The Bernal Cut: 1972 and Today

Looking north from the Roanoke/Cuvier footbridge toward the Richland Bridge, in the Bernal Cut. San Jose Avenue below. Many changes over the course of a half-century: well-grown trees; better pedestrian lighting; concrete embankment (left side) replaced with planting; extension of the J-Church through the Cut to Balboa Park Station (1991); separated bike lanes (2017); crosswalk at St Marys (2014); Richland Bridge refurbished (in progress); and large freeway-style signage (1990s?).

Move slider to compare photographs. View larger here. Look at other comparison photographs here.

The Sunnyside Powerhouse: New Photographs

Detail from: Untitled [Sunnyside Powerhouse, San Francisco] 1892c. San Mateo County Historical Association Collection (1990.48). Used with permission and subject to usage restrictions.

Read more about the Sunnyside Powerhouse and the San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway.

To add to the recently revealed photo of the Sunnyside Powerhouse, here are five more images from the same album at the San Mateo County Historical Association, including unseen interior shots from the engine room. They were taken by a photographer from the company that supplied the engines, Risdon Iron Works, on the occasion of the opening of the powerhouse and the new electric streetcar line in April 1892.

These new photos are unmatched by any other known ones of Sunnyside’s lost landmark, all of which date to after the powerhouse ceased to operate in 1901. These show a car house and power plant just constructed, ready to revolutionize San Francisco’s urban railways with the introduction of electricity for propulsion. For the first time, the machinery of the powerhouse engine room can be seen.

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Revealed! New photograph of the Sunnyside Powerhouse

See the rest of these fabulous new photos here.

Thanks to the sharp eye of David Gallagher of Western Neighborhoods Project, this early photo of the Sunnyside Powerhouse has been unearthed from an album at the San Mateo County Historical Association. The association had not identified it, but David recognized Sunnyside’s lost landmark and kindly alerted me.

Untitled [The Sunnyside Powerhouse, San Francisco] 1892c. San Mateo County Historical Association Collection (1990.40.50).
Untitled [Sunnyside Powerhouse, San Francisco] 1892c. San Mateo County Historical Association Collection (1990.40.50). Used with permission and subject to usage restrictions.
The photo was taken, to the best of my estimation, shortly after construction of the powerhouse and car barn was finished in April 1892. That month saw the opening of the pioneering streetcar system, the San Francisco and San Mateo Electric Railway, the first one powered by electricity in the city.

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Sunnyside History in Photos: Places

A collection of photographs of places and things in Sunnyside’s history.

Photos of people in Sunnyside here. Main photo page here.  Do you have a photo to add? Write me.

One of big advertisements that launched the district. SF Chronicle, 26 Apr 1891.
One of big advertisements that launched the district. SF Chronicle, 26 Apr 1891. More maps here.
1904. Sunnyside Powerhouse viewed from the east side near Monterey and Circular. Cooling pool, disused, visible in foreground. Read more about the powerhouse. Courtesy SFMTA sfmta.photoshelter.com
1904. Sunnyside Powerhouse, viewed from the east side near Monterey and Circular. Cooling pool, disused, visible in foreground. Courtesy SFMTA sfmta.photoshelter.com Read more about the powerhouse. 

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

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.

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1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Front cover.
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“Candrian’s Guides” 2350 Market Street. About 1920. Image courtesy Joy Candrian. Herman Anton Candrian is the man on the steps.
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1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Pages 2-3 of the index portion, showing map coordinates.

The system aimed to make it easy for newcomers to get around the City. The 1907 booklet proclaimed:

“We give the Street Car for every Street and Number. With the assistance of this Guide a resident of one day can find any street as well as the one that lived here a lifetime.”

Imperfect English, sure, but Candrian was an immigrant like much of the city’s population. He came to the US from Switzerland in his teens and moved to SF in the 1890s. Perhaps he had a frustrating experience on the streetcars, and vowed to make it better for others. The streetcar diagrams fit onto ten small pages.

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1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Pages 88-89. View larger. 
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1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Pages 90-91. View larger. 

The 1917 booklet was the first to include the new little route maps for all the lines, both those cars run by United Railroads of SF and the burgeoning Municipal Railway. MUNI had only lines A to H then, but would soon add the J-Church. Then in 1918 it opened the Twin Peaks tunnel, used by the K, L, and M cars.

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1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Pages 92-93. View larger.
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1917c. Candrian’s Double Indexed Guide and Map of San Francisco and Daly City with Car-o-Grams. Pages 94-95. View larger. 

The graphics weren’t top-notch, but the information was right and included first and last cars. At thirty-five cents it was more in equivalent dollars than a MUNI map today, but probably lasted longer.

These squiggles (which might be called Tufte Lines) presaged the Market Street Railway diagrammatic guide to its cars, published January 1927, which may well have infringed on Candrian’s copyright.

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1927. Market Street Railway Co. Routes. Source: Octoferret Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/octoferret/3466961645/in/set-72157601680583224/

The Market Street Railway effort was truer to cardinal directions, and a neater piece of work, but Candrian’s idea predates it by ten years.

Candrian’s company published the maps at least through the early 1930s.

The 1916 map that would have accompanied the 1917 Car-o-Gram booklet has just been digitized by the Sutro Library (link coming soon).

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1916. Map of City and County of San Francisco. HA Candrian. Image courtesy of the Sutro Library branch, California State Library, San Francisco, California. View larger. 

The Candrian maps are not stellar work. (Links below to other versions.) They abound with paper streets and bad data. Here is a portion of the 1916 map, where the new Glen Park streets are sketched in over the would-be parkland that the Crocker Estate was at that time.

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1916. Candrian map, portion. Image courtesy of the Sutro Library branch, California State Library, San Francisco, California.

The map printed in 1932 (link below) was rife with sloppy map-making, at least in my end of town. On this one, Mount Davidson’s curvy new lay-out is butchered, included an apparently last-minute addition of something called “San Martin” which never existed, on or off paper. Havelock is blithely and erroneously extended through Balboa Park, and a neighborhood called “Westgate Park” appears in the vicinity of the present Mt Davidson Manor. By then Candrian had passed away.

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1932 Candrian map, portion. Wikimedia.org

Still, for its time, the combination map and booklet put a lot of data in the pocket of the user.

Candrian also published map-booklet sets for Oakland and Los Angeles. When automobiles were increasingly being used, they published road book for motorists, and in 1921 they used the ‘Grams’ idea to create ‘Auto-grams’ for automobiles’.

Other versions of the maps and booklets:


Thanks to Andrew Sherman for one of the nicest birthday gifts ever.

The Mad Hatter of Tiffany Avenue

1886 Sanborn sheet 139

Sandwiched between the first El Camino Real—the old San Jose Road—and its latter-day replacement, Mission Street, Tiffany Avenue is a short street that cuts down the middle of a vanity homestead laid out in 1864, the Tiffany-Dean Tract.

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1864 map for the Tiffany-Dean tract. Valencia Street not yet cut through to Mission. Source.  Click for larger. 

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