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, Freidel Klussmann, 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 leaders.

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. - WER

Fred Stindt/CSH 8
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
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.
Car One
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
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.
Car 25
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.
CSC 100
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 hundredth and 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.
CSC 125
Besides a brand new California Street cable car No. 60, the 2003 125th anniversary of cable cars on California Street continued the tradition of a celebration cake.

Centennial Certificate This certificate was issued at the centennial celebration in Portsmouth Square on 02-August-1973. Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved.

Walk Certificate 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.

Picnic Invitation front Picnic Invitation back 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 on 12-August-1973. Joe Lacey collection. All rights reserved.

Hughes Airwest ad Hughes Airwest placed this car card advertisement on cable cars during the centennial. It is made to look like late-19th Century ad. (Source: Hughes Airwest poster, 1974, SFO Museum Collection, Gift of the William Hough Collection, 2006.010.011) All rights reserved.

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Last updated 01-December-2018