Market Street Movie, Shot 105 Years Ago Today

It was on (or very close to) April 14, 1906 that the Miles Brothers, early San Francisco commercial filmmakers, bolted a hand-cranked camera to the front of a United Railroads cable car and created one of the longest “dolly shots” in film history, a 12-minute nonstop ride down Market Street between Eighth Street and the Ferry Building.
It is an astonishing piece of history. We know the date of the filming (which was previously believed to be in 1905) because of the relentless sleuthing of film historian David Kiehn of Niles (his museum is well worth a weekend visit). David’s detective work, along with film preservation efforts by San Franciscan Rick Prelinger, were featured on CBS’ *60 Minutes* last fall. That story also included an interview with Market Street Railway President Rick Laubscher on the social and political context of what’s seen on the film. We offer what we believe is the only narrated version of this film, now 105 years old, for free viewing at our San Francisco Railway Museum (77 Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building, open daily except Mondays 10-6). We also offer it for sale on DVD at the museum and on our online store. Here’s an excerpt from that narrated version.