MARQUETTE – Northern Michigan University Historian Russell Magnaghi will present “San Francisco, 1906: Relief and Recovery without FEMA” as part of the NMU history department’s centennial lecture series. The public is invited to attend this free event. It is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, in Mead Auditorium in the West Science building.
According to the San Francisco Virtual Museum, the Great Earthquake and Fire of 1906 ranks as an unparalleled disaster in the city’s history. The site states, “More than four and one-half square miles burned and crumbled into a windswept desert of desolation. Nearly 200,000 people out of San Francisco's population of 450,000 were left homeless by the disaster. The Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads immediately closed their ticket offices and threw wide the gates so all who chose could ride away from the scenes of destruction and desolation. They were carried free of charge to every section and corner of the United States.”
Magnaghi will discuss the resulting response, which occurred in an era before federal disaster-related responsibilities were merged into the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA.