RIP: Rose Cliver, 109, Bernal Heights Earthquake Witness

The San Francisco Chronicle brings us the obituary of Rose Cliver, a former Bernal Heights resident (from Gates Street) who watched the city burn from atop Bernal Hill after the Great Earthquake of 1906 struck:

Rose Cliver was 3 years old on April 18, 1906, when the quake and resulting fire killed more than 1,000 people and ruined more than 28,000 buildings. When she died Saturday at a residential care home in Santa Rosa, she was 109.

She attended an annual commemoration of the disaster in 2009, and “enjoyed her 15 minutes of fame,” said her son, Don Cliver of Santa Rosa. She told The Chronicle that day that she and her family, who lived in Bernal Heights, had climbed Bernal Hill after the quake and “watched San Francisco burn.”

Don Cliver said his mother wasn’t supposed to live long after her premature birth, but was the picture of health thereafter. One of 13 siblings, she lived an ordinary life – marriage, homemaking, two children of her own – and enjoyed traveling and quarter slot machines in her later years.

The Chronicle notes that Cliver’s death leaves four known 1906 quake survivors.

PHOTO: via Bernal History Project

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