San Francisco cable car lines, 1893

Some people don’t realize that cable cars were at one time a working transit system in San Francisco and not just an amusement ride for tourists. In fact, when I first came to the city I used a cable car for one leg of my commute. The cars cost the same as buses then.

Click on the detail below to see a full map of San Francisco cable car lines in 1893. The original could be better quality. I played with levels and curves to make this detail a bit more legible.

cable car lines in san francisco, 1893

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  1. WOW! You came here in 1893; I never would have guessed. Seriously, I remember when I first came here in the 60’s that I could take the cable car to school (SFAI) and what a thrill it was. Too bad that thrill is now pretty much limited to tourists.

  2. This is really interesting, thanks so much for posting it. I’d love to know more about why these lines weren’t rebuilt after the earthquake.

  3. I think that after the earthquake United Railroads, the street car line, moved in quickly and claimed the routes before cables could be laid.

    Wow, Nancy, you were here in the 1860s!