Cable Car Museum

Interesting
This weathered brick building on the steep north slope of Nob Hill offers an up-close look at the nerve center of San Francisco's renowned cable-car system, the only one of its kind in the world. Besides serving as a powerhouse and car-storage barn, the structure houses a unique history museum.On the upper level, a balcony overlooks the cable-car mechanism. Motors hum and giant wheels called sheaves rotate, powering continuous loops of cable for the system's three lines. Instructive panels affixed to the balcony railings and a video presentation (16min) explain how the system works. Historical displays tell the story of the cable cars from their invention, through their late-19C heyday, to the present. Other exhibits include historic photos, rudimentary hand tools and public transportation memorabilia. Among the treasured pieces is Car No. 8, only survivor of the Clay Street Hill Railroad, San Francisco's first cable-car line, which began operation in 1873. The car had been shipped to Chicago for the 1893 World's Columbian Exhibition and not returned; it thus fortuitously escaped the 1906 fire.On the lower level, a small viewing area offers a glimpse of the sheave room where the thick steel cables enter the building before being routed up to the main sheaves.

Useful information

Address:

Mason Street 1201, 94108 San Francisco

Phone:

+1 415-474-1887

Opening hours

[daily except Bank Hols 10am-6pm; Oct-Mar: 10am-5pm]

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