Cable Cars Get Their Due


San Francisco history podcast Sparkletack returned a few weeks ago from a long hiatus with a weekly time capsule. Each episode normally tells just one story from local history, but host Richard Miller is using these time capsules to cover nuggets from San Francisco’s past that don’t quite warrant an entire program of their own.

And this week’s time capsule is how I learned it was 44 years ago today — October 1st, 1964 — when our cable cars became a National Landmark.

“It was an especially poignant moment for the ‘Cable Car Lady’ Friedell Klussman, whose outrage at the City’s 1947 eradication plan had led her to form the “Citizen’s Committee to Save the Cable Cars”. Mrs. Klussman’s single-minded determination is the number one reason that lucky tourists can still wait in hour-long lines at the Powell Street Turnaround.”

The story of how the cables cars were almost lost entirely could be an entire episode itself.