In the wee hours of Sunday morning, May 16, 1954, several hundred San Franciscans gathered at California and Hyde Streets. They weren’t late-night shopping at Trader Joe’s, but rather were protesting what was then happening to the previous occupants of that property–cable cars.
The O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line was the last complete cable car route built in San Francisco, opening in 1891. By rule, anytime a new cable car line crossed an existing one, the cable of the new line had to be routed beneath the older line’s cable.That meant that operators gripping the new line had to drop (“let go”) their cable at such crossings. The O’Farrell, Jones & Hyde line had 22 cable drops on a round trip. That’s why this 1901 poem by Gellet Burgess says “You are apt to earn your wages, on the Hyde Street Grip.”
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