Muni’s centennial officially kicked off this morning with the rededication of streetcar No. 1 at our San Francisco Railway Museum. Since we were involved in the action, hosting VIPs at the museum and speaking at the event, we’re glad our good friends at Muni Diaries shared the news quickly. The event combined speeches to an audience of several hundred invited guests in a tent opposite the museum and an inaugural ride on Car 1, with ridership limited for security reasons. (Though the venerable flagship of the fleet was made available to guests for a ride to Pier 39 right after the inaugural ride.)
Couple of notes:
Mayor Ed Lee reprised the role of predecessors starting with “Sunny Jim” Rolph by operating the car along Market from Steuart to Eighth Street. He showed a steady hand on the controller and an excellent touch on the air brake for a first timer. Of course, he had a great teacher in operator Angel Carvajal, who stood attentively by.
Mayor Lee also got some tips from a veteran “motormayor,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, who operated a variety of cars on Trolley Festival opening days in the 1980s, including the open top Blackpool “boat tram.” (She said she hoped it was still in the fleet. “Yes, Senator, you bet!”) Around Fifth Street, Mayor Lee offered the controls to the Senator, who said, “Thanks, Ed, but that’s the Mayor’s job!”
Sen. Feinstein (on platform) graciously agreed to serve as honorary chair of Muni’s Centennial Committee. Photogs snap away at this group shot of committee members, including MSR President Rick Laubscher (next to the Senator). Mayor Ed Lee (at left on platform was joined by SFMTA head Ed Reiskin and Board Chair Tom Nolan (flanking Sen. Feinstein at street level) in leading today’s Mun’s Centennial kickoff.
Senator Feinstein showed why she has always been one of the classiest elected officials (and people) around, using her remarks to spread the credit around for the F-line when all who are closely involved know it wouldn’t have happened without her strong advocacy and constant championing.
Sen. Feinstein told a great story about riding the ORIGINAL F-line (F-Stockton that is) when she was just a tot. “We lived in a flat on Fillmore near Beach Street back then. I would get on the F-car [at Chestnut] and ride it through North Beach to 450 Sutter. [Her dad was a doctor.} I hadn’t learned to read yet, and had to ask the conductor which was the right street.”
We’ve heard countless stories from Muni riders that have some similarity to the Senator’s; it’s just another reminder of how many lives Muni has touched — and of the days when a small girl’s parents felt safe letting her ride Muni on her own.
By the way, if you haven’t had the chance to peruse the many stories about Muni history on this site, click on the “blog” tab at the top of the page, choose “History Spotlight” on the tabs underneath it, and click on titles that catch your fancy. And to see a truly funny story about Dianne Feinstein’s first encounter with a rail fan, click here.