When I wrote on the aesthetics of streetcars earlier this year, I didn’t realize that San Francisco hadn’t simply conserved some of their streetcars but, in fact, chose to maintain many different types of historic streetcars from cities across the country. I was told that these run specifically along Market Street and loop near the San Francisco Ferry Building. I snapped these photos when I arrived back in the city on the ferry the other day. There are many different types: I noticed streetcars with origins as varied as Detroit and St. Louis, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, and of course San Francisco among others.
I particularly lined the gun-metal gray of the Philadelphia streetcar at the top, which I snapped near Fisherman’s Wharf. I like it not only because I think it’s beautiful—as fitting for Philadelphia as a dramatic black and yellow is for sunny San Francisco—but also because it dates to 1938, and that’s the same period that my little 14 year old grandmother was boarding perhaps this particular streetcar on her way to Chestnut Hill Academy in high school.
The past is never dead. It’s not even past.