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Places to Visit in San Francisco, America
Cable Cars
San Franciscos famed cable cars are among the citys most popular attractions. Even though it may look like they were especially made for tourists, the cable cars were actually created out of a necessity.Anyone who has walked on the streets of San Francisco will know that many of the slopes on the citys hills are so steep that an ordinary tram would never be able to drive up the hills.The history of San Franciscos cable cars goes back to 1869, when Andrew Smith Hallidie, the owner of a wire-rope factory, saw a horse-drawn streetcar slide backwards under its heavy load, causing the death of five horses. This accident, together with his experience of the use of wire-rope for pulling cars in mines, brought Andrew Hallidie to build the first cable car in San Francisco. It took until 1873 before the first cabled streetcar started operations.Cable Car on Nob Hill, San Francisco The system was used in several other cities, but most switched to electric streetcars, which became practical in the late 19th century.

The San Francisco cable car system is the worlds last manually-operated cable car system. An icon of San Francisco, California, the cable car system forms part of the intermodal urban transport network operated by the San Francisco Municipal Railway. Of the twenty-three lines established between 1873 and 1890,three remain (one of which combines parts of two earlier lines)two routes from downtown near Union Square to Fishermans Wharf, and a third route along California Street. While the cable cars are used to a certain extent by commuters, the vast majority of their 7 million annual passengers are tourists.They are among the most significant tourist attractions in the city, along with Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Fishermans Wharf. The cable cars are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.The first successful cable-operated street railway was the Clay Street Hill Railroad, which opened on August 2, 1873. The promoter of the line was Andrew Smith Hallidie, and the engineer was William Eppelsheimer. The line involved the use of grip cars, which carried the grip that engaged with the cable, towing trailer cars; the design was the first to use grips. The term grip became synonymous with the operator.
The line started regular service on September 1, 1873, and its success led it to become the template for other cable car transit systems. It was a financial success, and Hallidies patents were enforced on other cable car promoters, making him wealthy.Accounts differ as to exactly how involved Hallidie was in the inception of the line, and to the exact date it first ran.The next cable car line to open was the Sutter Street Railway, which converted from horse operation in 1877. This line introduced the side grip, and lever operation, both designed by Henry Casebolt and his assistant Asa Hovey, and patented by Henry Casebolt. This idea was brought about because Casebolt did not want to pay Hallidie royalties of $50,000 a year for use of his patent. The side grip allowed cable cars to cross at intersections.In 1878, Leland Stanford opened his California Street Cable Railroad (Cal Cable). This companys first line was on California Street and is the oldest cable car line still in operation. In 1880, the Geary Street, Park & Ocean Railway began operation. The Presidio and Ferries Railway followed two years later, and was the first cable company to include curves on its routes. The curves were let-go curves, where the car drops the cable and coasts around the curve on its own momentum.
In 1883, the Market Street Cable Railway opened its first line. This company was controlled by the Southern Pacific Railroad and was to grow to become San Franciscos largest cable car operator. At its peak, it operated five lines all of which converged into Market Street to a common terminus at the Ferry Building; during rush hours, cars left that terminus every 15 seconds.
In 1888, the Ferries and Cliff House Railway opened its initial two-line system. The Powell-Mason line is still operated on the same route today; their other route was the Powell-Washington-Jackson line, stretches of which are used by todays Powell-Hyde line. The Ferries & Cliff House Railway was also responsible for the building of a car barn and powerhouse at Washington and Mason, and this site is still in use today. In the same year, it also purchased the original Clay Street Hill Railway, which it incorporated into a new Sacramento-Clay line in 1892.
In 1889, the Omnibus Railroad and Cable Company was the last new cable car operator in San Francisco. The following year the California Street Cable Railroad opened two new lines, these being the last entirely new cable car lines built in the city. One of them was the OFarrell-Jones-Hyde line, the Hyde section of which still remains in operation as part of the current Powell-Hyde line.
In all, twenty-three lines were established between 1873 and 1890.

Alcatraz the rock
Alamo Square
Fort Mason
San Francisco
City Hall
Cable Cars
Octagon House

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