History in Motion

Riding Just Another Bus?

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The history of Muni is a major thread in the story of San Francisco that literally binds the city together in a fundamental way. That history is also a fundamental part of Muni and the SFMTA, from the world-famous cable cars to the many unseen employees who have made those cars and all the other vehicles in our fleets run 24/7/365 through generations of family members. That's why we're so excited to celebrate that history with the people of San Francisco (and all you visitors, too) on Nov. 1 and 2 for an event-filled Muni Heritage Weekend.

Today's throwback gives a glimpse inside the past "lives" of some of the vehicles similar to those that will be showcased during this weekend's events and shows you how they looked when they were just another one of the flocks of vehicles rambling around our city, carrying people to and fro.

Jumping back to 1946, this shot shows off 10 new White Motor Company buses, newer cousins to Coach 042, which will be out this weekend, sporting Muni's Black and Orange livery of the day (nope, we didn't paint them specially for Haloween or to match the Giants).

New White Motor Coaches | August 27, 1946 | D5130
10 New Buses, Harrison St. Bet. 24th & 25th Sts. | August 27, 1946 | D5130

Next up we have a 1913 glamour shot of Streetcar 10, a close relative to Muni's beloved Streetcar 1, which will also be out and about this weekend.  Streetcars 1-20 were built in the Dogpatch District at Indiana and 18th streets by the W.L Holman Co. as the first delivery of cars for the newly formed Municipal Railway. Getting a chance to see one of these cars in person is a real eye opener as to just how massive Muni's early streetcars were.

A Type Streetcar 10 in Geary Carhouse | January 24, 1913 | W1323
A Type Streetcar 10 in Geary Carhouse | January 24, 1913 | W1323

Our last photo catches Marmon Herrington Trolley Coach 843, a sibling of Trolley Coach 776 which will be out running on a special downtown loop route. This photo provides an "everyday" look at one of these coaches as seen in normal operation on the 3 Jackson passing Alta Plaza Park. Seeing Trolley Coach 776 this weekend in its beautifully restored state will really complete the picture of what it was like to ride one of these workhorses back in their heyday.

Marmon Herrington Trolley Coach 843 on 3 Jackson Line | August 17, 1967 | M0149
Marmon Herrington Trolley Coach 843 on 3 Jackson | August 17, 1967 | M0149

Be sure to come out this Saturday or Sunday and bring the whole gang for a real-life throwback to San Francisco's past. Immerse yourself in the experience of riding in one of these truly unique vehicles and just imagine the decades of Muni riders before you who probably never gave a thought to the fact that the bus, streetcar, or cable car they were riding would become preserved as part of our great city's heritage.  

Hey, maybe one day in the future you'll climb aboard a "vintage" Breda light rail vehicle and tell your wide-eyed grandchildren with a twinge of nostalgia in your voice, "I remember riding these trains to work everyday."  If riding old vehicles isn't your cup of tea, we've got a plethora of family freindly activites and events lined up on both days to really showcase Muni's history and future.

If you like these shots, check out more historic photos on the SFMTA Photo Archive website and follow us on Flickr, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram!