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History in Motion

Panoramas from the Past – Long Lost Transit Facilities

Thursday, May 24, 2018

This week we're bringing out a few of the rarer gems from the thousands of photos in the SFMTA Photo Archive-- panoramic views of long-lost transit facilities.

These two panoramas were stitched together from scans of original negatives taken with large-format cameras. Each portion of these images was taken in a separate shot, with the photographer carefully aligning the compositions to allow them to be viewed together later.

Panoramas from the Past – Long Lost Transit Facilities
This wide-angle view of 24th & Utah Car House was taken in 1904 from the southwest corner of 24th and Utah Streets.

The shot above shows a facility originally known as 24th and Utah Car House, a major streetcar repair and storage center for the United Railroads/Market St. Railway Co. Built in 1903-04, this building occupied the block bounded by 24th, Utah, 23rd, and San Bruno Ave. in Potrero Hill. Eventually, it was converted into a bus garage, and it finished out its days serving as Muni's track maintenance division. In the 1980s, it was razed to make way for a parking structure for SF General Hospital.

Panoramas from the Past – Long Lost Transit Facilities
A 1948 panoramic taken on large, 8x10 inch negatives of the California Street Cable Car Barn on California and Hyde Streets in Nob Hill.

This shot shows another long-lost relic of San Francisco's transit history, the California Street Cable Car Company's headquarters. Located on the southwest corner of California and Hyde Streets, this facility housed the winding machinery, car repair and storage, and offices of the company until the company merged with Muni in 1952. After Muni consolidated the cable car system and all operations to the facility at Washington and Mason Streets (still in operation today), this building was demolished in the 1960s for a Cala Foods grocery store (today, a Trader Joe's store).

Be sure to check out more historic photos on the SFMTA Photo Archive website and follow us on Instagram!