|Historic San Francisco Cable Cars|
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 except a few major holidays from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (5 p.m. Sept – Mar). 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.
San Francisco Entrepreneur Story Behind the Cable Cars
Did 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 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
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. You don't have to be an engineer to enjoy the story.