View Full Version : A Trip Down Market Street in 1906

16 October 2010, 0803
I think that I had previously posted this link to an old movie showing a cable car in San Francisco moving down Market Street in San Francisco, from 8th Street to the Ferry Building on the previous El Moto board:


At the time no one knew exactly when the film was taken. Last night on the KGO TV news it was reported that a local film historian researched this question and determined that the film was taken on April 14, 1906, just 4 days before the great earthquake, by the Miles Brothers Film Company. As it turns out it was sheer luck that this film survived. The film company just happened to be the only movie producers in San Francisco that had an office on both the West and East coasts. They made the film four days before the 'quake, developed it and sent the film to their New York office the day before the disaster. That is how it survived. If they had not sent the flim off when they did, we would never have been able to see what life on this busy street looked like over 100 years ago, as after the quake the Marshall Film Company offices in San Francisco were toast.

The historian even managed to find out who was driving one of the automobiles that was traveling in front of the trolley car in the movie by tracking down its license plate. It was a fellow by the name of Jan Anway, who died in Oakland during 1935. The 4 minute news report was shown on KGO TV news (channel 7 in San Francisco) at about 6:50 pm on Friday, October 15. If you want to see the newscast you can go to their web site and track it down.

Every time that I watch this movie I am struck how much things have changed in 100 years and also how much drivers and pedestrians in San Francisco have not. :rolleyes: It is also interesting to see the mix of the different types of vehicles on this street. In those days you had to watch where you stepped or you might step on a "road apple". Nowadays you still have to watch where you step as you might trip over someone sleeping on the sidewalk.

16 October 2010, 1327
Continuing with the historical theme, at the same site is a movie showing a trip through Barcelona, Spain, in 1907. Note the electric trolley cars in the movie. It looks like most of the people in the city rode bicycles or walked.


Now here is some practical electrical advice from around the same time: According to the auto section of my newspaper, at the dawn of the automobile age, drivers were advised to test the strength of their car's batteries by licking the terminals. Receiving a shock meant that the battery was in good shape. I wonder if that advice applied to the batteries of the electric cars of the era?

17 October 2010, 1340
Great films.
I was born and raised in "the City", you are right about how little drivers and pedestrians have not changed.