At 5:12 a.m. on April 18, 1906 the San Francisco Fire Department Chief Sullivan of was awakened when the city began to shake. In the following moments a wall from the hotel next door crashed through his roof sending both Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan crashing two floors down into the basement. Mrs. Sullivan miraculously landed on a mattress, surviving. But Chief Sullivan's fall was unbroken and he became one of the first fatalities of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.
The devastation of the earthquake
and fire which followed brought national attention and 10 million dollars in federal relief to the city. Among the rubble was the University of San Francisco's first establishment - St. Ignatius College. The students graduating in the spring of 1906 were allowed to complete their studies at Santa Clara College.
While St. Ignatius College Jesuits were taken into homes in the community, they turned to the question of where, when, and how to rebuild their church and school.