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Film of Steam Locomotives on the Embarcadero, San Francisco, circa 1920s-30s

  |   History, Mass Transit, Video   |   2 Comments

Came across this file randomly while browsing the Prelinger Archive, which I haven’t done in a while. The footage of longshoremen jockeying cargo on and off ships is a swift check on romanticism and a concrete reminder that, even long ago, industry on a mass scale was what drove almost all of our activity.

I logged a few of the bits that really stood out to me:

  • 3:00 – Steam locomotives navigating Market Street, and cruising along the Embarcardero.
  • 5:00 – Cool aerial footage; Ferry Building with street cars on a circular track in front and a heavy rail locomotive waiting (loading?) on the left; Golden Gate Ferries.
  • 6:50 – I believe this is a quick shot of Dolores Street.
  • 7:40 – Funky, animated relief maps of the area and trade routes, points of interest.
  • 8:55 – Aerial footage of downtown, City Hall and Golden Gate Park.
  • 10:45 – Aerial of the western side of the city; Golden Gate Park, including the bandshell area.

Related book: Historic Photos of San Francisco
From Amazon
From Powell’s

2 Comments
  • Phil Hollenback | Nov 2, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    As someone who lives in an area of San Francisco that has been completely rebuilt in the last 20 years or so (South Beach) it is a real treat to see this old footage.

  • ellie | Nov 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    this is really awesome