‘Car-o-Grams’: Candrian’s early transit mapping innovation

In 1917, map publisher Herman Anton Candrian (1862-1928) introduced a novel graphical representation of streetcar lines for San Francisco’s transit riders that he called Car-o-Grams. These little glyphs made streetcar data visual and succinct.


1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Pages 86-87. Note copyright. View larger.

Candrian’s company had been publishing city maps with transit routes since at least 1906. Every map had an accompanying pocket-sized booklet that indexed all the streets and gave streetcar information for each.

1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Front cover.

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From Tennis to Housing: The Gennessee Courts

For twenty years there were public tennis courts at the corner of Phelan and Judson Avenues—the only park facility in Sunnyside then. It attracted tennis aficionados from all over, such as these folks visiting from a fancier part of town in 1932.

A group of well-heeled friends at the “Genessee Courts” on 15 April 1932. The house at 1 Gennessee Street can be seen in the background. OpenSFHistory.org wnp26.1268.jpg
Detail from 1938 aerial photo below, showing tennis courts on Judson Ave near Phelan (now Frida Kahlo Way). Maybe the trees were planted to keep the nearby County Jail out of sight. DavidRumsey.com View larger map.

The facility was opened in 1927 with great fanfare—Mayor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph gave the dedication address, and a small army of politicians, as well as Superintendent of Parks John McLaren, gave speeches.   Continue reading “From Tennis to Housing: The Gennessee Courts”

The Sunnyside Powerhouse and San Francisco’s First Electric Streetcar


Sunnyside played an important role in the development of the first electric streetcar in San Francisco. Before the enterprise was initiated in 1890 by streetcar-railway engineer John Wesley Hartzell, with financial backing from millionaire real-estate speculator Behrend Joost, horse-powered and cable-driven streetcars were the norm. Soon the newly introduced technology would power many of SF’s many privately-held transit lines. But the San Francisco and San Mateo Railway was the first electric railroad in the city.

About 1895. Car 30, San Francisco and San Mateo Railway. At Sickles and San Jose Ave. OpenSFHistory.org

Central to the enterprise was the Sunnyside Powerhouse, located on the then unbuilt flatiron-shaped block between Monterey, Circular, and Baden.

Sunnyside Powerhouse
1904. Sunnyside Powerhouse, from Monterey Blvd, looking southeast. Courtesy SFMTA. sfmta.photoshelter.com

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