In conjuction with the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Wells Fargo launched a blog dedicated to history. The posts are mainly by WF historians and achivists — the bank has a rich collection of documents, photographs and artifacts. There are first-hand accounts, perspectives from historians, etc. The parallels to the recent hurricanes, flooding and rebuilding efforts along the Gulf Coast are striking.
This excerpt from a letter in the archives describes the banking situation in the aftermath of the quake/fire:
In the first place, all the banks are burned, and the vaults may not be opened for weeks, lest their contents burst into a blaze. This happened to one vault which was opened today. In the second place, the Governor has declared legal holiday for a month, at least, and no California Bank can pay out any money. This is to prevent a run of the Banks, protesting of notes, and other legal complications, until a little order is brought out of our chaos. This lack of ready money is one of the people’s chief troubles. The others are lack of water, and lack of the necessities of life which cannot be bought here…
The only way to transmit money, as yet, is to send currency by Wells Fargo, or to send post-office order, which the post-office authorities will pay. This, I believe is different from a postal note, which is limited to twenty dollars… This is an unprecedented situation, and there are no rules to go by. Each day has new developments, and no day is like the last.
The site also features instructions on how to prepare for for an earthquake – at home and at work.
Wells Fargo Bank
Guided by History Blog