“Forgotten Hollywood”- Great 1906 Quake Claims Last Victim

Posted on January 14, 2016 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

   When the Great Earthquake and Fire hit San Francisco in 1906, 3-month-old William Del Monte’s family fled the city on a horse-drawn cart. Del Monte was the last known survivor of the 7.8-magnitude quake and fires that killed some 3,000 people and leveled much of the city.

   Of course, Del Monte didn’t remember much about his family’s dramatic escape. His mother bundled him up when the shaking stopped and ran out to the street. His dad commandeered a rig, which they rode down to the waterfront as flames licked at them from all sides. After the earthquake struck on April 18, 1906, fires erupted and raged for almost four days, burning more than 28,000 structures and leveling more than three-quarters of the city.

san fran earthquake   del-monte-bd64f026ffeccb3d0ab16c033b6275bb68198450-s1400-c85

                                                                  WILLIAM DEL MONTE

   An MGM production was made way back in 1935 that chronicled the days leading up to the destructive event. San Francisco starred Clark Gable, Jeanette McDonald, and Spencer Tracy. The movie was lauded for its great special effects. Del Monte outlived each of the stars by 50 years.

   After being forced out of his home in North Beach after the 1906 Great Earthquake as an infant, Del Monte ultimately witnessed the city’s rise from the ashes more than a century ago, seeing it rebuilt. He became actively involved in annual earthquake commemoration events. This year, San Francisco’s mayor says the city will dedicate the event to him.

   The San Fran native embraced the changes in technology that he saw in his life — from gas lamps and horses and buggies all the way through the development of electricity and jet travel to computers. Del Monte worked as a stock market trader almost until the day he died.

   William Del Monte died of natural causes at a retirement home north of San Francisco. He was 109, just 11 days shy of his 110th birthday.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

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