Image - Matthew Davenport and post-earthquake street

San Francisco

Matthew Davenport: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906

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At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco, catching most of the city asleep. For approximately one minute, shockwaves buckled streets, shattered water mains, collapsed buildings, crushed hundreds of residents to death and trapped many alive. For the next three days, fires ignited and nearly destroyed what was then the largest city in the American West.

Join us in-person as Matthew Davenport describes the massive devastation and combines history and science to tell the dramatic true story of one of the greatest disasters in American history.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

This program is in-person only.

If you have symptoms of illness (coughing, fever, etc.), we ask that you either stay home or wear a mask. Our front desk has complimentary masks for members and guests who would like one.

The Commonwealth Club of California is a nonprofit public forum; we welcome donations made during registration to support the production of our programming.

A Humanities Member-led Forum program. Forums at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of The Commonwealth Club, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Photo courtesy the speaker.

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable.

Mon, Oct 16 / 12:00 PM PDT

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Matthew Davenport

Matthew Davenport

Author, The Longest Minute: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906

Image - Julia Flynn Siler

In Conversation with Julia Flynn Siler

Author; Journalist; California Book Award Juror; Twitter @jsilerauthor


11:30 a.m. doors open & check-in
12–1 p.m program
1 p.m. book signing
(all times PDT)


$10 members
$20 nonmembers
$45 members with a book
$55 nonmembers with a book