U.S. 46 Star Flag San Francisco Earthquake.

Sub-collection: U.S. 46 Star Flags

46 Star U.S. Flag, San Francisco's Earthquake Shack flag, 1906.
This small, printed cotton 46 star flag, previously mounted in a staff, dates from the years 1908-1912. It is inscribed in pencil with the name and date of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, and according to the previous owner it was acquired with a variety of items at a San Francisco estate sale of a survivor of the earthquake. See ZFC2315 for related item, a post card of the San Francisco Earthquake.

After the earthquake, a fire burned for over 4 days, destroying approximately 80% of the city and leaving over 200,000 citizens homeless. In order to alleviate the situation the American Red Cross, the San Francisco Relief Corporation, and the US Army spearheaded assistance efforts which included the construction of small cottages for temporary housing.

Placed throughout the city, and painted green to better blend in to parks and plazas, these cottages were lovingly called "earthquake shacks" or simply "shacks" by their occupants. In 1908 when Oklahoma became the 46th state, raising a need for a 46 star flag, these cottages were still in use. Doubtlessly displayed on or in one of these cottages, this flag was inscribed with, "Earthquake, April 18,1906" and preserved by the survivor.

One of the striking features of this flag is the orientation of the stars in the canton. Every other star is rotated so that one of the five points is either up or down, creating a kinetic effect in the star field. Sometimes called dancing stars, this flag is a poignant reminder of one of the greatest and tragic natural disasters in US history.

Provenance: Acquired by purchase at the San Jose Militaria Show Napredak Hall, San Jose, California, 2009.

ZFC Significant Flag


Madaus, Howard M.- Whitney Smith, The American Flag: Two Centuries of Concord and Conflict, VZ Publications, Santa Cruz, 2006. p 144-145.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Wikipedia, 5 October 2011, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1906_San_Francisco_earthquake

After the earthquake, Quick Facts about the 1906 Earthquake and Fires, 5 October 2011, from: http://mceer.buffalo.edu/1906_Earthquake/additional_information/earthquake-facts.asp

About Earthquake Cottages, 1906 Earthquake Refugee Shacks, 5 October 2011, from: http://www.outsidelands.org/shacks.php

Image Credits:
Zaricor Flag Collection

Hoist & Fly

Width of Hoist 24
Length of Fly 33.5


Width of Union/Canton 13
Length of Union/Canton 15.5


Comments on Star Measurements 8-7-8-8-7-8 horizontal rows
kenetic star pattern
Size of Stars 1.5


Width of 1st Stripe 2.25
Width of 3rd Stripe 2.25
Width of 8th Stripe 1.75
Width of Last Stripe 2


Is it framed? no


Number of Stars 46
How are the stars embeded? Printed
Are there stars on obverse? yes
Are there stars on reverse? yes


Number of Stripes 13
Color of Top Stripe Red
Color of Bottom Stripe Red
Has a Blood Stripe? no


Nation Represented United States


Fabric Cotton


Stitching Machine


Type of Weave Plain


Applique Sides Single Faced = Mirror Image Reverse


All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Research Documents
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.
Public Copy & Signs
All original documents and drawings are held in the Zaricor Flag Collection Archives.


Condition Good
Damage Used, faded, worn and stained.
Displayable yes


Date 1906