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Page title is "Cable Cars." Image: Two employees posing with Haight Street cable car #158 of the Market Street Railway.

Haight and Stanyan circa 1887. Two employees posing with Haight Street cable car #158 of the Market Street Railway. OpenSFHistory / wnp37.01111

Cable cars debuted in San Francisco in 1873 with the launch of the Clay Street Hill Railway, and more transportation lines soon crisscrossed the city. With the new lines now reaching the borders of sprawling Golden Gate Park, it was more accessible to people from all over the city, and the pedestrian park entrance at Stanyan and Haight became a popular meeting place and center of activity. Many middle-class residents, drawn to this bustling corridor, were attracted to the nearby fashionable Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, with its accessible transportation and proximity to the park. 

The cable car and street car lines eventually were replaced by newer forms of transportation, including the increasingly popular automobile. In the 1920’s Muni buses were introduced to complement the city’s mass transit fleet and ended up becoming San Francisco’s main mode of public transportation. The Stanyan and Haight corridor is today serviced by Muni bus lines 33 and NX.

Stanyan & Haight, Dec 10, 1944, looking south. OpenSFHistory / wnp27.3736

Documentation by cable car companies and other transportation agencies over the years provides us with a photographic history of track repairs and models of streetcars. These photos also provide an intriguing collection of details of daily life at this active intersection. Viewers can note the changing fashion of bystanders, the evolving models of cars driving past and parked in photo backgrounds, and the coming and going of businesses and buildings. In a photo taken in 1906, earthquake refugees in bowler hats and long skirts queue in a bread line down Stanyan, and in another taken three and a half decades later women in pants wait in a crowd to board a streetcar.


Transportation lines then and now delivered nature-seekers right to the park's doorstep, and also dropped guests to hotels on nearby corners. In the late 1960’s and 70’s traffic was stopped as the same streets where cable cars once ran were filled with protesters against the Vietnam War.

References/further reading




  4., “The Vietnam Summer… of Love”




Learn more

Below: Haight and Stanyan, October, 1943. View west Haight between Shrader and Stanyan. OpenSFHistory / wnp32.0057

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