Tales from the Grip: Maybelle the cable car

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About a year or so ago, I was heading inbound on Powell Street & California when a little girl and her mother got on my car. They were locals, out for an evening of cable car joyriding. The mother turned to me and said, “We’ve been riding the cars all day, and we’ve given them all names. What is this cable car’s name?”

I usually have an answer to most questions, even (especially) the blatantly stupid/smart-alecky ones, but this one had me floored.

There’s a charming children’s book called Maybelle the Cable Car, written in 1947, that tells the story of the fight to save the cars from “progress”, i.e. extinction. The heroine of the book is Maybelle, a Powell-Mason cable car.

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