|Date(s):||April 21, 1906|
|Tag(s):||Earthquake, Urban Life/Boosterism, Fremont|
|Course:||“U.S. History: 1812 - 1914,” Foothill College|
|Rating:||3.67 (3 votes)|
The great 1906 earthquake turned the thriving city of San Francisco, California, into a sea of flames on the morning of April 18, 1906. However, the earthquake’s effects were more far-reaching than just the city of San Francisco itself. While Oakland was rather fortunate and did not sustain a large amount of damage, in San Jose “few buildings…escaped injury, and the death toll [was] not small.” Damage was also sustained in the Washington Township, a small collection of homesteads that would later become Fremont.
A new bank in Centerville, which had just been constructed, was completely destroyed. It had been the talk of the town, and many inhabitants were very proud to have such a beautiful new development in their town, only to have it demolished by the quake before it even opened. In addition, a drugstore and the Hawes & Dusterberry store were badly damaged. The drugstore closed down, but the Hawes & Dusterberry eventually relocated.
In the Irvington area, the Gallegos Winery was devastated, having been built less than twenty years earlier. At the time the winery was one of the largest in California. It was never rebuilt, but the remains are still visible today. The Independent Order of Odd Fellow’s building was very badly damaged but was repaired.
The majority of the damage to the rest of the cities was relatively small, although a couple of hotels were destroyed, and the powerhouse in the Mission area was cracked badly. Many local stores had their stocks knocked from shelves, and in some cases the more perishable items spoiled. Some prominent local citizens, C.C. Crane and his family, had actually gone on an automobile trip in the city of San Francisco on the day of the earthquake, but returned safely.
The damage sustained by the Washington Township, while not near as devastating as that of San Francisco itself, shaped the way the township developed for the next few decades. Much of the newer construction, such as the bank in Centerville, was either damaged or destroyed, and so the development of the townships was stunted, and the area remained largely agricultural into the 1950s and 60s, until a number of the townships were incorporated as the city of Fremont, and the GM plant (which later became NUMMI) was built.