Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

June 1925: Workers remove debris after the Santa Barbara earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / The Watson Family Archive

Brother Michael Lamm, one of the Franciscan friars, stands on the steps of the earthquake-damaged Mission Santa Barbara. This photo was published in the July 1, 1925, Los Angeles Times and then republished around the world.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

The exterior of Mission Santa Barbara shows damage from the 6.8 earthquake. This photo was published in the July 1, 1925, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

June 1925: State Street in Santa Barbara following the earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 29, 1925: Damage at the Californian Hotel after Santa Barbara earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 29, 1925: Damage at the Californian Hotel after Santa Barbara earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 1925: Damage to the Hotel Californian after the earthquake in Santa Barbara.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

A truck is crushed by falling brick walls on State Street in Santa Barbara. This photo was published in the June 30, 1925, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

June 1925: U.S. Marines from San Diego arrive in Santa Barbara following earthquake to provide security and help with cleanup.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 29, 1925: Damage on State Street looking north from De La Guerra Street following Santa Barbara earthquake. This photo was published in the June 30, 1925, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 29, 1925: Ruins of State Street store in Santa Barbara after earthquake. This photo was published in the June 30, 1925 Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 30, 1925: Ruins of the Sheffield Dam three miles east of Santa Barbara following the June 29, 1925, earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / Los Angeles Times

June 30, 1928: Telephone poles placed to brace the Southern California Telephone Building in Santa Barbara after earthquake. This photo was published in the July 1, 1925, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 1925: Damage at the Arlington Hotel from the June 29, 1925, Santa Barbara earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

June 29, 1925: Automobiles standing in the 900 block of State Street buried in concrete from a shattered building following the Santa Barbara earthquake. This photo was published in the June 30, 1925, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

July 1, 1925: Red Cross relief workers set up outdoors in Santa Barbara following earthquake. This photo was published in the July 2, 1925, Los Angeles Times.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 1925: A car in Santa Barbara damaged by the June 29, 1925 earthquake. The small black dots on left of the image were caused by air bubbles not dislodged properly during processing of the original 4-by-5-inch glass negative.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 1925: Stores in Santa Barbara damaged by the June 29, 1925, earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

Written on the negative: "People living outside after quake, Santa Barbara." Handwritten information was often added on the edges of 4- by 5-inch negatives for archival purposes.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

June 1925: Damaged stores and the Hotel Berg following the Santa Barbara earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

July 1925: Temporary Chamber of Commerce office following the Santa Barbara earthquake.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times

June 29, 1925: Los Angeles Times reporter Chester Hanson files his stories on emergency line in middle of street in Santa Barbara after earthquake. Sailor stands by as martial law is in effect.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: George Watson / Watson Family Archive

Scaffolding surrounds the earthquake-damaged Mission Santa Barbara during repairs to the famous structure in 1926.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Los Angeles Times Archive/UCLA

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

1925 Santa Barbara earthquake

The Week in Pictures | October 21–27, 2013

Each week, we bring you the very best in visual journalism. Retired Marine Sgt. Maj. Charles L. Cook discovers the name of his deceased son, Marine Sgt. Charles D. Cook, on the...   View Post»

   

1925 Santa Barbara earthquake

Pictures in the News | December 5, 2012

Wednesday's Pictures in the News begins in Thailand, where Buddhist monks release lanterns in Bangkok during celebrations for Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 85th birthday....   View Post»

   

1925 Santa Barbara earthquake

2012 London Olympics | Day 12

Photo highlights from the London 2012 Olympic Games, Day 12.   View Post»

   

Preserving the desert

Preserving the desert

The Wildlands Conservancy, seeking to preserve 600,000 acres of the Mojave Desert, raised $45 million, bought the land and deeded it to the federal government. The intent was...   View Post»

1925 Santa Barbara earthquake

At 6:42 a.m. on June 29, 1925, the city of Santa Barbara was heavily damaged by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. Thirteen people were killed and damage was estimated at $8 million. Few buildings on State Street escaped damage.

Los Angeles Times staff correspondent Kyle D. Palmer reported the next morning:

SANTA BARBARA, June 29––Recurrent shocks, following a severe temblor at 6:42 this morning that demolished or seriously damaged virtually all brick, concrete and stone structures in the city and caused the death of an undetermined number of persons–now known to exceed seventeen (later revised down to 13)–forced Santa Barbara’s 30,000 residents to face a night on the city’s lawns, in the public parks and along the beach.

Thirty-two persons were reported as seriously injured. It is estimated that the total number receiving minor injuries did not exceed 200.

The first person to be rescued alive from the huge pile of debris in front of the wrecked San Marcos Building is Mrs. Marcario Hernandez, who was caught by the feet under fallen timbers. The woman was discovered by workers searching for the body of Dr. James Angel, dentist. Her leg was broken, but she appeared otherwise uninjured.

The body of Dr. Angel was still warm when removed, indicating he had been dead but a short time.

Although the earthquakes following the first heavy temblor this morning were thought to be due to settling of the earth’s crust and greatly diminished in violence, they were of sufficient intensity to dislodge bricks and stones and render dangerous the immediate vicinity of shake buildings. A shock of considerable intensity was felt at 5:40 p.m., another at 6:46–almost twelve hours to the minute since the first quake–and two more at 7:22 and 7:23.

Soon after the morning earthquake, Los Angeles Times staff photographer George Watson was dispatched to Santa Barbara. Years later in an interview for the Watson Family Photographic Archive, George Watson remarked that he “drove up in my old 1915 Buick C-25.”

“We drove up there in record time and the destruction was amazing. The Californian Hotel was about a 4-5 story building, quite long and the whole wall was all dropped out. You could see the beds, dressers, and the sheets tied together where the people slid down, terrible looking mess. And the street was full of rubble. It was really terrible.”

The Santa Barbara mission was badly damaged. While at the mission, Watson captured an image of one of the Franciscan friars, Brother Michael – included in the above photo gallery – standing on the steps of the church surveying the damage. This image later appeared in publications around the world.

The above photo gallery includes images recently scanned from original 4-by-5 glass negatives at the Los Angeles Times and at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive at UCLA.

1 Comment

  1. June 30, 2013, 10:54 am

    The the 1926 rebuilt facade of the Hotel Californian is now part of a current replacement of the old 100 bed hotel with a new 113 bed hotel at the original site shown in the Times photo. (The rest of the original Californian was demolished recently.)

    The 1925 earthquake was the impetus for the “Spanish Revival” red-tiled roofs of the Santa Barbara seen today.

    The photo showing the damage from de la Guerra street “north” is looking up State Street toward The Granada. (It’s the last tall building on the right in the photo.)

    The earthquake was so structurally devastating because the epicenter was a fault that runs though Santa Barbara along the east side of the Mesa. State Street is built on geologic alluvium, which added to the quake intensity.

    By: Bruno Marr

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published