San Francisco, 1906

A friend of mine sent me this video recently because she thought I’d like it – she was right. Normally I don’t post things here that aren’t TriMet or MAX related, but I’m making an exception in this case because I think this is fascinating.

In April of 1906 (often incorrectly attributed to 1905), just days before the great earthquake, the Miles brothers shot video out of the front of a San Francisco cable car traveling down Market Street. The footage of this survived because they’d shipped the film to New York – everything else in their studio was destroyed in the earthquake.

(music is not mine, video is public domain)

I think this is amazing, not just from a historical perspective (especially considering that days after this footage was shot, the city would be devastated by the earthquake) but in a way by how much things haven’t changed. Lots of cars turning left in front of the streetcar;  a cyclist cuts in front of the streetcar, stays there for a bit, then ducks back out; people walking *everywhere*… Forget about 1906 San Francisco, I could’ve written that sentence about what I saw on the Portland Mall just this past week! I guess it’s true, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

It also makes me wonder if any of the videos I’ve recorded would ever be of any historical interest 100 years from now. Or Al M‘s, since he has me easily beat as far as sheer volume of recorded transit-related footage goes.


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