Learn About the Streetcars That Once Clanked Down Cortland

Did you know that Cortland Avenue once had a streetcar line? OMG! So true! Vicky Walker, Bernalwood’s Minister of History, brings this announcement about a very cool presentation that will happen at the Bernal Heights branch library on Wednesday night, June 15, at 7 pm:

Bernal History Project is proud to present a free slideshow and talk by S.F. transit and movie theatre historian Jack Tillmany (author of Theatres of San Francisco).

Bernal residents got their first taste of public transportation more than a century ago when streetcar tracks were laid down the middle of Cortland Avenue, and United Railroads trolley line #24 (Cortland/Divisadero/Richmond) linked three San Francisco neighborhoods. Soon after, line #23 (Richland/Valencia/Fillmore) completed the picture.

Jack will explore the roots of today’s #24 & #23 lines during the first forty years, when trolleys ran on tracks and the #9 line caused no end of confusion by running on Cortland and Richland at the same time. He will also bring “freebie souvenirs for those who show up.” He promises they are “most appropriate, authentic, and not to be found anywhere else.” Here’s a great interview with him courtesy of our friends at the Western Neighborhoods Project.

An important note: This presentation covers only the Cortland and Richland streetcar lines. Jack will present a separate show soon that covers the 30 (Army from Third St. to Bryant), the 25 (Bryant to Bayshore and then to San Bruno), and Muni’s H line, which terminated at Potrero and Army streets but was later extended down Bayshore to replace the 25. Sorry, NoCo residents — your turn will come!

The slideshow will be held in the meeting room of the Bernal branch library, 500 Cortland (at Andover); turn left at the bottom of the stairs. It starts promptly at 7 p.m.; note that the meeting room is small, so get there early to guarantee a seat!

This presentation is dedicated to the memory of San Francisco transit historian Phil Hoffman, who hosted one of BHP’s first slideshows and was always happy to help with our research.

PHOTOS: Top: Streetcars on Cortland, 1938 (via San Francisco Public Library); Bottom, a streetcar after it jumped the tracks on Cortland at Folsom, 1935 (via Bernal History Project).

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5 Responses to Learn About the Streetcars That Once Clanked Down Cortland

  1. paulies pickling says:

    Soo excited to see the slide show.

  2. Vicky Walker says:

    Note to those who can’t make the presentation tomorrow night: Jack will be sharing the photos with the Bernal History Project afterwards, and we hope to post them all on our site. We already have a few up at http://www.bernalhistoryproject.org/streetcars.php.

  3. Paul Tominac says:

    In the picture of the derailed car, at the left, on the corner of Folsom and Cortland is a corner of the overhang on a building I’ve been wondering about for years: What was that building originally and why was it built as it was? No other building in the area, or the City is constructed quite as that is and I’m guessing it had something to do with its original use. Yes, No, Other?

  4. Pingback: Trove of Historical Photos Show Streetcars in Bernal Heights | Bernalwood

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