Collision at Fillmore and Sutter - an 1897 Newspaper Article from the San Francisco Call
Collected by Joe Thompson

This article, from the San Francisco Call, Sunday, December 12, 1897, describes an accident between a Fillmore Street electric car and a Sutter Street cable car.

collision detail Read an 1897 article about a collision between a Sutter Street cable car and a Fillmore Street electric car: Collision at Sutter and Fillmore (from the San Francisco Chronicle). July, 2022 Picture of the Month.

collision detail Read another 1897 article about the same collision between a Sutter Street cable car and a Fillmore Street electric car: Collision at Sutter and Fillmore (from the San Francisco Examiner). August, 2022 Picture of the Month.

accident headline
accident image
The headline and image from an article in the 12-December-1897 San Francisco Call.

From the San Francisco Call / Sunday, December 12, 1897. Page 7.


Beyond the Control of the Motorman
on a Slippery Grade.


A Sutter Street Trailer Demolished
by a Fillmore Street Car.


Blame For the Accident Laid to the
Employes of Both Railways.

An electric car on the Fillmore-street line crashed into a car on the Sutter-street cable line at the crossing of Sutter and Fillmore streets early last night and several people, passengers on the cars, were injured. The officials of each road claim that the employes of the other were responsible for the accident.

The Fillmore-street car was southbound, and it was coming down the steep grade on the approach to Sutter street at a rapid speed. It was about half-way up the block when a car on the Sutter-street line eastward-bound started to cross the street. Under ordinary circumstances there would have been no danger, as the Fillmore-street car could have been easily controlled, but last night the tracks were slippery, and the motorman was unable to lessen the speed of his car, much less stop it. Before the Sutter-street car could get across the tracks of the crossing line the electric-car crashed into it.

Theodore Peters, the conductor of the Sutter-street car, was standing on the platform of his car when the crash came, and he was thrown off into the street and car as it left the tracks under the force of the collision crushed him against the pavement causing serious injuries to him. His left side was badly bruised and it is feared that he sustained internal injuries. He was taken to his home at 2910 Bush street.

Miss Johanna Dillon, who resides at 2826 California street was a passenger on the cable-car. She was thrown from her seat in the car and dashed to the floor. She was taken to a neighboring residence where medical aid was summoned for her. Her left shoulder was dislocated and she was bruised considerably about the body. She went to the residence of her brother at 363 1/2 Eleventh street.

I. Gilbert of 2112 Sutter street was also a passenger on the cable-car. He, too, was throuwn about in the car and considerably bruised. He suffered most from injuries to his right leg. The passengers on the dummy jumped when they saw that a collision was inevitable and they escaped injury.

There were a number of passengers on the electric-car, but they all escaped receiving serious damage. They, howecver, were considerably shaken up and received some slight bruises. The windows of the car were broken but fortunately the passengers escaped the flying pieces of glass.

The Sutter-street car was in charge of Conductor Peters and Gripman Albert Eckman. The gripman says he did not think there was any danger when he started his car across the tracks of the electric line. The Fillmore-street car was well up the block, but coming toward the car at a rapid rate. He believed the motorman would slacken the speed of his car, as is usual in such cases, but the car seemed to be beyond the control of the man at the brakes and the collision was the result.

F. Reed was the motorman of the electric-car. He blamed the gripman of the cable-car for the accident, but would not give any reasons for his opinion. M. J. Merrifield, the conductor of the car, also blamed the cable-car for the accident.

Hugh Long, who winessed the accident from the street said the electric-car was coming down the street, and when near the crossing there was a report from beneath the car like the crack of a pistol, accompanied by a flash of light, and from the efforts of the motorman he received the impression that the motor of the car had been reversed, but it along with the brakes was not sufficient to check the speed of the car on the slippery rails. Both of the cars were thrown from the tracks and damaged considerably.

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Last updated 01-September-2022