To every American today, ‘car’ means automobile. Once, though, ‘car’ meant streetcar to most urban Americans. For almost a century in San Francisco, the ‘family car’ ran on rails, not just for commuting or shopping, but for any trip that stretched farther than a few blocks from home. Riding the rails around town wasn’t just a way to get there; it was an enjoyable escape.
Market Street Railway, in collaboration with Muni and the San Francisco Public Library, celebrates the days when the streetcar was just the ticket to experience art, athletics, and the outdoors–a ride to freedom and fun for a nickel–in a new exhibit at the San Francisco Railway Museum entitled Take Me Out.
The exhibit features vintage photos and artifacts of bygone San Francisco destinations served by streetcar, such as Playland, Seals Stadium, Sutro Baths, Fleishhacker Pool, the Fox Theater, and more. An accompanying video mixes vintage motion picture film of San Francisco at the height of its streetcar era with remembrances of men and women who rode the cars to attractions all over town.
The exhibit will run into 2009 at the San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart Street across from the Ferry Building. The Museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10am to 6pm. It’s our intention to update the exhibit with new artifacts as they are made available to us, so if you have memorabilia from any of the locations listed above, or other bygone San Francisco venues that you’re willing to loan us, please call John Hogan at the museum, (415) 974-1948 or email John at email@example.com.