No traffic lights on Market Street!


No stop signs, either. Just an amazing collection of horses, cars, trolleys and -- yes! -- bicycles crowding the city's main drag, just four days before the 1906 quake. Check out the footage here. 

Bicycles sharing the street with cars (and also horses, and people who just run right out in front of traffic), police foot patrols, multi-modal transportation ... good times. It's great film, and fun to watch.

From the email Larry Fahn, former Sierra Club president sent me:

This film, originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them and when the plates were issued!).. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing but true!



This is one of my favorite videos in recent memory, second only to Bad Hotel. I really love the music, and the footage is amazing. The streets are so vibrant and alive.

Posted by Guest Gabriel on Jun. 20, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

I think you left out the most amazing part of the video-- all the PEOPLE in the street. Legally. Because at that time, it was considered inapprorpriate to threaten the safety of another road user, so people could walk freely without fear of being run-over by cars or horses.

Unfortunately, that all changed once the motorist rights organizations made up 'jaywalking' and starting paying the Boy Scouts to shame people for 'getting in the way' of fast-moving deadly cars.

...and now, humans on the street are harassed and intimidated by drivers and people think it's acceptable to travel at 30+ MPH on city streets endangering people on foot and bike.

(spam filters aren't letting me link it, so google 'In Defense of Jaywalking' and read the Slate article... )

Posted by mcas on Jun. 21, 2010 @ 12:43 pm

You can view this and many other intersting histocial films at the SF history dept. at the main public library.

If you watch the entire film, you will see the same half dozen cars driving round and round the trolley. This was done to make SF look more bustling, cosmopolitan, and industrial to look more attractive.

Posted by Barton on Jun. 23, 2010 @ 9:02 am