More than 3,000 people died and hundreds of thousands lost their homes. The earthquake and following fires destroyed much of San Francisco and caused billions of dollars of damage in today's dollars.
Survivors came to Lotta's Fountain to post notices, looking for family or friends amid the rubble. Every year the earthquake is remembered at the fountain with a ceremony.
This is the first anniversary without any survivors. The last known survivor, Bill Delmonte, passed away in January. Three generations of his family attended the memorial in his honor.
"I heard stories about the earthquake from the time I was little. I think it ties you into your roots and the family and the city of San Francisco," said Jan Barroca, niece of survivor.
After gathering at Lotta's Fountain, the group moved to Dolores Park where a fire hydrant helped save the Mission District from fires that followed the quake. It's sprayed gold every year as a reminder. Azalia Merrell Dorner of San Francisco started bringing her sons in 2009.
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"I want them to understand that history isn't just something you get out of a book and has no relation to your life," said Merrell Dorner.
The group moved indoors for breakfast at Lefty O'Douls. That's where ABC7 News caught up with Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. She is pulling double duty today - first at the earthquake memorial, then at the fire department's 150th anniversary kickoff in Union Square.
"Today begins with an antique apparatus display and a 65 foot wooden ladder raise," said Hayes-White.
As the department salutes its history, it also looks forward to the future.
Chief Hayes-White says they are ready for the next big earthquake.
"We know it's a matter of when not if, we're in a seismicly vulnerable area," said Hayes-White.
The recent victims of devastating quakes in Japan and Ecuador were also honored in today's ceremonies.
Retired wooden ladder about to be raised by SFFD! pic.twitter.com/Uk51lLugb2— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) April 18, 2016
Fire Chief spraying "little hydrant that could" gold in honor of 1906 earthquake pic.twitter.com/rVqzBwt9pJ— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) April 18, 2016
Wreath now laid at Lotta's Fountain in honor of SF earthquake and victims in Ecuador and Japan pic.twitter.com/Q6ddxseZAy— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) April 18, 2016
Following moment of silence and sirens, now song to commemorate San Francisco's earthquake. pic.twitter.com/ZPRGTcEIqy— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) April 18, 2016
Moment of silence at Lotta's Fountain to honor 110th anniversary of 1906 SF Earthquake. pic.twitter.com/QXFHVf5uIb— Tiffany Wilson (@TWilsonTV) April 18, 2016