The 1906 earthquake may have created headaches for downtown Santa Rosa merchants, but it also was a profitable time to be a newspaper publisher, such was the great demand for advertising. Displaced stores needed to let customers know where to find them, or when they would reopen – and that included saloons; probably never before in Santa Rosa’s history did so many liquor stores and bars have to advertise the whereabouts of booze.

There was little news in the newspaper except for the front page, and the bottom part of that always had a large display ad or two. Inside the four-page papers were more display ads, want ads, and notices. Brooks Clothing Co. had reopened near the old post office (“Look for the store with the yellow front”) and the White House department store was moving to their new location at B and 5th next week. Pedersen’s offered a “full line of earthquake proof furniture, carpets and linoleums” from his home at 328 Second Street. W. E. Nichols, contractor and builder, wanted to let you know that he was “open to any kind of legitimate business proposition.”

A few ads played with quake humor. The Santa Rosa Poultry Association was “Shaken Up and Still Moving,” paying spot cash for eggs; Price and Silvershield’s real estate and insurance office wanted you to know that they were “Slightly Disfigured But Still in the Ring;” the Hahman pharmacy at 504 Mendocino St. vowed their motto was to “Stick to Santa Rosa.” A paint and wallpaper store declared, “We Were Bent But Not Broke,” and hopefully they were better at painting and wallpapering than they was at grammar (at the bottom of their ad was the odd yet earnest tag, “Yours truly, Wilson Bros”).

Fourth Street, looking west at the courthouse from the D Street intersection. Detail of photograph courtesy California Historical Society

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