Posted by: bj | May 3, 2018

1906 – Video – Cable Cars headed east towards the Ferry Building on Market Street in San Francisco

Cable Cars headed east towards the Ferry Building on Market Street in San Francisco in 1906……………….four days before the big earthquake…………………..112 years ago.

Cable cars (not street cars, on Market Street).  They look the same today but are running on different streets than in this movie.  This film was “lost” for many years. It was the first 35mm film ever that has come to light. It was taken by camera mounted on the front of a cable car as it`s traveling down the street. You feel as if your really there, standing at the front looking down the street, amazing piece of historic film. 

The number of automobiles is staggering for 1906. Absolutely amazing! 

The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there. …. How many “street cleaning” people were employed to pick up after the horses? Talk about going green! 

Great historical film!       

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the Great California Earthquake of April 18th 1906 and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing, but true! 

No wonder there had to be laws created to regulate driving habits. This is insane. Good thing they couldn’t go very fast. 

Look at the hats the ladies were wearing and the long dresses. Some of the cars had the steering wheels on the right side, I wonder when they standardized on the left? Sure was still a lot of horse drawn vehicles in use. Mass transit looked like the way to get around.. Looks like everybody had the right of way. 

Perhaps the oldest “home movie” that you will ever see!



  1. You find such wonderful things to post, Bob, and I always enjoy them!  Thanks.

    • Thanks Terry.
      It’s nice to know some one appreciate s this stuff

      Best. Bob.

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