The magnitude-7.8 quake hit at 5:12 a.m. Tuesday 111 years ago.
The ceremony took place at Lotta's Fountain on Market Street in San Francisco on Tuesday.
"There's has never been a plaque placed near Lotta's Fountain to commemorate the earthquake," said Ron Ross, the president of the San Francisco History Association.
That's why the organization started a fundraising drive to mount a 4-by-6-foot bronze plaque on a nearby wall. They hope to have it installed for the earthquake's anniversary next year.
Historians believe more than 3,000 people died as a result. More than 30 fires erupted from broken gas lines.
Joseph Pini took part in the ceremony for the first time. "I'm actually kind of impressed by these people's resolve to keep this going and keep the heritage, it's pretty impressive," said Pini.
Speakers at today's event included San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, SFPD Chief Bill Scott, fire chief Joanne Hayes-White and former mayor Willie Brown.
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