath to the KCBS newsroom in this firsthand account. We’ve all been supporting friends and family impacted by the fires in Northern California, and it’s reassuring to know that San Franciscans have always supported one another when disaster strikes. Here’s Diana:

We were rushing to get out the door, to watch Game 3 of the A’s-Giants World Series with friends. Several sharp jolts stopped us in our tracks. My husband, Marc, picked up our 17-month old daughter Emma, and we stood in a door frame.

The ground stopped moving. After years in news radio, hyperconscious of time, I nailed the length of the quake — 15 seconds. I called into my station, KCBS, first on the air to describe what I felt on rock-solid Albany Hill. Maybe spoke for 15 seconds. Then the anchor moved on to a reporter in the field.

Time to get on the road. Emma and I were heading to Berkeley to hang out with my morning co-editor, Christina. Marc was meeting friends in Oakland. By the time we reached Christina’s house, we were slowly realizing this wasn’t your usual tremor. Reporters from across the Bay were describing frightening scenes and frightened people. Read more

Today in history: 3 amazing photos of cable powerhouses after the 1906 earthquake

muni cable car san francisco earthquake
Photo via SFMTA Photo Shelter by John Henry Mentz

At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, a powerful earthquake shook San Francisco. Here are three terrible yet amazing photos from the SFMTA photo shelter of the cable car powerhouses after the quake. In the photo above, take at the Washington and Mason powerhouse, a cable car is covered in falling debris from the power and car house smokestack. This photo was taken by John Henry Mentz.

Two more photos from the archive, both taken at the Oak and Broderick powerhouse.
oak and broderick power house san francisco earth quake muni

muni sfmta 1906 earthquake cable car power house

Head over to the SFMTA Photo Shelter to see rest of “United Railroads 1906 | After the Earthquake” gallery.