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Streetcars on Dolores, Valencia and Guerrero

August 3, 2009

Following up on the palms on Dolores, reader LibertyHiller points us to this awesome 1943 streetcar map from Click for the full version. (Nice fonts!)

mission streetcars 1943

Up to the early 50s, the 11 line ran down Dolores for two blocks on its way from Twin Peaks to downtown. Here we see it coming north down Dolores, about to turn east on 22nd:

1948 Streetcar at Dolores and 22nd Street AAB-3485

The other numbered lines should look rather familiar — the private Market St Railway Company (which ran the numbered lines) was acquired in 1944 by the city-owned Muni (which ran the lettered lines).  But in the late 40s and early 50s, the city ripped out the streetcars and their rails and replaced them with futuristic buses (except for the J, K, L, M and N).  The 11 line didn’t make it, and our 1958 photo shows us the newly planted palm trees in its place.

Many bus lines like the 22 and 14 follow pretty much the same routes as their streetcar predecessors.  The proto-24 was a Divisidero-only line that stopped before Haight (I’m guessing they extended it through Noe once they shut down the Castro cable car line.)

As for the other streetcar lines in the Mission, our beloved 26 ran down Guerrero instead of Valencia (until 18th where it switched over to Mission).  In this 1928 photo from the SF Public Library, we see the 26 (and 10) tracks running down (a not-yet-widened) Guerrero and 28th with San Jose Ave breaking off to the right (site of the soon-to-be Pavement-to-Parks plaza).

1928 Guerrero and San Jose streetcar tracks

There was a 9 line that ran down 29th to Mission and then continued on Valencia to the ferries.  We’ve previously seen this 1948 shot of the 9 in front of the old Lyceum Theatre (aka Safeway).

mission 9 lyceum 1947

Below we have the 9 stopped on 29th, right before Mission (we are looking down 29th to the west).  The 3300 Club would be the building on the left, and the Front Porch would be a few buildings down.  The buildings on the right no longer exist – the 199 Tiffany building is there now, and Goood Frikin Chicken would be on the right. (Progress!!)

1940s Market Street railroad 9 line streetcar at 29th and Mission Street AAC-8503

The location of the 9 line photo below is not labeled on the SFPL site, but I am fairly certain this is looking north on Valencia, right after it merges with Mission.  If so, that’s Duncan and St. Luke’s on the left.

1940s - N at Valencia and Duncan - Market Street railroad 9 line streetcar number 566 AAC-8508

Here is the intersection of Valencia and Mission in 1945 — the shot above would be to the left. The tower on the right is the Sears building.


Lots more 9 and 36 streetcar pictures on the Bernal History Project website.

Enough for now.  Believe it or not, this is all going to come back to bowling. (You think I’m kidding.)

17 Comments leave one →
  1. August 3, 2009 2:10 pm

    Great post, fantastic photos! Thanks!

  2. LibertyHiller permalink
    August 3, 2009 2:18 pm

    Thanks for the props; I can’t wait until the bowling, seriously.

    To add to the story: the 11 line survived until the 1980s as a motor coach run; there’s still a little paint on Dolores if you know where to look. Here’s a 1980 schematic from Flickr user Octoferret:

    I moved here too late for the 11-Hoffman; the 13-Guerrero was axed in 1988, about a year after I arrived. Le sigh.

  3. Peter Smith permalink
    August 3, 2009 3:43 pm

    that was so thoughtful of the streetcar folks to put a bike rack on the front of the streetcars. awww. thinking ahead and being thoughtful. ;)

  4. August 4, 2009 11:28 am

    amazing the history of this place, especially all the bus/trolley lines that are no more. I guess the 26 will be joining them soon in the annals of history?

    If you’re able to bring this somehow back to bowling, in three posts, I’ll be impressed!

  5. August 4, 2009 9:24 pm

    Yeah, 50 years from now some dude will be posting pictures of the 26 on the IntarSpaceWeb and people will be getting all excited.

  6. LibertyHiller permalink
    August 4, 2009 9:44 pm

    Johnny, you’re right! I guess there’s nothing like a train nerd, huh?

  7. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable permalink
    February 26, 2011 1:51 am

    This is terrific, not sure how I missed this post before. Do you know anything about the Valencia St. Cable Car line?

  8. February 26, 2011 11:15 am

    Yup – some more on the old 26 Valencia streetcar here and here.

  9. ron wellman permalink
    October 18, 2011 6:16 am

    That two block stretch of Dolores without the raised grass median strip between 22nd and 24th Streets was because a street car ran there. It ran west on 22nd to Dolores, then south to 24th and west on 24th through Noe Valley.

    • Don permalink
      March 10, 2013 5:52 pm

      The 11 line westbound ran on 22nd St, then south on Chattanooga (not Dolores) between Dolores and Church) to 24th. It returned eastbound on Dolores.


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