Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Miss: Cable Car Museum - San Francisco

A popular ride in the San Francisco is of course the cable cars – and a great place to stop and explore is the Cable Car Museum. 

One of my previous San Francisco events was with a group of Australian engineers and (of course!) I received many questions about the Cable Car Museum, where it was, and the easiest way to get there. The research I prepared reminded me of the amazing entrepreneur story behind these famous Cable Cars.

Historic San Francisco Cable Cars

Cable Car Museum

The Cable Car Museum (415) 474-1887 is free to visit and located in the historic Washington/Mason cable car barn and powerhouse.  Open daily (please call in advance to verify hours open) except a few major holidays. 

This excellent self guided tour overlooks the huge engines and winding wheels that pull the engines. You will see 3 antique cars from 1870s and of course there is a store to buy gifts.

Excuse this image - taken in process during the rain.  Location: Washington & Mason

San Francisco Entrepreneur Story Behind the Cable Cars

The San Francisco entrepreneur story we often forget from our Gold Rush days is about the man and inventor, Andrew Smith Hallidie.  Who is this? Yes, Hallidie was the inventor considered the Father of the Cable Cars. As many of these stories are passed down through the years, you may hear different versions.

Do you know that Hallidie’s father was an inventor in Great Britain with a patent for wire rope cable?  It was the Gold Rush which brought father and son to California. Many miners became disappointed and Andrew’s father returned to England. Hallidie stayed and worked many jobs like we do -- as a gold miner, blacksmith, surveyor, and builder of bridges throughout California. He was instrumental in using wire ropes to lower cars to haul ore from the mine to the mill. 

As many people did during the Gold Rush days, Andrew Smith Hallidie left the mining camps and returned to San Francisco where he started manufacturing wire rope. The Hallidie ropeway and aerial tramway were a couple of successful inventions and patents of his. After observing the suffering horses hauling heavy loads up and down the slick cobbled streets of these steep San Francisco hills, Hallidie created the loop mechanism where cable cars would be towed by an underground cable in 1873 and successfully created the cable car line.

Don’t Miss Attraction: Cable Car Museum

Cable car success reached throughout the world during this early period with the largest system in Melbourne, Australia. 

Today? San Francisco’s Cable Cars are a National Historic Moving Monument.

Be sure to purchase a day pass and get off of the Cable Cars at Washington and Mason streets. Go inside this Museum and discover even more of this story for yourself. It is not necessary   to be an engineer to enjoy the story.  

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There is always more information to every story ~ The Fun Tour Guru

Bonus Insider Tip see below fun pictures (in action) and things to know when riding cable cars: 

Don't stand behind the gripman. 

  Hold on tightly to the loops.
Be prepared for the crowds in the cars on rainy days.

Other San Francisco activities are Chinatown Walks.

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