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Trolley Postcards: San Francisco

Continuing from the ferry terminal to other parts of the City...

The corner of Market, Kearney, and Geary, with Lotta's Fountain in the foreground, the Palace Hotel to the right, and a plethora of Muni and Market Street Ry. streetcars.

Another view featuring the Palace Hotel, and from front to back, a Market Street Ry streetcar, a Muni Car, and an early bus:

Here are two views from the same location, the corner of Powell and Market Streets. Visible in the first view, which looks down towards the ferry building, are the famous four tracks of Market Street whose steady stream of streetcars was for decades known to locals as "the roar of the four".

The Market St. Ry's famous green sides/white front livery is evident in both of these views. Powell St. cable cars were also part of the MSRy system and painted the same way, but while the coloring artist has gotten the white front correct for the car on the turntable the body has been made red.


Robert Townley Collection

Here is a better view of one of the Market St. Ry.'s (note their characteristic shield-shaped emblem) Powell St. cable cars. Judging by the automobiles and overall environment, not to mention the foreground figures in uniform, this picture appears to be from not long before the ultimate merger of the MSRy into the Muni during WWII.

In an earlier, pre-earthquake view, a cable car works its way along Market Street, passing Montgomery Street, "the Wall Street of the West".

Here's a more recent view (60's or 70's) of Market Street, featuring one of Muni's PCC cars in the "green and cream" livery.


Robert Townley Collection

Some of the Market Street Railway's most important lines ran on the City's other major thoroughfare, Mission Street—the successor to the 14 Mission car line, Muni's 14 Mission trolleybus, has been called the most heavily used bus line in the world (and having ridden it many years, I belive it!). In this card, the National Guard Armory at Mission and 14th St. is the background for a classically San Francisco early-day car:

it's California-type design (open ends, enclosed middle section), placement of steps, and skirting are all typical of the City's streetcars in the era before the Iron Monsters.

The farthest flung branch of the San Francisco streetcar system was the Market St. Railway/United Railroad's 40 line to San Mateo. Here, one of the heavy interurban cars used in the early days of the line, and known locally as "big subs", trundles through downtown San Mateo.

This was certainly the classy way to travel when the alternative was a jostling buggy ride!

Market St. Ry. is both the name of a historical streetcar company, merged with the Muni in 1941, and a modern organization which has helped bring historic streetcars to Market St.

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