The California-Hyde-Washington-Jackson Streets Cable car Line (!)

So, you think you know San Francisco, do you? You’ve been living here all or most of your life, or like me, spending most of your life visiting the city. There isn’t a tourist attraction you couldn’t be a guide for if you wanted to. Take the cable cars; you’ve ridden on every stretch of track on the three existing lines from one end to the other, right? Wrong! Let’s look at the three remaining cable car routes. The Powell and Bay Street line starts at Market Street, heads north to Jackson Street and turns left. After one block it turns right on Mason Street and follows Mason to Columbus Ave. Turning left on Columbus and right on Taylor Street it ends at Bay Street. The Powell and Hyde Street line follows the same course up Nob Hill from Market as Powell and Bay does, but after turning left on Jackson it heads up to Hyde Street, turns right and drops down to Aquatic Park. Heading back it passes Jackson Street, turns left on Washington, right on Powell, and continues back to Market Street.. Been there, done that, right? The California Street Line is simpler. It starts at California and Drumm Street, goes up Nob Hill and down to Van Ness Ave. and comes back to Drumm Street. However, like me, you may not have paid much attention to those cable car tracks you pass at Hyde Street when you ride the California Street Line. Both Powell Street Lines run past the Cable Car Powerhouse, but these tracks are how the California Street cable cars get back to the barn for maintenance or when it’s time to tuck them in for the night, and they are not open to the public.

califhydeoneuseTwo California Street cable cars pass and approach Hyde Street in 1954 in a picture from OpenSFHistory.org: The California Street cable car system was down for repairs this week so there were no passing cable cars at this location when I took my pictures. However, I’m going to mention more about this a little later in my post.

cablehydetwouseNow you’re looking east at the intersection of California and Hyde in 1949 and this week. These tracks turning off California were laid down in the 1950’s when the cable cars were consolidated into one system and do not appear on older pictures of the area. Two tracks turn onto Hyde Street to accommodate both east and west bound cable cars. (OpenSFHistory.org)

cablehydethreeuseWe’ll head north along the tracks starting from across California Street. The route heads uphill to Sacramento Street.

califhydefouruseWe continue uphill to Clay Street and then the tracks drop down to Washington in the bottom picture.

califhydefiveuseAt the intersection of Hyde and Washington, in the top photo, the northbound California cars cross on to the tracks of the southbound Hyde Street cable cars that climb Russian Hill from Aquatic Park. They’ve now linked back up with a passenger section of the cable car system that we all love to ride. From here, the California Line cars back up to make the turn on to Washington Street. They don’t really back up because California cable cars can go either way, like Doctor Dolittle’s pushmi-pullyu. They now head down Washington Street toward the Cable Car Barn.

califhydesixuseI spoke with a gentleman named Fred who works at the Cable Car Museum, and asked him what the route was from here that the California Line cars use to return to the barn. He traced the route for me on a map; the cars continue east past Mason, seen here during World War Two, to Powell Street. They share the same track here as the Powell and Market Street cable cars seen in both pictures do. (OpenSFHistory.org)

CalifhydesevenuseNear Powell Street a different set of tracks on the left branch off and California cable cars turn onto Powell Street from Washington and cross onto those tracks heading north. Passengers don’t make this turn either. The tracks and the turn on the right that the Powell-Hyde Street returning cars make like today and in 1973 is the one for the public. (OpenSFHistory.org)

CalifhydeightuseAfter heading one block north, the cars turn left and head up Jackson to the cable car barn where they back into it on the right in the bottom picture. The views from both the Washington and Jackson Street side of the cable car powerhouse are stunning!

CalifhydenineuseNow, we had the California Street cable cars in the powerhouse, but I had another question for Fred.

“Yeah, but how do the cars get back to California Street? I mean, they can’t just hop on a cable car.”

I waited for his rollicking laughter, but, well, maybe he didn’t hear that last part. Fred was really helpful and this post is for him. He explained how the cable cars leave the warehouse at Jackson and head uphill where once again they link up with the Hyde Street cable car line. The top photo shows where the Jackson Street line turns north onto Hyde and the bottom picture shows where the California Street cars cross onto the Hyde street tracks at another double track section. The cable cars stop here and reverse back to California Street.

Califhydetenuse I had a piece of luck here. Just as I was leaving, a California Street cable car turned onto Hyde from Jackson, crossed over the tracks for the return trip to California Street, and headed toward me. As I mentioned, the California Street cable line was closed for repairs during this week, so this must have been a test run.

Califhydeelevenuse A few minutes after California car number 57 passed by me a Powell and Market number 15 car came by heading for Washington Street. It’s probably not a big deal, but I’ve never had a Powell and California Street cable car rattle past me on the same track and I was pretty excited about it.

CalifhydetwelveuseNumber 57 headed back to California Street. The brakeman seemed to be looking at me and thinking, “What’s the matter, buddy? Haven’t you ever seen a cable car before?” and I thought back to him, “I’ve been riding them long before you were born, buddy, but never on this stretch!” The lower picture is where the cable car tracks that you and I will never ride on head back to California Street from Washington.

CalifPowellcaruseWhere the California Street and the Powell Street  cable cars, get ready to roll out of bed and hit the streets to “Stack ‘em,  pack ‘em , and rack ‘em.” ( artist drawing by Yo Pedro)

cableironsideoneuse I never gave much thought to the old television show ‘Ironside’ with Raymond Burr until I started watching episodes on DVD lately. For the most part, they’re actually well made murder mysteries with occasional location filming at interesting San Francisco sites. In one 1968 episode “Ironside” (Burr) and crew are chasing a murder suspect near the cable car barn. Here, they’re heading north on Mason Street in Ironside’s armored truck past the powerhouse.

cableironsidetwouseThey follow the suspect into the warehouse where one of Ironside’s team, Eve Whitfield, played by Barbara Anderson, isn’t about to let the murderess get away.

cableironsidethreeuseThe culpritess (Is that a word?) runs past a California Street cable car and pulls a gun.

cableironsidefouruse Eve blindsides her and roughs her up pretty good! I mean, it wasn’t like women’s mud wrestling, but it was still fun to watch.

cableironsidefiveuse“Okay, I give up! Just get this —– off of me!”

Even Ironside looks a little concerned about Eve’s enthusiasm!

cableironsidesixuse“No, Eve, you can’t shoot her! Due process, remember? Due Process!”

The cable car behind them here was probably a green Powell Street car. It looks like it says Mason St. on top.

And a little peace and quiet

In my last update I wrote about crowds and traffic from yesterday’s San Francisco. Today’s post will take you to a few places in San Francisco where you can still “get away from it all”.

quietcardalleyuseAh, here’s someone in Card Alley in North Beach in 1936 that was able to find a little peace and quiet “far from the madding crowd”.  (Shorpy.com)

quietspreckelsuseIn Layette Park near Pacific Heights you can still sit in a quiet area to enjoy quality thinking time, such as, “Why can’t I live in a house like the Adolph Spreckel’s Mansion there?”

quietstrawoneuse Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park is a peaceful place to meditate while walking through the woods; unless you’re Andre Moreau, played by Stewart Granger, being chased by the horsemen of Marquis de Maynes, played by Mel Ferrer in the movie ‘Scaramouche’ from 1952.

quietStrawhill2useThe soldiers chase Moreau along Stow Lake to the Rustic Bridge.

quietscarbridgeuseMoreau hides under the Rustic Bridge as de Maynes’ riders pass over.

quietdeyounguseAlso in Golden Gate Park is the Pool of Enchantment, originally located in front of the old de Young Museum. This picture is more a then and then. The top photo is an OpenSFHistory.org picture of the pool in the 1920’s. In the lower left is my 17 year old mom on the right standing with her cousin Frances at the pool in 1939. She looks older than 17 here, I wonder how often she was carded! In 1984 I wanted to find the spot where they were standing and took the picture at the lower right. The old museum was closed and demolished after the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 and the Pool of Enchantment has been moved to the side of the new de Young Museum.

PoolofEnchantment  The Pool of Enchantment today:

quietpalaceuse The Palace of Fine Arts is as peaceful and pretty of a place to relax or pose today as it was in the top photo from 1963. (The Cushman Collection)

quietpier44use QuietPier441930'suseThe top picture may not be as casual as it looks. These are army soldiers with tanks at the old Pier 44 brought out to put down the violent dock workers strike in 1934. Pier 44 was at the southern end of the Embarcadero and was demolished in the 1980’s. The South Beach Marina next to AT&T Park is there now. It’s a quiet place to sit and dream about that yacht you’re going to own someday, except when the Giants are playing next door. The lower photo from the San Francisco History Center is Pier 44 in the late 1930’s.

QuietpresidiooneuseThe old Presidio Army Hospital in 1860 in the top photo and when it was converted to a military museum in the lower picture, both from the Golden Gate National Recreation Association:

Quietpresidiotwouse The museum closed in the 1990’s and the building is now empty.

Foundsfuse quakeshacksuseJust behind the empty army hospital building are two earthquake shacks built for homeless or displaced San Franciscans after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Most of these homes were established for refugees right here in the Presidio. My two pictures are of the front and back of the houses.  The top photo is from Foundsf.com.

Crowds and congestion (For Cindy from Lucky’s)

If you think traffic and crowds are bad in San Francisco today, look at some of these wonderful old pictures from SFGate and OpenSFHistory.org.

crowdsfifthuseFifth and Market Street in early January, 1945: They were probably returning all of those unwanted Christmas gifts, like that ugly sweater with the hearts on it from grandma. (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)

crowdsfourthuseHmmm, this must be Fourth and Market! Actually, the curved windows of the old Pacific Building on the right, built in 1907, would give it away, anyway. The vintage picture was taken on Christmas Eve, 1945. The girl on the far left doesn’t look like she’s in a very festive mood. (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)

crowdstateuseLooking east on Market Street from Fourth in April of 1960: The old State Theater on the right was getting ready for a visit from St. Francis, the patron saint of San Francisco. That must have been a special show! (OpenSFHistory.org)

crowdsjohnsuseLooking west on Ellis Street between Powell and Stockton in the 1940’s: The historic John’s Grill is on the left in both photos. Opened in 1908 at this spot, the restaurant will be forever connected to Sam Spade and the Maltese Falcon because of a line from Dashiell Hammett’s book.

“Sam went to John’s Grill and asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, and sliced tomatoes.” (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)

crowdsutteruseSutter Street looking west from Powell in the 1940’s:

Hey, buddy, you’re in the street!”

That’s what they yelled at me too! (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)

crowdsbushuseBush Street at Grant Avenue as it crosses over the Stockton Tunnel in the 1940’s: This spot is mentioned in the ‘Maltese Falcon’ as well.

“Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill into Chinatown, Spade paid his fare and left the taxi.” (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)

crowdsdegaulleuseA Parade on Montgomery Street just north of Sutter in April of 1960 welcoming Charles de Gaulle: “Viva la France!” (OpenSFHistory.org)

crowdskearnyuse Kearny and Market Streets, 1910:

“Goodness, Officer! It certainly is crowded today!”

“Lady,  if you think this is crowded, wait until you see it a hundred and seven years from now!” (OpenSFHistory.org)

Telegraph Hill revisited (after 34 years)

No, it hasn’t been thirty four years since I visited Telegraph Hill, the vistas from the hill are staggering and I get up there as often as I can. These are just some 1983 and yesterday pictures of mine from up there thirty four years apart. In a February of 2016 post about Telegraph Hill I commented that when I do comparison pictures from a long ago photo I sometimes wonder a little about the photographers who took the vintage shot. Who were they? What were they thinking when standing in the same spot so many years ago? What was going on in his or her life at the time? Did they linger and reflect on the beauty of the view as I sometimes do? It’s probably a sign of old age, but when I do then and nows on my own pictures, I sometimes think the same thing!

ThillvallejouseWe’ll start at Vallejo and Montgomery Streets looking east. I’m trying to figure out what that giant grasshopper with wheels looking thing was next to the ALL VEHICLES OVER 3 TONS PROHIBITED sign on the right in my old picture.

ThillmontgomeryuseNow, here’s an interesting development. When I took the top picture looking south down Montgomery Street from Telegraph Hill in 1983 the camera was leaning slightly to the left. When I took the update in the bottom picture yesterday, I’m leaning a little to the right. However, I don’t think that this has anything to do with my political viewpoints.

ThillcalhounuseCalhoun Terrace looking east, one of those special views that a lot of people don’t know about: This was back when they painted the piers mellow yellow and baby blue. Down on the Embarcadero where that round see-through sculpture is located is where the Exploratorium is now. The Embarcadero still had a lot of that look of sea going-far away places and intrigue about it back then. Let’s get a little higher up now; we’ll take a trip to the top of Coit Tower.

ThillcoitoneuseA 1983 view of the Embarcadero and the Bay Bridge: A tanker ship was sailing into the Bay, possibly from some far away location like Sumatra or Bora Bora, or even a more exotic place like Los Angeles!

ThillcoittwouseZooming in closer to the city shows very little noticeable change in 34 years other than the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway.

ThillcoitthreeuseEasily the best view of Downtown San Francisco then or now is from this side of Coit Tower. The story goes here that when the skyscraper boom in San Francisco during the 1960’s was underway the developers wanted to continue as far north as possible. The residents of Telegraph Hill did not want their view of the Bay, the waterfront, the Bay Bridge or the Ferry Building to be blocked. They petitioned City Hall and got the northward skyscraper development stopped. I think the city of San Francisco owes them a debt of gratitude. Now the only thing that will block the views of San Francisco from Telegraph Hill is the fog, like it was trying to do yesterday.

“Bless the beasts and the children”

I like that song and not being in a particularly creative mood I couldn’t think of a better title for this post on the last weekend of the summer of 2017.

Beastsgoatuse1960, where Bush Street used to cut into Market Street:

“So, I’m walking my goat on Market Street! Do you have a problem with that?”

“No, Sir, I do not!”

Heck, if I had a goat, I might even do that too………. No, I wouldn’t! The Mechanics Statue and the Crown Zellerbach Building with its famous turquoise curtains are on the right and the Hobart Building is just to the left of the Zellerbach Building in both pictures.

BeastsKearnyuseKids in 1947 on Kearny Street just up from Broadway: The photographer isn’t identified in the vintage picture posted on Pinterest, but it looks a Fred Lyon photo to me, as he was great at getting pictures like this.

BeastsfirestationuseThe old Fire Station #15 on California Street near Laguna: There’s still a fire station at this same spot only now it’s Fire Station #38, and as much as I love horses, they get to the problem a lot quicker now.

beastslagoonuseFisherman’s Wharf Boat Lagoon in June of 1987: One of these days they’ll invent a kid that doesn’t stick his or her tongue out when having their picture taken. That little tyke that’s on my left shoulder in the 1987 photo is the same grown up tyke on my right shoulder in the current picture.

beastsdannyuseA 1970’s dude playing with his dogs on Ocean Beach: The bottom photo is my dog, Danny, on Ocean Beach in May of 2011. Danny was over twelve years old when I took this picture, but he ran along the beach like when he was a puppy, and he was still quite a “chick magnet” too!

beasthydeStuseOne of my slides at the foot of the Hyde Street Pier in 1985: I don’t know whose waif that was, but I vaguely remember that I thought it was pretty cool the way she was sitting up on that post just like Huckleberry Finn or something, so I took the picture.

Muni Heritage Weekend Festival

MuniHeritageoneuseI got a chance to check out the second day of the Muni Heritage Weekend Festival today. Muni and the Market Street Railway brought out all of the old stuff to ride on, some of them for free. $2.75 was all it cost for unlimited riding on most of them with a transfer as they traveled from AT&T Park to Fisherman’s Wharf, to North Beach, and along Market Street.

MunipepsibloguseThis clunker (not me) was a 1956 job and they got a lot older.

#42useThe highlight for me was riding the #42 cable car from the Ferry Building to Van Ness Avenue and back. Built in 1906, it’s the oldest cable car in the world. It ran along the old O’Farrell-Jones Line that closed in 1954.

#42upnobuseWe headed up California Street past Chinatown and when we got to the top of Nob Hill there was police activity everywhere!

MunicopsuseWe rolled over Nob Hill to Van Ness and then headed back toward the dragnet. I didn’t like the way that guy on the left in the bottom picture was looking at me.

“Hey, I paid my fare!”

MunimovieuseTurned out, they were filming a scene for a new Ant-Man movie coming out in July, 2018. I always get him mixed up with Atom Ant!

MuniDinkybloguseBack to the Muni Festival: That thing on the right in the top picture is called a “Dinky”. They were combination cable car-streetcars that used to run along Market Street. The conductor in the bottom photo told me that this one built in 1896 is probably the oldest running streetcar in America. He wasn’t as grouchy as he looked, he was just doing that for my benefit.

MuniboatbususeNaturally, everyone wanted to ride the 1934 Boat Tram from Blackpool, England, but I was more impressed with the orange and black Motor Coach built in 1938.

 

The view from the street

ViewVanNessuseVan Ness Avenue between Broadway and Vallejo in the 1920’s: The house on the far right is still there. (Vintage Showcase)

viewtankouseIn November of 1926 a gun battle between police and Joe Tanko, a gangster and murderer, took place on McAllister near Alamo Square that rivaled and predated the gangster gun battles of John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde. Police stormed the house just behind where the girls are standing in my photo and shot Tanko, the most wanted man in San Francisco at the time, to death. The bullets fired into him were at such close range it was reported that his clothes caught fire from the shells. The vintage photo was taken just after the gun battle.

view11thandmissionuseA Shorpy Collection photo taken at 11th and Mission Street in the 1920’s: The building is still there and they’re still selling tires!

ViewBroadwayuse Joyriding where Broadway begins to climb Russian Hill in the 1920’s: You can just make out the Ferry Building in the background of the vintage picture. They’re near where the eastern entrance to the Broadway Tunnel is today.

Broadwayredo A Cushman Collection photo from the University of Indiana taken in the 1950’s is looking from the opposite view of Broadway than from the previous pictures. Many of the buildings are still there. The movie theater on the right was where the building with the white rooster is today.

ViewLarkinuseViewBullittuseAnother Shorpy photo taken at Larkin and Chestnut Streets during the 1920’s: That’s the clock tower of Ghirardelli Square built in 1911 in the background. This spot has a movie claim to fame as part of the famous chase scene from the 1968 film ‘Bullitt’. That’s Steve McQueen’s reflection in the rear view mirror of his Mustang as he chases the bad guys in the black Charger down Larkin Street.