On Black Friday, San Francisco felt, well, BACK! Our Board chair Carmen Clark and I attended the kickoff for Union Square’s “Winter Wanderland”, with a European-style holiday market in Hallidie Plaza featuring live entertainment, with Union Square itself brighter than ever with the big Macy’s tree, the ice rink, and entertainment. Folks were enjoying it, as were the many SFPD officers very evident this holiday season.
It’s Big Game week in the Bay Area. (To those reading this from elsewhere, it’s our biggest college football rivalry: University of California, Berkeley, known to all its fans as simply Cal, vs. Stanford University. ) The first Big Game was in 1892, four years after cable car service started on Powell Street, one year after cable cars started running on Hyde.
On October 26, San Francisco got a joyous reminder of just how important our cable cars are with a bell-ringing, bottle-breaking celebration of the 75th anniversary of the saving of the cable cars, in a grassroots campaign led by Friedel Klussmann, in an era when women had very little power in city political and economic life. (Here’s that fascinating story.)
In 1947, San Francisco almost lost its Powell cable cars forever. A women-led campaign overcame male-dominated government and business interests to save them. That is a great story in itself. But there’s more to it, including lessons for today and tomorrow.
San Francisco has long been in the forefront of workers’ rights. This history extends back into the 19th century, but it was an event just one year after the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 that shook the city all over again – one of San Francisco’s bitterest strikes that shaped the future of streetcar service in San Francisco and influenced the City’s labor movement in general.
If there’s a special heaven for photographers, greats like Dorothea Lange, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, O. Winston Link, and many others are welcoming San Francisco’s Fred Lyon, who captured the essence of this city in the mid-20th century in images just as brilliantly as Herb Caen captured it in words.
August 2, 1873 — In the wee small hours of a misty San Francisco night (they didn’t call the month “Fogust” back then, but it was), a new type of transit was about to be inaugurated. An endless wire rope clattered beneath Clay Street. An odd open vehicle sat on the rails at the top of the hill. Standing by was Andrew Smith Hallidie, a Scot who had experience using wire rope in the mining business, and was part of the team promoting this new technology, aimed at making horsecars obsolete.
Maybe our best yet. You can get it either at our museum shop any Tuesday through Saturday, Noon – 5 pm (and save the shipping cost) or anytime at our online store. And if you join us for $100 or more annually here, you’ll get the 2023 calendar free! (Current and new members who qualify for the calendar will get it in plenty of time for the new year.)
Muni’s 21-Hayes bus line returned to service on July 9, 2022 after a 27-month pandemic suspension. Early in the pandemic, Muni management hoped that the crisis might give them an opportunity to rationalize the network by permanently shutting down some of the parallel routes that dated back to the 19th century. The 21 was one of several lines, including the 2-Clement and 6-Parnassus, on that list.
The 6-Haight-Parnassus trolley coach line returned to service July 9, 2022, after being shut down since the start of the Covid pandemic in Spring 2020. We recounted the history of this line in our exclusive member magazine, Inside Track, in 2019. We hope readers who enjoy this story will join us or donate, so we can keep telling stories like this.
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