As a convoy of archaic fire trucks led by an ethereally beautiful convertible Jaguar -- of the vintage that Isadora Duncan may or may not have died within it -- turned from McAllister onto Market, the old emergency vehicle's sirens began to wail. It was not quite 5 a.m., and the homeless men snoring on crushed cardboard boxes blearily shook their heads and grumbled.
Those sleeping in the streets exactly 103 years earlier also had an unwelcome pre-dawn wake-up call when the city tumbled down upon their heads before proceeding to burn to the ground.
Every April 18, a commemoration of the great quake of 1906 is held at Lotta's Fountain at 5:12 a.m. -- the fatal hour. Naturally, the 2006 celebration drew throngs of the historically minded out at this ungodly hour to witness centenarian quake survivors flirting with Mayor Gavin Newsom. Newsom wasn't there this year -- a shame, as it'd be intriguing to see what his hair looks like at that time of day, and speculate what time he had to arise to get it that way -- and the survivor count is down to just a pair. The crowd was smaller too, and was populated by the folks who usually show up to events such as these: City employees, history buffs, people who enjoy dressing in costume, and homeless people who happened to be on-scene.
Since you folks probably didn't feel like getting up at the crack of dawn (we know; we didn't see you there), enjoy a few photos of this year's commemoration. Maybe we'll see you there next year -- if you go, perhaps we'll let you take the photos.