On a recent trip to the new Candlestick Park flea market, I came across some black and white photos of old San Francisco streetcars.
Special thanks to Richmond District historian John Freeman and transportation history expert Jack Tillmany who provided the history behind these transportation relics.
Do you recognize the intersections where cars 665 and 967 are pictured? Thanks to our historians and commenters, we’ve identified all of them.
So would you rather ride around in these or stick with today’s MUNI? 😉
A today shot of the the intersection of 32nd Avenue & California where the streetcar was photographed.
A C California streetcar, eastbound on California at 32nd Ave. The vehicle itself is the former #265 from the Sutter line before the Market Street Railway and Muni merger in 1944.
The C was a pretty straight forward route, running from the Ferry Building along Market to Geary, west on Geary to 2nd Avenue, then north two blocks to California, terminating at 32nd and California (the carbarn was on the property at 32nd & Clement that will soon become a CVS Pharmacy and Fresh & Easy grocery).
Jack Tillmany dates the photo from 1949, probably between March and July. You’ll notice on the route sign it lists the Marine Hospital which is now the Presidio Landmark apartments inside the gate at 15th & Lake. It was originally a hospital for merchant seamen, later becoming the Public Health Hospital. All the locations listed on the sign were not direct stops, but could be reached with a short walk from the car’s stops.
A today shot of the intersection of Geary & 37th Avenue where the streetcar was photographed.
The three stacked windows in the streetcar photo are on the building in the today shot
whose windows are obscured by the tree.
The photo of car 967 as a #1 streetcar was likely also taken in 1949, sometime between March and July. Tillman guesses it is either pictured on outer Geary (it ran from 33rd Avenue to 48th Avenue) or California somewhere between Parker and Arguello.
The #1 ran from the Ferry Building, up Market to Sutter, then west to Presidio Ave. where it turned north to California St. as far as Presidio Avenue, where it went a block south to Euclid. At Arguello, the #1 went the half block to Clement, then all the way out Clement to 33rd Ave, where it turned south to Geary, and followed Geary to Pt. Lobos, then to the waiting station above Sutro Baths. It was converted to a bus line on July 3, 1949.
A today shot of the intersection of Oak and Broderick where the streetcar was photographed.
#1671 was part of the post-quake order from the St. Louis Car Company, delivered in the Fall of 1906 and into 1907. They had a reputation as some of the smoothest running cars in the fleet. I think the one pictured is the old #20 car of the Market Street Railway Co. The photo was most likely taken in the 1920s; the car in the photo is parked outside its barn, which was Oak and Broderick.
The route from downtown started at the S.P. Depot at Third and Townsend, via Townsend, Fourth, Ellis, Hyde, O’Farrell (outbound, Ellis inbound), Divisadero, Oak (outbound, Page inbound) and ending at Stanyan/Golden Gate Park. So it never ran in the Richmond District, except for the first 10 years it ran across the park to the Richmond side.
The route started service on April 29, 1906, a little over a week after the flames were extinguished. It used to continue south along Stanyan, then turned on Lincoln Way almost to the beach, across the park to terminate at La Playa and Balboa. In 1916, they created the #7 line, which came out Haight and around the Park to the Beach, so the #20 was cut back to terminate at Stanyan.