“My City, My Game”

“This is my city and my game…You birds’ll be in New York or Constantinople or some place else. I’m in business here.” – Sam Spade

Dashiell Hammett invented the genre of the hard-boiled detective (now often called Noir) with his short stores in the magazine Black Mask and then in the most famous of his works, The Maltese Falcon, published in 1930 and widely recognized today as a seminal work of American literature.

In that novel, the main character was cynical private eye Sam Spade, who became one of the most famous characters ever in detective fiction despite appearing in only that one novel of Hammett’s. But in both Falcon and in his earlier short stories, the major supporting character is San Francisco.

Dashiell Hammett

When the book was written, San Francisco was Hammett’s city too, a fact made obvious from the rich detail imparted in the spare, muscular prose Hammett favored. And though they only make cameo appearances in the book, streetcars and cable cars were a constant presence in the neighborhoods traversed by Spade, Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Casper Gutman, Joel Cairo, and Wilmer Cook. By doing a little sleuthing of our own, we can extract some valuable clues into how San Franciscans like Hammett — and his creation Spade — relied on the rails to get around our town in the 1920s.

A, B, C, D, 1, 2, 3

“Spade…crossed [Geary] street to board a westbound street-car. The youth in the cap boarded the same car. Spade left the car at Hyde Street and went up to his apartment. His rooms were not greatly upset, but showed unmistakable signs of being searched. When Spade had washed and had put on a fresh shirt and collar he went out again, walked up to Sutter Street, and boarded a westbound car. The youth boarded it also.”

The Maltese Falcon

In that single passage, Hammett captures the quintessence of San Francisco’s streetcar environment in the 1920s. (From actual events mentioned in the book, experts have established that the novel is set from December 6-10, 1928.)

Union Square, 1927, looking east on Geary at Powell. Muni Car 187, right; Market Street Railway Company’s Powell Cable Car 502, left.


After leaving Joel Cairo at the Geary Theater, Spade boards a gray ‘Battleship’ on the first American big-city street ever served by publicly owned streetcars. The A, B, C, and D were all trunk lines on Geary, and though they began diverging from Geary at Van Ness, Spade would’ve climbed on the first car that came along, because he was only going four blocks, almost not worth wasting a nickel on.

Then, after ascertaining that his ‘rooms’ on Post Street had been searched, Spade hikes one block up Hyde to Sutter where he would’ve boarded a streetcar owned by Muni’s fierce competitor, Market Street Railway Company. It could’ve been on the 1, 2, or 3 line; again, it didn’t matter to Spade since he was only riding a few blocks. By that time, all the Sutter cars should have sported the recently patented ‘White Front’ paint scheme, making them much more visible in the night than their fog-colored Muni counterparts.

The Hunter-Dulin Building, about 1930. Note the streetcars on Sutter.

Although the book doesn’t say so, Spade’s regular commute to his office would also have been on the Sutter streetcars. Hammett aficionado Joe Gores—an excellent mystery writer in his own right—deduced from clues in the novel that Spade’s office was in the Hunter-Dulin Building, which still stands at 111 Sutter. (Across Montgomery Street, in the Holbrook Building at 58 Sutter, were Market Street Railway Co.’s executive offices.)

Hammett as Spade

Looking east on Geary at Leavenworth, 1930, the route Spade rode in the book.

It’s quite clear that Hammett set The Maltese Falcon in places he knew well from his own daily experiences in San Francisco. His ‘rooms’, for example, were more than likely Hammett’s own apartment of the period, 891 Post Street, #401. In 1928, this corner, Hyde and Post, was almost as rara avis as the black bird everyone was pursuing in the novel: a downtown intersection without any streetcar or cable car tracks at all, making it a relative oasis of serenity, largely free from the near-constant growl of nearby streetcar motors or clatter of track joints. Since this apartment is where Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon, perhaps that lack of streetcars in the streets immediately below is why they appear only rarely in the book.

Rail lines Spade/Hammett could have ridden. Click to enlarge, then click again on the magnifying glass; on the underlying map you’ll see the tracks of every downtown streetcar and cable car line in 1927.

Hammett (and Spade) had plenty of transit options within walking distance, though, with the Geary and Sutter lines each one block away, as was the 10th & Montgomery Streets line, which ran up Post as far as Leavenworth, a block east. However, that line was so unimportant that it was usually operated by only one car (identical to preserved Car 578) to protect its franchise for Market Street Railway, and never even received a route number. The Montgomery portion of the was discontinued without replacement in 1927; the rest of the line was gone by 1932.

Montgomery Street “dinky” north of Sutter, 1927, with Spade’s fictional office in the Hunter-Dulin building in the background.

In the real world, Hammett would have used streetcars every day to get around town, as he had no automobile. At the beginning of his literary career, when he was writing short stories for Black Mask, the leading detective pulp fiction magazine of the day, his ‘day job’ was working as an advertising copywriter for Albert S. Samuels Jewelers at 895 Market, in the Lincoln Building at the corner of Fifth (now Westfield Center shopping mall, housing Nordstrom).

Postcard image of the Lincoln Building, Fifth and Market, 1922; The Emporium to its left. Samuel’s Jewelers far right and in the detail below, next to F.W. Woolworth. The street clock is now across Market, next to the Flood Building.

For five years earlier in the 1920s, he mostly lived with his wife and young daughter at 620 Eddy, between Larkin and Polk. ‘Mostly’ because Hammett was tubercular, and when the disease was active, he stayed in other nearby rooms to avoid the risk of infecting his family. In those days, before the 31-Balboa opened, Eddy was served by the westbound 4-Turk & Eddy line, which ran from the Ferries to the Richmond District. Hammett’s regular commute to the office would probably have taken him a block south to catch the inbound 4-car on Turk. That line made a clumsy dogleg when it reached Market, jogging a block north to Eddy before heading east again to merge into Market’s ‘Roar of the Four’ streetcar maelstrom at Powell.

A 20-line streetcar, shown here turning from westbound Ellis onto northbound Hyde, might have been Hammett’s ride home after an evening at John’s Grill.

For Hammett’s job at Samuels, it would’ve been quicker to jump off the car at Turk and Market and walk the short block to Fifth. For his previous job, as a Pinkerton detective, he would have stayed on the car until Eddy and Market (an intersection eradicated by the excavation of Hallidie Plaza as part of the BART project in the 1970s). Alighting from the car, he would have passed the Powell cable car turntable, sitting in the middle of an active street with no tourists waiting in line, and entered the ornate Flood Building at 870 Market Street, there to ride the open-sided birdcage elevators to the Pinkerton office in Suite 314 (five floors below Market Street Railway’s office today, Suite 803).

After work, if Hammett chose to grab a drink or meal at John’s Grill—then, as now, next door to the Ellis Street entrance of the Flood Building—he might have gotten home by jumping a 20-line streetcar westbound to Hyde, where the line jogged a block north to continue west on O’Farrell. From there, it was a two-block walk to 620 Eddy.

A ‘Pink’

Perhaps Dashiell Hammett, on his way to work, has just stepped off the #4-Turk & Eddy car angling onto Market Street past the Flood Building in the upper right of this 1925 view looking east on Market from Fifth. The buildings on the left were all ripped out in the late 1960s to build Hallidie Plaza, and the Powell Street BART/Muni Metro station.

Tagged as a communist during the witch hunts following World War II, Hammett was known as a ‘Pink’ in the early ’20s for a completely different reason: it was the standard term for Pinkerton detectives. It was this job that gave Hammett the grist for his detective novels. His first protagonist was a rotund nameless detective known as the ‘Continental Op’ after the fictional San Francisco detective agency the character served as an operative. The short stories featuring the Op built Hammett’s confidence and reputation.

Many of the Op stories were set in San Francisco and featured the same detailed city flavor as The Maltese Falcon. In The Whosis Kid, Hammett describes the Op tailing a suspect as he left the boxing matches at the Western Addition arena called Dreamland (later the site of Winterland). ‘The Kid walked down to Fillmore Street, took on a stack of wheats, bacon and coffee at a lunch room, and caught a No. 22 car. He—and likewise I—transferred to a No. 5 car at McAllister Street, dropped off at Polk…” (The same trip can be made on the same lines today, only on trolley buses instead of streetcars.)

In The House in Turk Street, the Op tries to gain information by spinning a story to residents that he was looking for witnesses who might have seen his (phony) client ‘thrown from the rear platform of a street car last week’—a common enough occurrence in those days to be credible.

As a Pink, Hammett worked on a variety of assignments that contributed flavor to his later writing. One of his cases, though, never was fictionalized: the holdup of the California Street Cable Railroad—presumably at Cal Cable’s offices at California & Hyde. According to William F. Nolan’s biography, Hammett: A Life at the Edge, he took on this case, among others, as extra work because he needed the money. In October 1921, he became a father when his daughter, Mary Jane, was born at St. Francis Hospital, just a block from the Cal Cable offices.

California Street Cable Railroad Company Car House at California and Hyde Streets, site of a holdup Dashiell Hammett investigated as a Pinkerton detective. A Trader Joe’s occupies this corner today.

Hammett and cable cars

Cable Cars are never mentioned in The Maltese Falcon, although action takes place both on Powell Street (in a hotel dubbed the St. Mark, though from its location it is clearly the St. Francis), and in Brigid O’Shaughnessy’s apartment, likely located at 1201 California Street. Given Hammett’s familiarity with them and his penchant for local color, this may seem like an odd omission. It is possible that Hammett wanted to paint an urban landscape familiar to big-city dwellers all over America, and while streetcars were ubiquitous across the US in those days, cable cars were then running only in San Francisco, Seattle and Tacoma. It’s also possible he didn’t want to clutter his prose by explaining what a cable car was.

Whatever his reasons, Hammett himself would have ridden his fair share of cable cars in those days. For a brief time in 1926, he and his family lived at 1309 Hyde Street, between Clay and Washington. To cable car aficionados even then, this was a famous stretch of Hyde, carrying the last completely new cable car line opened in the city.

When the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line opened in 1891, the rules required that the cable on new lines be ‘inferior’ (pass underneath) every older cable line it crossed. This meant that the gripman had to drop the ‘rope’ (cable) at every cable crossing to avoid snagging the ‘superior’ cable of the older line it was intersecting—22 times in all on one round trip for this newest line. In this particular stretch near Hammett’s apartment, the Hyde line crossed older lines at five successive intersections: California, Sacramento, Clay, Washington, and Jackson. (The tribulations of operating this line was memorialized by Gelett Burgess in 1901 in his poem The Ballad of the Hyde Street Grip.)

Going north on Hyde was a lurching, jerky ride, as the first four blocks of this stretch were uphill, requiring the rope to be dropped and picked up again at each intersection before cresting the hill at Washington and coasting across Jackson. Southbound on Hyde, however, was a freewheeling joyride after Jackson, all the way past the carhouse on the southwest corner of California and Hyde (a supermarket today). Watch out, though: the line turned east (and uphill) at Pine, so the gripman had to be sure to take the rope after the carhouse.

Hammett may have ridden the O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde Street cable line to connect to the ferry (top right) to Sausalito to visit his wife and daughter in Marin. He would’ve gotten a bonus: a whiff of chocolate from the Ghirardelli factory to the left.

Hammett might have enjoyed this ride when he was living on Hyde, because the line then jogged down Jones to O’Farrell, a two-block walk from Samuels. (This portion of the great Hyde trackage disappeared in 1954.) Perhaps an even faster solution would have been jumping on a Washington-Jackson cable car a half-block from his house and riding directly to Powell and Market, with the jewelry store just across the street. Samuels later moved across Market to a location just east of the Flood Building. Its massive street clock made the move across Market too, and is today the only remnant of the family-owned jewelry firm that billed itself as ‘The House of Lucky Wedding Rings’.

It does not appear that Hammett wrote that slogan as part of his Samuels job. It would have been ironic if he had, for his own marriage was on the rocks. After leaving the Hyde Street apartment and his family for 891 Post, he rarely lived together with his wife again, famously beginning an affair with the playwright Lillian Hellman just a few years later, a relationship that would last until his death in 1961.

During an earlier family split, Hammett lived for a time at 20 Monroe Street, an alley off Bush near Stockton, while his wife and daughter lived across the bridgeless Golden Gate in San Anselmo. He visited them frequently on weekends, likely using cable cars for the first part of the journey: walk two blocks north to California Street for a ride on the Cal Cable, with a free transfer to the company’s Hyde line, then onto the Northwestern Pacific ferry at the Hyde Street Pier, switching to the electric interurban train at Sausalito for the rest of the trip.

Murder atop Stockton Tunnel

A Muni streetcar on the original F-line enters the Stockton Tunnel, headed north. The fictional murder of Miles Archer, Sam Spade’s partner, which opens The Maltese Falcon, took place on what was a vacant lot next to the portal, to the right of that truck exiting the tunnel.

Of more import to the literary world, during his time at 20 Monroe Street, Hammett daily passed the scene of the most famous fictional crime in San Francisco history—a crime of his own creation.

To reach Samuels, Hammett would have either walked three-quarters of a block west on Bush to catch a Powell cable car, or jogged a few feet east on Bush to descend the stairs at the south portal of the Stockton Tunnel, taking an F-Stockton Muni streetcar to its terminal at Market, then walking a block to his office.

Certainly, then, Hammett was quite familiar with the rather foreboding portal, constantly rent by the echoes of Muni ‘A-type’ streetcars (including preserved car No. 1) roaring through the tunnel. Though the novel doesn’t mention it, that ear-splitting sound of streetcars emerging from the portal would have been an effective mask for the sound of the bullet from the Webley-Fosbery revolver in Brigid O’Shaughnessy’s hand. That bullet, of course, killed Spade’s partner, Miles Archer, to open The Maltese Falcon, setting off the entire adventure. The scene of the crime was the dark alley named Burritt Street, just across Bush from the apartment on Monroe. In those days, there was a steeply sloped vacant lot between Burritt and the tunnel portal, down which the dying Archer tumbled.

Up in the world

Even before The Maltese Falcon was published as a book in February 1930, its successful serialization in Black Mask was bringing Hammett great success. His last San Francisco address, 1155 Leavenworth, showed he was literally moving up in the world, onto the upper slopes of Nob Hill, between California and Sacramento Streets. Here again, he was sandwiched among three cable car lines, but by now he was well off enough to take taxis when he needed to get around town. He left town for good in October 1929, bound for New York and then Hollywood before writer’s block truncated his career.

Of course, Hammett’s writing also led to one of the most loved movies ever made. The Humphrey Bogart version of The Maltese Falcon was actually the third version of the book put to celluloid, and by far the most faithful. The first-time director, John Huston, is said to have created the screenplay by simply converting the book’s dialogue into script form, using the book’s narrative as screen direction. There was, of course, some necessary editing and a little simplification, including the removal of the book’s streetcar scene. Few movies of the day were filmed outside Los Angeles, and except for the first panoramic stock shot of the City from the Bay, The Maltese Falcon was filmed on Hollywood sound stages or back lots.

Hammett’s legacy includes some of the most vivid prose ever penned in a San Francisco setting. It also conveys enduring insight into the way transit served as the vital circulation system bringing mobility to San Franciscans—just as Muni does today.

The “dingus” that caused all that running around San Francisco, immortalized in Hammett’s book.

Written by Rick Laubscher; photos from Market Street Railway Archive unless otherwise noted. If you’d like to keep stories like this coming, please consider supporting us.

For those with a New York Times subscription, check out this great 2014 story retracing Hammett’s haunts.

Share
Comments Off on “My City, My Game”
Share

A Trip to the Boneyard!


8274901387_bc4a3275a6_z.jpg

1954 Hamburg, Germany tram No. 3557 (right) and two ex-Muni PCC streetcars are among the historic vehicles awaiting restoration at Muni’s "boneyard," as the streetcar storage facility is informally known. Todd Lappin photo.

Recently, a group of Market Street Railway board members joined a tour of Muni’s storage facility for streetcars awaiting restoration. This facility, near Islais Creek, exists in part because of our active advocacy, begun three decades ago, to preserve retired streetcars to meet possible future service needs. Already, several have been plucked from this purgatory and restored to service. We are working to see that more follow, as demand grows for additional service on the F-line and future E-line.
The photo above comes from Market Street Railway board member Todd Lappin, who tells all about the trip here, with many more photos. You can find more information on the tram on the right, from Hamburg, Germany, here.
The visit has also been chronicled by Market Street Railway board member Jeremy Whiteman, who co-chairs our calendar committee, and Jon Wollenhaupt. (Enjoy viewing these photos, but please respect the artists’ copyright rules as posted on their sites.)
As Todd points out, not all the streetcars in the “boneyard” will ultimately be restored. Some, with badly rusted or accident-damaged bodies, have already given up many parts needed to keep the current fleet running. We’re currently working with Muni to help determine the most viable candidates for restoration, to set priorities as the need comes up. You can see which streetcars are in storage and get a general idea of their condition by reviewing our complete streetcar roster.
As year-end approaches, it’s a good time to note that we depend entirely on memberships and donations to do what we do, along with thousands of hours of volunteer time and proceeds from gift sales at our San Francisco Railway Museum. Since you’re reading this post, you probably have some interest in our efforts, so please consider helping us. Thanks very much.

Share
No Comments on A Trip to the Boneyard!
Share

Reunifying the Wharf, Extending the F-line to Fort Mason

reunifyingthewharf-1.jpg

While National Park lands are a major destination of the planned streetcar extension to Fort Mason, connecting western Fisherman’s Wharf to regional transit and the rest of the waterfront is a big benefit as well. Market Street Railway illustration, Robert Campbell photo.

Did the F-line split Fisherman’s Wharf in two? Anecdotal evidence suggests it might have, albeit accidentally, to the detriment of the western part of the Wharf area. But a solution is at hand: an extension of vintage streetcar service westward to Aquatic Park and Fort Mason, a project now in environmental review. This project, currently led by the National Park Service with strong Muni support, promises very positive impacts for the western Wharf area as well.

Changing Historic Patterns

Fisherman’s Wharf is San Francisco’s biggest visitor attraction. As such, it’s a critical part of the city’s economy, in good times and bad. Until the late 1960s, what people referred as ‘the Wharf’ was almost literally that: the boat harbor next to Pier 45 that was home to the city’s fishing fleet, crewed mostly by Italian immigrants and their descendents. The string of restaurants surrounding the harbor was included and not much else.

But in 1957, Muni realigned its cable car service, piecing together parts of two lines to make a new ‘Powell-Hyde’ line that, for the first time, directly linked the heart of the city’s retail and hotel district to Aquatic Park. Tourists just wanting a cable car ride happily climbed on board the Hyde cars only to find an empty dirt lot at the other end, along with a bunch of industrial buildings.

But this new, visitor-friendly historic transit line soon helped inspire visionary developers, including William Matson Roth and Leonard Martin, to convert some of those old industrial complexes into shining new retail attractions such as Ghirardelli Square and The Cannery. Gradually, the definition of ‘Fisherman’s Wharf’ expanded, in the minds of both visitors and merchants, to stretch from Ghirardelli in the west all the way to Pier 39, developed in the late 1970s, in the east.

The two cable car lines distributed public transit visitors evenly across the western and central parts of the Wharf. (The Powell-Mason line’s terminal at Bay & Taylor has served the area since 1888.) The eastern edge of the Wharf area, anchored by Pier 39, counted mostly on automobiles to bring its visitors, as clearly evidenced by the enormous garage adjacent to the facility.

When the F-line opened to the Wharf in 2000, visitor travel patterns changed again. Now, in addition to the two north-south cable car lines reaching the Wharf, there was attractive east-west vintage rail service directly linking downtown via The Embarcadero, where it replaced an infrequent Muni bus that no one rode.

Looping through much of the Wharf on Jefferson Street heading west and Beach Street heading east, the F-line was an immediate hit with riders and today carries far more people than the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde cable car lines combined. Some of the F-line ridership has come at the expense of the cable cars (the $5 cable car fare and long turntable lines in summer no doubt play a role in this), but most F-line riders appear to be people who otherwise would have either taken a private automobile or a taxi. Bottom line, though, the F-line has made it easier and more attractive for people to reach the Wharf. At least part of it.

When people ride into the Wharf area on F-line streetcars, they pass sights they’ve seen or heard of before. Pier 39. Restaurant Row. And, just before the Jones Street terminal, the fishing fleet’s harbor. So, the strong temptation when getting off the streetcar is to walk back to explore these attractions, rather than walking westward. Watch where people go when they get off the F-line cars at the terminal and this pattern becomes visible. Similarly, visitors who start their Wharf visit at Pier 39 and walk westward often stop when they see the F-line terminal at Jones and take the streetcar back downtown, figuring (wrongly) that the end of the line is the end of the attractions. Given this, perhaps it is not so surprising that some attractions in the western part of the Wharf have seen static or declining visitation since the F-line opened.

Back to ‘Plan A’

There’s a little irony in this, because Muni’s original plan for historic streetcar service, dating back to 1979, called for the line to go all the way through the Wharf — past it, in fact, to use the 1914 railroad tunnel to reach Fort Mason Center.

But by the time planning for the F-line extension began in earnest, the originally proposed Fort Mason terminal had been pulled back to the central Wharf area for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was opposition to the whole streetcar concept by some wharf merchants concerned about losing a handful of automobile parking spaces.

reunifyingthewharf-2.jpg

Muni’s H-line ran through Fort Mason from 1914 until 1948, but never connected it directly to Fisherman’s Wharf. The streetcar shelter (left) is still there, as are the buildings, now National Park Service Headquarters for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Bob McVay photo, Walter Rice collection.

Now, wharf merchants unanimously support the F-line and are calling for additional service to handle the demand, which at 23,000 daily riders is way beyond Muni predictions.

Seven years ago, the then-executive director of the Fisherman’s Wharf Merchants Association, Al Baccari (now a member of Market Street Railway’s advisory board) began lobbying to implement Muni’s original plan of streetcar service all the way to Fort Mason. His reasons? The Fort Mason Center area had grown steadily in popularity through its mix of performing arts venues, galleries, and exhibition space, to attract more than 1.5 million visitors annually, despite no direct Muni connection to the Wharf or Downtown. Many of those Fort Mason visitors, Baccari reasoned, would take an attractive streetcar to get there, stopping to eat or shop at the Wharf on the way. The Wharf would also gain a quick attractive connection to Fort Mason’s ample affordable meeting space, helping its hotels attract more conference business.

That spark of interest from Wharf merchants was enough to rekindle the proposal. The National Park Service, as part of a park master plan, had been reserving the abandoned — but intact — 1914 railroad tunnel between the foot of Van Ness Avenue and Fort Mason Center for rail transit. The Park Service also saw how attractive streetcar service would provide a pollution-free alternative for visitors to reach its San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, enabling children and families from all over the Bay Area to reach the park easily on public transit. It would also give them the ability to expand visitor capacity without having to expand parking. This too, helps merchants in the western Fisherman’s Wharf area.

Rebalancing Wharf Transit

The extension has the important benefit of reunifying the pieces of Fisherman’s Wharf by rebalancing transit access between its eastern and western portions. After studying several possible east-west alignments of the extension, Beach Street was selected as the route for environmental and historic preservation reasons. Among other advantages, this allows the placement of streetcar stops in both directions directly opposite the Hyde Street cable car turntable, providing a mini-transit hub to visitors wishing explore the Wharf area. The streetcar tracks alone provide a clue to visitors getting off the cable cars that there’s something to see where the tracks lead.

reunifyingthewharf-3.jpg

The extension would run in both directions from this point on Beach Street at Leavenworth, westward into the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, enlivening the streetscape in the western Wharf while circulating more visitors among its attractions.

Going east from Hyde, the tracks pass The Cannery and the foot of Columbus Avenue, gateway to North Beach, and then continue on Beach to connect to the existing F-line track at Jones. (Coming west on Jefferson from the current Jones Street terminal, the extension would go west to Leavenworth, then swing one block south to meet the eastbound line at Beach.)

Going west from Hyde, the extension’s track reaches Ghirardelli Square and the Maritime Museum, now undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation by the National Park Service. Indeed, a key reason for such strong support of the extension by the Park Service is the exposure streetcar riders will get to the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (including the Maritime Museum, Aquatic Park, the Hyde Street Pier’s historic ships, and Municipal Pier).

Along with the tracks, the streetcar extension will bring the existing F-line’s upgraded streetscape to the western Wharf on the streets it follows, including ornamental streetlights/trolley wire supports and passenger boarding areas. This further reunites the Wharf area visually.

Moving Forward

Market Street Railway has been closely involved with the extension planning process since it began, serving as an advocate and facilitator through a role on the technical advisory committee created by the National Park Service, which is leading this phase of the project.

An Environmental Impact Statement is underway and once a draft is published, public comment will open to take feedback. Though it has been slow, the project continues to progress.

Earlier expected to be operated as an extension of the forthcoming E-Embarcadero line running along The Embarcadero from Mission Bay to Fisherman’s Wharf, Muni now considers it possible that rider demand would cause the extension to be operated as part of the more frequent F-line instead, with the E-line terminating at Jones Street. (Either way, both the E and F lines would operate between Jones Street and the Ferry Building.) Further study, public comment, and operating experience will inform the ultimate operating decisions.

Whatever the operating details, a vintage streetcar extension would clearly help reunite Fisherman’s Wharf in addition to its many benefits to the National Park Service, which has funded the studies and would fund much of the project construction as well. The core construction costs are estimated at around $30 million, not counting contingency, plus $10 million for a seismic retrofit of the tunnel, which is planned to be funded separately. Five million dollars of the extension project has already been funded; additional funding is being sought from sources that do not conflict with such Muni priority projects as the Central Subway. Depending on funding availability, the extension could be carrying passengers by 2014.

As of 2010 planning work continues slowly, but steadily, despite SFMTA budget troubles. Market Street Railway will continue advocating for this and other historic transit projects with the support of our members.

Share
39 Comments on Reunifying the Wharf, Extending the F-line to Fort Mason
Share

Muni Streetcar No. 1051 Dedicated to Supervisor Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk Dedication onboard Streetcar 1051

We at Market Street Railway is very proud of our work with the SFMTA to honor Harvey Milk with the dedication of PCC streetcar no. 1051. I especially want to thank Dan Nicoletta for his advice, support and use of his photography for the interior informational panels. Dedication ceremony photos by Georg Lester »

The SFMTA press release:

PCC No. 1051 will honor the memory of Milk with permanent exhibit

San Francisco—The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees the Municipal Railway (Muni), joined with its non-profit partner Market Street Railway (MSR) this morning at 17th and Market streets to dedicate historic streetcar No. 1051 to the memory of human rights pioneer and transit advocate Supervisor Harvey Milk. Supervisor Milk was the first San Francisco Supervisor to regularly use a Fast Pass.

Milk served as a strong advocate for the quality of life issues still essential to San Francisco today. His exceptional and enduring contribution to the betterment of public transit in San Francisco will live on as this streetcar travels from Market and Castro to Civic Center, just as he did each day he was in office.

“This rolling classroom will inform Muni customers on the F Market line about Supervisor Milk’s passion for improving Muni and city government in general for all San Franciscans,” said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr. “This is a meaningful way to help visitors and residents appreciate this pivotal civic leader.”

“Harvey Milk’s legacy in the human rights movement is well known, and we wanted to draw additional attention to his efforts to improve Muni and make San Francisco a better place to live,” said MSR Board of Directors President Rick Laubscher. “We call the streetcars moving museums and this car will serve as a dynamic presentation of San Francisco history.”

The historic streetcar displays the green and cream livery of the 1970s and is the same Presidents’ Conference Committee (PCC) model that was in service at that time. It was featured in the film “Milk,” which will premiere tonight at the Castro Theatre.

» About Muni Streetcar No. 1051
» PCC Streetcar Makes a Cameo in Harvey Milk Movie

» Harvey Milk Remembered

Share
Comments Off on Muni Streetcar No. 1051 Dedicated to Supervisor Harvey Milk
Share

Ding Dong Daddy: The real story

The scene January, 1945—newsboys at the Ferry Loop screaming headlines about the Battle of the Bulge and MacArthur closing in on Manila, their voices competing with screeching streetcar wheels and boat whistles. Open the paper—San Franciscans on casualty lists every day. Turn to the ads—the hot movie is Meet Me in St. Louis, with Judy Garland singing “Clang clang clang went the trolley.” An instant hit. But many newspaper readers were engulfed in a different part of the paper—the local… — Read More

Comments Off on Ding Dong Daddy: The real story
Share