At 5:12 in the morning on this date in 1906, San Francisco was rocked by one of the two most powerful earthquakes ever to hit North America. Estimates of the death toll run up to 3,000. The quake and the fire that followed it destroyed 28,000 buildings and nearly 500 city blocks. The devastation left more than 200,000 — half the city’s population — homeless. The quake caused damage along a corridor of almost 300 miles, from Oregon to Los Angeles. By comparison, the 1989 earthquake in California had a line of damage about 22 miles long. Today, San Francisco’s population is 853,000, and there are roughly as many housing units as there were people in 1906. The median value of those dwellings is over $750,000. Profile America is completing its19th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.