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Fascinating 1905 San Francisco Street Video

Samuel Staley
January 11, 2010, 9:48pm

A 7 minute video on youtube provides a very revealing glimpse as urban America on the cusp of a major transportation revolution. The video follows a cable car (observe the cable in the center of the screen) down market street in 1905 as horses, carts, pedestrians, early automobiles, and other street cars dodge each other, all apparently without aid of traffic lights or police. It even has kids playing chicken with the cable car!

I couldn't help but notice, however, that bicycles, cars, and even a few horses were faster than the cable car. It was faster than walking, but most other forms of transportation, particularly the mechanical kind, appear to be faster.

The video is worth watching for all 7 minutes, but the first 3 will give you a flavor for daily life on the streets of an American city in the early 20th century.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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