Unique SF Transit Gifts at our Museum Store

Looking for unique holiday gifts for friends and family, kids and former kids? Look no further than our San Francisco Railway Museum and Online Store.

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We’ve got a whole range of new merchandise you can’t find anywhere else, because we designed it ourselves in support of our mission to preserve and celebrate historic transit in San Francisco.

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We’ve got four new 11-ounce mugs featuring images from our Vintage Travel Series — original art we commissioned in the style of classic travel posters celebrating destinations along the historic streetcar and cable car lines.

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We’ve got several of these images now available on canvas tote bags too. We have all eight as posters, framed prints, and magnets.

We have magnets for almost every streetcar in the vintage fleet.

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Did we mention tee shirts? We’ve got a crop of new ones, including shirts for both kids and adults celebrating “The Streetcars of San Francisco,” and one especially for dog lovers.

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Speaking of kids, we now have two puzzles available, a 20-piece one for toddlers, and a 100-piece one for a little older child. And, pictured at the top of this post, we have a wonderful wooden model of famed PCC streetcar 1040, the last PCC ever built in North America, sized to fit with standard kids’ wooden train track (like the Thomas the Tank Engine sets).

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And for a laugh, we’ve even made it possible for you to turn Muni off (or on!) whenever you like with this cool light switch cover, one of two we offer. (Thanks to Jeremy Whiteman for the great photo of car 1040 we used, including the Z-Zoo route.)

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There’s a lot more to see and shop for as well, including our exclusive 2017 “Museums in Motion” calendar and our field guide to the city’s historic streetcars and cable cars, On Track.

So either come on down to the Museum at 77 Steuart Street (Steuart Street F-line stop), across from the Ferry Building, between 10 am and 5 pm from Tuesday through Sunday (we’re closed Mondays), or click here to shop online. Move quickly if you want to shop online though. We are unable to offer overnight delivery options so be sure you place your order in time to get it for the holidays. And we do have a wider selection of merchandise at the Museum than we’re able to offer online.

Remember, every purchase you make helps our non-profit Market Street Railway in its mission of preserving historic transit in San Francisco. Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Take Famed Streetcar No. 1 to See “Lost Landscapes”

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Rick Prelinger’s “Lost Landscapes: San Francisco” is celebrating its eleventh year at the Castro Theater in December. What better way to get there for the showing on Wednesday, December 7, than a ride on Muni’s very first streetcar, car 1, built in 1912. The streetcar ride to the Castro Theater will follow a special reception at our San Francisco Railway Museum.

Here’s a brief description of “Lost Landscapes 11”:

This year’s program features new scenes of San Franciscans working, playing, marching and partying during the Great Depression; unseen footage of Seals Stadium and the Cow Palace in the late 1930s; the reconstruction of Market Street and Embarcadero Plaza in the 1970s; rare footage of southeastern San Francisco and the Hunters Point drydock; the 1975 Gay Freedom Day parade; a 1940s-era ode to our fog; many more newly discovered gems; and greatest hits from past programs.

As always, the audience makes the soundtrack at the glorious Castro Theatre! Come prepared to identify places, people and events; to ask questions; and to engage in spirited real-time repartee with fellow audience members.

Our special reception and charter is for people who already have tickets to “Lost Landscapes,” which almost always sells out, but at this posting still has tickets available. So if you don’t have a ticket to “Lost Landscapes” yet, your first step is to click here to buy one or more to the December 7 showing.  Once you have tickets to the showing, sign up for our special reception and charter.

Our event starts at 5:00 p.m. with a wine and cheese reception at our San Francisco Railway Museum at 77 Steuart Street, across from the Ferry Building,

At 5:55 p.m. sharp, the beautifully restored Car 1 with its gorgeous wood paneling and rattan seats, will leave the museum, with you on board, wine glass (or beer) in hand, for a quick trip up the Embarcadero to Pier 39 and back before heading out Market Street on your private ride to Castro and 17th Street, just steps from the Castro Theater. You’ll enjoy special entry to the theater, avoiding the lines. (But, remember, you must have your ticket to the show already.)

The price of the excursion is $30 for members of the public, but Market Street Railway members receive a 25% discount (via a coupon code at check-out). All proceeds go to support Market Street Railway in its work to keep San Francisco’s transit history alive.

Sign up for our reception and charter here.  (And don’t forget, you need a separate ticket for the showing of “Lost Landscapes.”)

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Second Renovated PCC Back From Contractor

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The second of 16 PCCs streetcars that made up the original F-line fleet is back in San Francisco and is beginning testing, with the hope of having it back on the F-line carrying passengers by the end of November.

Car 1051, painted in the “simplified green and cream” paint scheme used by Muni on its streetcars in the late 1960s and 1970s, is dedicated to the late Harvey Milk, who rode streetcars painted like this between his Castro Camera store and City Hall when he was the city’s first gay elected supervisor in 1978, up until his assassination on November 27 of that year. The 1051 appeared in the movie “Milk”.

Car 1056 returned to San Francisco last month.

Streetcars currently at the Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania under the contract include 1055, 1059, 1060, 1062, and 1063.  Based on the order in which they were shipped, the 1060 should be the next to return to San Francisco, perhaps by the end of this month. These cars have had 21 years of very intense service since they were first renovated in the early 1990s.

There is additional, very interesting news regarding the Brookville contract, but we’ll give it to our members (including those who join us now) first in the next issue of Inside Track, our exclusive member newsletter, which should be out before month-end. Members, watch for it, and remember, you can get it at least a week faster if you opt for the electronic version rather than the printed one. (Just send an email with your name and email address to [email protected] and say you want to switch.)

 

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City Hall Avenue, Around 1913

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Almost no one is still with us who actually saw the street named City Hall Avenue.  It ran parallel to Market Street, half a block north, and stretched just two blocks between Leavenworth and Larkin Streets. The massive but poorly built City Hall and neighboring Hall of Records filled the north side of the street.

Because of the municipal buildings, it was an important street, at least until April 18, 1906, when the giant earthquake shook the shoddily built City Hall to the ground. As an important street, it rated a streetcar line, the Tenth and Montgomery line of United Railroads, a meandering route that started at Tenth and Bryant, crossed Market, zigzagged on Polk and Grove to run along City Hall Avenue, then turned north on Leavenworth to Post, Post to Montgomery (where those two streets intersect Market Street), and then north via Montgomery and Washington to Kearny Street.

In the photo above, looking west from Leavenworth Street and dated around 1913, City Hall Avenue looks like a ghost town. The old City Hall is gone, with plans being made to build the grand new one we love today two blocks away. The Hall of Records, not too badly damaged in the quake, has been fixed up and is back in use, but it too is headed for demolition as a new vision for a grand Civic Center takes shapes. The only other buildings in the shot were thrown up after the earthquake and look temporary, which they turned out to be. The overhead wires and tracks turn from Leavenworth Street (to the right in the photo) onto City Hall Avenue.

14938351_10209745024253921_2384041602252333076_nThe map to the left shows the street grid of the time, with City Hall Avenue just to the right of Market Street, with a plaza connecting the two where Hyde Street is today.

So why put a photo without streetcars on a streetcar site? Because streetcars were pretty rare on this line by this time.

With the abrupt shift from cable cars to streetcars on Market Street after the quake, and establishment of other streetcar lines, the meandering Tenth and Montgomery line became an anachronism, just a few years after its opening in 1900. It only drew decent ridership during rush hours, with so few riders the rest of the time that United Railroads kept the small single-truck “dinkys” (identical to preserved Car 578) on the line, while other lines got bigger streetcars. Before long, service was cut to the minimum necessary to retain the city-awarded franchise to use the streets.

When City Hall Avenue itself was ripped up within a few years of this photo, United Railways rerouted this line along existing tracks on Larkin and McAllister Streets, and it held on until 1931. Very few photographs have come to light of the early days of streetcars on this line but at least we have the tracks, and a vanished street, to look at.

Thanks to John A. Harris for posting the photo on the Facebook group San Francisco Remembered, and to Kevin Walsh for posting the map there with his comment. Thanks too to Emiliano Echeverria, who corrected a couple of facts in the post, which is now updated.

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