San Francisco streets, then and now

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Above is a San Francisco street scene believed to have been shot in 1906 just 4 days before the earthquake. It was filmed by a camera mounted on the front of a cable car. Below is a modern version of a street filmed from a cable car on Powell Street. It is long, but watching just a random few minutes of it gives the feel for comparison. 

There were a lot more cars in 1906 then I expected, and with no lanes painted or traffic signals the foot, cable cars, horse drawn wagons and autos create a quite creative traffic dance. Then again, without sidewalks and parking along the side of the road the streets in 1906 were quite a bit wider to accommodate the chaos.

I was also struck by the fewer number of women out and about. I suppose most of them were home tending to their homes. Still, it was striking to see how masculine the 1906 crowd was.

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