The expansion of public transit meant everything to quality of life for most people in SF in the first half of the twentieth century: where you could work, live, or take your family for a Sunday outing. The streetcar system, running on tracks radiating from downtown, was the backbone of the system. Then in 1917 Municipal Railway initiated its first bus service, which went through Golden Gate Park and out Irving Street into the Avenues.
In 1929 this route was combined with another line then running in Westwood Park, which created Muni bus no.1, the first real cross-town line. It ran from Edna Street and Monterey Blvd, over Miraloma and Portola Drives, stopping at Forest Hill Station, going through Golden Gate Park, and ending at Fulton and 10th Avenue.
About 1934. A mother and child at Forest Hill Station, taking the no.1 bus. Photo courtesy SFMTA, cropped from A4598. http://sfmta.photoshelter.com.
From the 1930s on, kids and families in Sunnyside could get out to Golden Gate Park – avoiding the long trip downtown on the Streetcar No.10 and then out again on another streetcar. In ten more years, there would be many more buses cutting across town in all directions, but this one was the first.
Unlike track lines, bus routes were flexible; Muni adjusted the route frequently, changing to accommodate needs. By 1940, this bus was serving the newly built San Francisco Junior College (soon to be City College of San Francisco) just south of Sunnyside.
The no.1 line had also been extended earlier to California Street north of the Park.
There were changes in the vehicles over the years. Here’s a glamour shot of a newly purchased model for the no.1 line in 1940–also meant to display the new uniform. Note alarmingly shortened necktie held down by a length of chain.
In 1941 there was another new make of bus running on the line. And the uniform tie appears to have returned to a more normal length.
After 1941, the track-bound no.10 streetcar on Monterey was transitioned to a bus line, and combined with the no.1 bus. The new no.10 Monterey bus line ran from the same end point on California St, over the hill and along Monterey, and then up Cortland to Bayshore. See map below for route.
Parts of this route are now covered by the 43-Masonic, the 23-Monterey, 44-O’Shaughnessy, and 24-Divisadero buses.
- Eric Fischer’s Transit Maps: https://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/sets/72157622642861802
- SFMTA’s incomparible transit photo collection: http://sfmta.photoshelter.com
- The book that made it possible to follow the changes in the line and date the bus vehicles in the photos: John McKane and Anthony Perles, Inside Muni, Interurban Press, Glendale CA, 1982. https://books.google.com/books?id=YClSAAAAMAAJ