Our friends at Streetsblog San Francisco unearthed a wonderful photo by an old friend of MSR, Leroy Demery, Jr. It was taken in 1972 at the L-Taraval terminal at 46th and Wawona, and features Muni’s streetcar No. 1 at the height of its restored glory.
No. 1 had been restored to its original 1912 appearance for Muni’s 50th anniversary in 1962. This included painting the streetcar back into its original gray and red livery with gold striping and lettering (it wore Muni’s green and cream “Wings” livery when originally retired from service in 1951.) It also involved removing the sash in the end section side windows (all Muni’s early streetcars were delivered this way, but these end-section openings were glazed within a few years after passengers rebelled against the cold and drafts).
What’s most striking about this picture, though, is the pristine condition of No. 1, ten full years after its restoration. Plain and simple, that’s because the streetcar was stored under cover (the old Geneva streetcar sheds) when not in use. But within another decade of this shot, the decrepit Geneva sheds were razed and Muni’s streetcars were stored outdoors. It’s obvious the difference covered storage makes.
That’s why Market Street Railway has fought for the last ten years to restore covered storage in Geneva, a project now funded and contracted, with long-delayed construction set to start within a few months. Way too late for No. 1, which, after deteriorating shockingly in the past decade, is now at Brookville Equipment Company in Pennsylvania going through an expensive restoration (all that lead-based paint you see here has now been removed from the car).
At least it will have covered storage when it gets back home. It’s your memberships and donations to MSR that let us carry on the advocacy that is bearing fruit.