Contest: San Francisco Without Cable Cars

by Walter Rice


1947 charter Most of the members of the "Citizensí Committee to Save the Cable Cars" have temporarily deserted their chartered campaign cable car, as it is being turned on the Bay and Taylor turntable, but not Friedel Klussmann (sitting in the center), who is enjoying every moment of her cable car ride. Two days later, November 4, 1947, her joy would be at an apex as the voters would overwhelmingly vote to save the Powell cables. Walter Rice Collection

April 18 marked the hundredth anniversary of the greatest reduction of San Francisco cable car service. Because of the great earthquake and fire of 1906, April 17 proved to be the last day of full cable car service on the United Railroads' heavily traveled Sutter Street, Polk & Larkin Cross-town line (except Pacific Avenue), Market & McAllister, Market & Haight, Market & Hayes, Market & Castro (except between 18th and 26th Streets), Market & Valencia, Jackson Street via Sacramento-Clay, Sacramento-Clay west of Fillmore, and Powell-Jackson west of Steiner Street lines. Also, it was last day for the Presidio & Ferries (Union Street line).

When the city-owned Powell Street cable cars were threatened in 1947, Friedel Klussmann "the Cable Car Lady" evolved a contest centering on the unfinished question: "San Francisco without cable cars would be like ...?" Answers tended to be short and to the point. For example, "Just another city; what a pity!"

2006 Contest: Entrants were asked to complete the same question: "San Francisco without cable cars would be like ...?"

Thanks to the seven people who submitted twelve entries (In the order in which they were submitted):
"... a mall without a Starbucks." - Mike Fong
"...Paris without the Eiffel Tower. " - Jeff Trimble
"...Los Angeles without freeways" - James F. Boylan
"...like a city without Ricearoni. How Phoni!" - Rick Peterson
"...a city with far fewer tourists, more's the pity " - Terry N Taylor
"...a city without its soul " - Terry N Taylor
"...a city with surface gridlock " - Terry N Taylor
"...a city that has a lost its sense of history" - Terry N Taylor
"...a city without a good map of where to go " - Terry N Taylor
"...a city that has lost its romance and mystery " - Terry N Taylor
"...a city without skyscrapers" - SuzAnne Johnson
"..."Chicopee Falls, MA" " - Jay Desroches

Thanks to the three judges: Emiliano Echevarria, Val Lupiz, and Gordon Miller for devoting thought and effort to making a good choice.

Winners:

Cal Cable cover When Steam cover

Grand Prize:

"...a city without its soul " - Terry N Taylor

Terry will receive one copy each of San Francisco's California Street Cable Car; Celebrating a Century and a Quarter of Service, by Walter Rice and Emiliano Echeverria, Harold E. Cox Publisher and a copy of When Steam Ran on the Streets of San Francisco, by the same authors, Harold E. Cox Publisher.

First Place:

"...Paris without the Eiffel Tower. " - Jeff Trimble

Jeff will receive San Francisco's California Street Cable Car; Celebrating a Century and a Quarter of Service.

Second Place:

"..."Chicopee Falls, MA" " - Jay Desroches

Jay will receive When Steam Ran on the Streets of San Francisco


See the original contest page.

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Last updated 01-June-2006