Photo of the (Past) Moment: Hey, Santa, Where’s Your Nickel?

Once in awhile, people contact us (mistakenly believing our non-profit actually operates the historic streetcars) complaining about strange characters wandering up and down the aisles of the F-line streetcars. We tell them it’s part of our city’s history, and here’s a proof point from 1928. The leather boots suggest a possible refugee from the Folsom Street Fair; the beard suggests a prolonged spell in the wilds of Mendocino, uh, farming. Then there’s that jacket with the puffy cotton belt thingy from who knows where?
The ever diligent conductor from our namesake, Muni’s old competitor Market Street Railway Company, clearly seems to be attempting to block the platform so this disreputable character can’t stroll the streetcar’s aisle harassing respectable passengers. Or, maybe the old guy is just a fare evader. No sense parting with a nickel if you can save it for a cuppa joe at Compton’s Cafeteria (or perhaps a lip warming shot of Muscatel elsewhere in town).
While we haven’t figured out exactly what’s going on here, we thought the image was different enough to make into a greeting card, now offered at our San Francisco Railway Museum in limited quantities. Drop by this season and share some cheer with John, Nigel, or Tammy (depending who’s there). Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at the F-line Steuart Street stop.
And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for our holiday tram, Milan No. 1818, out and about the F-line with lights, garlands, and interior decorations courtesy of our volunteers.