A Photo Album of 1970s Cable Car Supporters
by Walter Rice
During the decade of the 1970s several San Francisco events were held
to commemorate and celebrate the city's unique cable car system. August 2,
1973 marked the hundredth anniversary of the first successful experimental
cable car trip (from Jones to Kearny via Clay Street and return). At four
o'clock in the morning on August 2, 1873 with Andrew Smith Hallidie the
inventor operating the car, the cable car was born. On September 1, 1873,
Hallidie's Clay Street Hill Railroad started
revenue passenger service.
Five years later on April 10, 1978 cable car service on
California Street (from Kearny to Van Ness
Avenue) reached the century mark. The 1970s was an era of many
decorated cable cars. Importantly,
who had successfully fought city hall, notably
Mayor Roger Lapham and his cronies, to save in 1947 the city owned
Powell Street cable cars was
receiving the recognition she richly deserved. The details of her epic
battle are chronicled in the article
The Cable Car Lady and the Mayor.
During the 1970s the Pacific Coast Chapters of the Railway & Locomotive
Historical Society was the concessionaire of the
Cable Car Museum for the City
of San Francisco. The Pacific Coast Chapter, under the leadership of its
Chair Fred Stindt, was a driving force behind these special cable car
events. Today, the Museum is under the direction of the
Friends of the Cable Car
Museum, who have continued the tradition of special events to honor
San Francisco's cable cars.
This series of six pictures provides a unique insight to San Francisco
during the decade of the 1970s. The focus is not directly on the cable
cars themselves, but upon the people who were supporters of this unique
transportation asset - including contemporary political and business
We want to thank Art Lloyd for providing these historic photographs.
It is now time to go back to 4 o'clock in the morning of August 2, 1973. -
Fred Stindt, dressed as Andrew S. Hallidie, is re-enacting
the events of a century before. Stindt is at the grip, then a wheel, of Clay Street Hill
Railroad grip car or dummy No. 8, as No. 8 journeys down the Clay Street hill toward
Portsmouth's Square (Kearny Street), in the early morning hours of August 2, 1973. No. 8
had been removed from the Cable Car Museum for the trip and placed on the back of a
flatbed truck. Today, No. 8 is part of the collection of the Friends of the Cable Car
Museum and is on display at the Cable Car Museum.
Fred Stindt, still as Andrew S. Hallidie, is sharing the experience of Hallidie
as the first gripman on the very first cable car trip in 1873. On Stindt's
immediate right is Mayor Joseph Alioto and next to the mayor is "Miss Cable Car
of 1973," Miss. Barbara Davies. On Stindt's immediate left is Bob Gros, Vice
President of PG&E for Public Relations. Other individuals are unidentified.
The date is July 19, 1973, and Powell Street Cable Car No. 1 built as the "Centennial Car"
has just been presented to the people of San Francisco. No. 1 was completed on May 2, 1973,
with the roof and seats from first No. 506, a Carter Bros. car. In 1973 Powell Street
cable cars were painted green and cream, the then standard Muni paint scheme. No. 1,
however, was painted in the maroon and cream colors of the Powell Street Railway,
the original operator in 1888 of the Powell Street cable cars. Pictured in front of
No. 1 are Fred Stindt, Miss Garbo Wong "Miss Chinatown," Friedel Klussmann "The Cable
Car Lady" and Miss Barbara Davies "Miss Cable Car 1973."
George Rahilly, in early 1974, presented to the Cable Car Museum scale hand-built
models of each type of cable car to run on the streets of San Francisco. Pictured
(left to right) at the model presentation ceremony, are San Francisco Municipal
Railway General Manager Jack Woods, the President of the San Francisco Public
Utilities Commission Welton Flynn, Fred Stindt Chair of the Pacific Coast Chapter
of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society, Friedel Klussmann and George
Rahilly. Many of these classic models can be viewed today at the Cable Car Museum.
Powell Street cable car No. 25, built by the Ferries & Cliff House Railway circa 1890
and extensively rebuilt by Muni in 1976, has been specially decorated, March 3, 1976.
Participating in the decoration ceremony is Fred Stindt, Miss San Francisco, Mayor
George Moscone and happy Friedel Klussmann who made such events possible.
The then Cable Car Museum staff with Mr. And Mrs. Fred Stindt display a cake
honoring the 100th anniversary of cable cars on California Street (Kearny to Van
Ness Avenue), April 10, 1978. An interesting note is that in 1978 the featured
cable car was No. 60, a 1907 product of Hammond. In 2003 for the
twenty-fifth anniversary of the California Street cable car the featured car was
also No. 60, however,
now No. 60 was a brand-new Muni built No. 60 that entered revenue service that February
replacing the Hammond No. 60.
This certificate was issued at the centennial celebration in Portsmouth Square on 02-August-1973.
Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved.
The San Francisco Chronicle issued this certificate to people who participated in a walk
along the route of the Clay Street Hill Railroad on 05-August-1973. Mrs Doss wrote a popular
Sunday column about walking. Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved.
Mayor Joe Alioto and the San Francisco Cable Car Centennial Committee issued this invitation to
the people of the Cable Car Division to celebrate the centennial at a picnic in Golden Gate Park
Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved.
Hughes Airwest placed this car card advertisement on cable cars during the centennial. It is made to look like late-19th Century
(Source: Hughes Airwest poster, 1974, SFO Museum Collection, Gift of the William Hough Collection, 2006.010.011)
All rights reserved.