Cliff House Project

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Transportation
 

 
Ferries & Cliff House Rail Road
Adolph Sutro begins 1888, then sells to private firm before completion
 


SF Public Library Collection
 


SF Public Library Collection
(California St. near 6th Ave)

 


 


Adolph Sutro's Railroad Streetcars
Began service to Sutro Baths in 1896
 

 


Streetcar passing Merrie Way, 1898
SF Public Library Collection
 


SF Call Feb 2 1896 - Sutro RR opening


 

 

 


 


United Railroad Streetcars
Extended to Lands End in 1905
 


Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection



Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection
 


Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection
(Reverse: "March 1906)
 


Photo courtesy of Dennis O'Rorke

 


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection

Pictured are two different streetcar types. On the right is the #1 California Street Car which provided regular passenger service around Land's End to end of the line near Sutro Baths. Along side it is the Observation Car California with sight-seeing passengers having their photo taken. The Golden Gate and the California left from the Ferry Building 2 to 4 times a day (depending on tourist volume) with sightseeing groups and a "lecture en route," stopping at various points of interest, as far as the Cliff House, then returning to the Ferry Building for a round trip of 50 cents. These streetcars ran the service from 1905 until about 1917, but were superseded by the gasoline tour busses.

 

This photo was taken in 1908 at the Lands End station along the cliff portion of the #1 California Street line. The sightseeing car at right is parked at the same place as the two pictures above.  The station building itself was a combination restroom and car depot, and also held a gift store and snack concession run by a family named Harris.  Besides the regular sightseeing streetcars that visited the area, there were two Private Party Cars, the Sierra and Hermosa (later renamed Golden Gate). These cars could hold up to 40 passengers and could be hired for day-time picnics or evening theater dates, sometimes including a trip with friends to the Cliff House area. The automobile's popularity eclipsed the Private Party Cars and United Railroad phased out the operation by 1915.

Contributed by John Martini & John Freeman

 

 


Courtesy of Dennis O'Rorke
 

 


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection

 


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection

 


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection

 


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection

 


Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection


 


Postmarked:  Nov 17, 1920

 


Left to right in the car are Ruth Woods, Henrietta Woods, Henry Woods, and Ed Smith
Courtesy of the Woods / Gaylord Family collection

 

 


Railroad & Streetcar Timeline
Contributed by John Martini, 11/05

1888 Adolph Sutro starts work on a steam train line to the Heights and Cliff House, but sells out to a private firm before it's completed. This becomes the "Ferries & Cliff House Rail Road" that runs around Lands End. (Locals sometimes call the route simply "The Cliff Line.") The train depot is located at the corner of 48th and Pt Lobos, right across from the main entrance to Sutro Heights. Fare is 5 cents with transfer privileges to connecting streetcars and cable cars.

1894 The Ferries & Cliff House line is bought by the huge Southern Pacific Railroad. (However, the name of the train stays the same.) SP discontinues transfers, so the fare effectively doubles. Infuriated, Sutro decides to build a competing streetcar line called the "Sutro Rail Road." It will offer a 5 cent fare -- and transfers.

1896 Sutro Rail Road opens on February 1st. Its cars run along Clement and Geary Streets and terminate at a large wooden depot near the entrance to Sutro Baths. This terminal, called the Sutro Depot, was adjacent to today's Louie's restaurant. For the next several years, the new streetcars and the aging steam train run in competition to each other.

c1900 A new city-wide streetcar company called the United Railroads (URR) buys both the Ferries & Cliff House steam train line and the electric Sutro Rail Road. The two now run as companion lines, not competition.

1905 The old Ferries & Cliff House steam train around Lands End is converted to an electric streetcar line, which is eventually designated the #1 California Street line. (The old Sutro Rail Road route becomes the #2 Clement Street line.) For the next 44 years, both the #1 and #2 lines terminate in the Sutro Depot.

1921 The old United Railroads are bought by yet another company, the Market Street Railway.

1925 Severe landslides in February destroy large portions of the #1 streetcar tracks, and service around Lands End ceases. The #1 line streetcars continue to run to Sutro's but are re-routed along city streets instead of the scenic cliff route.

1944 SF Municipal Railway buys out the old Market Street Railway, including #1 and #2 lines.

1949 The Sutro Depot burns and MUNI stops all streetcar operations to the Sutro Baths.
 



Tour Buses


1911 Tour Bus
Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection

 

 


Postmarked Jan 22, 1912
Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection

 


Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection
(note the tour guides seat that faced the passengers)

 


Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection
John: "My best guess, based on the number of woman in the bus and the hat styles. was that this was a group of delegates
to the National Teacher's Association in San Francisco in 1911 or for the PPIE in 1915."
(close-up of passengers)
 

 


"Andrew J Gallagher for Supervisor", June 7, 1912

 


Pacific Sightseeing Co, San Francisco Cal, Taken at the Cliff House, July 6, 1912

 


Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection

 


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection


 


"My uncle is one of the soldiers in the front of the car. His name is Jesse Garver of Larned Kansas.
He would be the uncle of my mother (Lucille Marie Garver) which makes him my great uncle.
He is a veteran of the Phillipine Resurrection of 1899, right after the closing of the Spanish American War."
(hover mouse over image)
Robert Joy Of Ellinwood, KS,  9/26/2008

 

This photo is likely from 1915 when there was large crowds attending the PPIE and seeing the sights, including the tour-bus ride to the Cliff House. The vehicle is less stylish and unmarked, unlike the more prominent Pacific Sightseeing Co. busses. The garages are in the background, and no identification sign was used, which suggests a kind of gypsy operation with less clout to be photographed nearer the main building.

Dated 1915
Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection

 

 

 


Dated 1915
Photo courtesy John Freeman Collection

 


c. 1918

 


3rd sailor from left is John Lloyd Webber, about 1918-1919
Submitted by S. Louise Norwood



Courtesy of Fred V. Cooper, Louisa, KY

 


"PACIFIC NO 19"
Image courtesy of Mike Grant

 


"PACIFIC NO 19"
"PACIFIC SIGHTSEEING CO, SAN FRANCISCO CAL., TAKEN AT THE CLIFF HOUSE"
Image courtesy of Mike Grant

 

 

 

 


Reverse: "Picture taken Mar 30 1919 by the Cliff House San Francisco"

 


c. 1921

 


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


John Martini:  "You donít see many views of that line of storefronts between the Cliff House and the Cliff Cafe."
"Acme Ice Cream", "Home Made Cider, Pure & Good", "Sea Lion Arcade", "Cliff Waffle Bakery", "Pacific Sightseeing Co., Parlor Car Tours, San Francisco"
Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


"San Francisco Sight-Seeing Co. Inc. Touring Autos"
Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


"COME AND TAKE A RUBBER ROUND YOURSELF."
Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


California Parlor Car Tours, baggage claim ticket
Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


"PACIFIC SIGHT SEEING CO"
Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


"THE GRAY LINE INC."
Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


Courtesy of Frank Mitchell

 


Shirners from Acca Temple, Richmond, Virginia

"The photo is most likely from 1922. The cloche hats on a couple of the ladies is one tip off to early '20s. The convention was from June 10 to 17th that year. The interesting thing was that the parade was a wash-out. The Shriners still paraded, but an unusual June rain drench the poor paraders. The Shriners returned in 1923 to dedicate the new Shrine Hospital on 19th Avenue, so given the sunny photo, maybe this was the delegation the following year."  - John Freeman, 9-19-2007

 



Reverse:  "On our honeymoon, Nov 1924, Sightseeing bus from San Francisco"


 


Pendant: "Northern Life Seattle"
Courtesy of Joan Burton



Other Transportation


Photo courtesy Darlene Thorne Collection