Home » City Guide » ,

1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire Anniversary (April 18)

SF reflects with a ceremony held at 5:12 am to mark the exact time of the Great Quake
By - posted 4/13/2022 No Comment

When the earthquake hit on April 18, 1906, it did so in the wee hours of the morning at 5:12 am. The cast iron Lotta’s Fountain on Market Street became a crucial meeting point and is now known as SF’s oldest surviving monument.

Every year since, city officials (and in past years, survivors too) gather around the fountain for a reunion at 5:12 am to mark the exact time of the Great Quake.

1906 Quake Ceremony & Remembrance
Monday, April 18, 2022 | 5:12am
Lottas Fountain, Market/Geary/Kearny, SF

On Monday, April 18, 2022, the San Francisco Fire Department and other early risers will be commemorating the 116th anniversary of the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 at an annual commemoration ceremony being held at the historic Lotta’s Fountain in downtown San Francisco.

The event begins at 5:12 AM, the exact time the 1906 earthquake struck the sleeping city of San Francisco.

After the commemoration ceremony at Lotta’s Fountain, a procession (estimated to be 5:50 AM) will be made to the famous golden fire hydrant for the annual re-painting ceremony on the corner of 20th and Church streets. The celebrated fire hydrant is said to have been the sole source of water, used by thousands of volunteers, responsible for
saving the south side of the Mission District during the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.

Typical Schedule of Events (please note exact details & schedule may change from year to year)

  • 4:45 a.m.: Master of Ceremonies Welcome Remarks
  • 5:00 a.m.: Mayor, Fire Chief, Police Chief introduced. Mayor hangs wreath on Lotta’s Fountain
  • 5:11 a.m.: Moment of silence and announce countdown (start countdown just before 5:12)
  • 5:12 a.m.: Sirens
  • 5:14 a.m.: Sing “San Francisco”
  • 5:15 a.m.: Announcement/invitation to paint the Golden Hydrant at 20th and Church streets, which saved the Mission
  • 5:50 a.m. : Help respray the Golden Hydrant at 20th and Church

San Francisco Earthquake and Fire from Red Channels on Vimeo.