On December 28, 1912, Mayor James Rolph, Junior stepped onto a streetcar platform at Geary and Kearny Streets. He deposited one of the first 40 nickels to be minted in San Francisco into the farebox and took the controls, piloting the streetcar westward out Geary to Tenth Avenue, to open America’s first publicly owned big city transit system. Here’s a picture of that first run, with the Mayor highballing across Jones Street.
The work took longer than expected — the contract called for delivery in May, but the contractor took great pains to preserve the historic fabric of the streetcar. From initial observation, they did a fabulous job on the appearance of the streetcar. Of greatest importance, of course, is how it runs.
One day short of its 98th birthday, it took its first tests after delivery in the Metro East yard, just running back and forth on a track inside the yard. It will not operate on its birthday proper — hey, you should get that day off! — but there is still talk of a ceremony later this week. We will let you know as soon as we hear anything.
Market Street Railway is working with Muni on its 2012 centennial, where No. 1 will play a central role. Those wishing to volunteer to pitch in on events for the centennial should send us an email here.