Photo of the (Past) Moment: 7-line Detour

Streetcar Track Construction at Lincoln Way and 36th Avenue Looking West | December 1, 1931

Streetcar Track Construction at Lincoln Way and 36th Avenue Looking West | December 1, 1931

SFMTA has been posting some wonderful photos from their Archives on their blog.  We especially liked this one, which we’d never come across before. The text identifies it as Lincoln Way and 36th Avenue in 1931, with no further explanation.

Which made us curious. Especially about that obvious track detour for the 7-Haight and Ocean streetcar line, which comes back onto Lincoln Way a block farther west.

We found this blurb on a Tumblr posting four years ago by the Department of Public Works, accompanying a different photo of Sunset Boulevard (which is situated between 36th and 37th Avenues) in 1931.

An extensive program of Street and Boulevard work utilizing unemployed workers was established by the City of San Francisco and employed by the  Bureau of Engineering.  These workers assisted in many street and roadway improvement projects including the development of Sunset Boulevard, which traversed the undeveloped sand dunes near Ocean Beach.  The construction of Sunset Boulevard stimulated public activity in the region adjacent to the work, spurring a building spree in the area.

Other sources confirm that Sunset Boulevard was built in 1931, but we hadn’t known it was a Depression-era job creation project. Our search didn’t determine whether Market Street Railway, which operated the 7-line, was asked to pay for the detour itself, or whether the city underwrote it. Afterward, the tracks ran across the new bridge constructed to carry Lincoln Way over Sunset, until the 7-line closed in 1948.