CFAH

A Trip Down Market Street (1905)

Damion Matthews (of Five Star Living Group) tips us off to a youtube link for a short film shot through the window of a cable car rolling down Market Street in 1905.
From Damion, “When I watched this footage, I was struck by the fact that this man with his camera, as he films Market Street, has no idea that in less than a year, everything he filmed would be in ruins…”. We’re just hoping this isn’t some kind of cosmic foreshadowing.
And to be honest, we skipped the youtube viewing (really couldn’t take the soundtrack) and headed straight for the Internet Archive for the original file, reviews, and some great history. A favorite excerpt:

In all, the film shows some thirty cable cars, four horse cars and four streetcars. An interesting feature of the film is the apparent abundance of automobiles. However, a careful tracking of automobile traffic shows that almost all of the autos seen circle around the camera/cable car many times (one ten times). This traffic was apparently staged by the producer to give Market Street the appearance of a prosperous modern boulevard with many automobiles.
In fact, in 1905 the automobile was still something of a novelty in San Francisco, with horse-drawn buggies, carts, vans, and wagons being the common private and business vehicles. The near total lack of traffic control along Market Street emphasizes the newness of the automobile. Granite paving stripes in the street marking ignored pedestrian crosswalks, making the crossing of Market Street on foot a risky venture.

Some things never change.
Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire [archive.org]

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