On 17th April 1906, an earthquake registering 7.9 on the richter scale ripped through the city of san francisco.
The city Authorities covered up nearly 5500 deaths. 300,000 citizens were left homeless. As newspapers at the time described it "Golden Gate Park, the Panhandle, and the beaches between Ingleside and North Beach are covered with makeshift tents".
Fires raged for weeks afterwards and police were ordered to shoot anyone who they thought to be looting a building.
Most of the city was destroyed and it was several years before the city was back to normal.