Saturday, March 12, 2011

104 Year Old San Francisco Film prior to the earthquake




This is a fascinating movie. A camera was mounted on the front of a street car in San Francisco 104 years ago (1906).  Perhaps

the oldest "home movie" that you will ever see!   Look at the hats the ladies were wearing and the long dresses.  

Some of the cars had the steering wheels on the right side.  I wonder when they standardized on the left? 

Sure were still a lot of horse drawn vehicles in use.    Mass transit looked like the way to get around.  Looks like everybody had the right of way.


Watch the beginning carefully. At the 33 second mark and immediately after an oncoming trolley clears the screen, a well dressed

policeman walks across the street from left to right.  Notice his right hand that he's carrying a truncheon (26 inch police baton) and

although he appears walking his beat, he looks ready to use it. Imagine the police of today walking down the street carrying a 26 inch

club in their hand...??? also notice every man is wearing a suit


This film was "lost" for many years.  It was the first 35mm film ever.  It was taken by camera mounted on the front of a cable

car.  The number of automobiles is staggering for 1906. The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there.

How many "street cleaning" people were employed to pick up after the horses?  Talk about going green!


This  film was originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out

exactly when it was shot.  From New York trade papers announcing the film showing to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows

indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he even knows who owned them

and when the plates were issued!).  It was filmed only four days before the Great California Earthquake of April  18th 1906 and

shipped by train to NY for processing.


Get a load of this fascinating 104 year old film of San Francisco just prior to the earthquake.



Les F said...

I Guy ,I thought I'd post the video player ,making it visible & easy to click on hope you don't mind.

Cheers !! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------HF&RV
I think we posted this before ,,I know I have seen it, however it is interesting to see ,& it certainly goes a long way to my thinking of Film & Photographic everything,because it will be appreciated in the future.
Imagine if we had more old film from Montreal / Verdun ,we'd be happy for sure, So Take Pictures Everyone.................

Les F said...

I believe there is film somewhere (we may have seen posted here too) about the same theme ,driving through Vancouver I think it was, maybe someone will post that........ HF&RV

Les F said...

Here's the Vancouver film...........

Cheers!! HF&RV

Guy Billard said...

What is the name of the large building at the end of the street at the beginning of the film before the tramway turns right and is it still there. If we compare this film with the San Francisco film, there is much les trafic and less cars and much more horses.

Les F said...

Hello Guy here is a link called "City Reflections" Vancouver , the link will show you some isolated shots from the film with a modern day shot appearing when you move your mouse over the old pic. It looks to me like that old building maybe gone, based on the modern day shot,but the comparison pictures are not that well planned out (imho) However if you study the photos you can see that some of those old building are still around. I think it would seem improbable that they would tear down such a large building,it looks like a bank ??? The Merchant Bank ? maybe Sandra (if she sees this ) would be able to tell us if that building is still there or not, she knows downtown Vancouver really well,.she drives it more often than most people. Hopefully she will see this and be able to say whether that building is still the mean time have a look at these 'Then & Now' shots of Vancouver
Cheers !! HF&RV

Les F said...

Here is a present day shot of Granville & Pender according to Google Streetview Maps,you can scroll around ,or move the cursor and see all the surrounding buildings ,as well as travel down te street, I don't see the building in question,but based on the old film I'd say the tram is heading straight down Granville and turns right on Pender, if it could have gone straight it would have headed towards the ocean & you would see the mountains in the background if that old building wasn't in the way.??,-97.15369&sspn=18.602302,36.474609&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Granville+St+%26+W+Pender+St,+Vancouver,+Greater+Vancouver+Regional+District,+British+Columbia&ll=49.284715,-123.114865&spn=0,0.01781&z=15&layer=c&cbll=49.284715,-123.114865&panoid=nhaNO7ydx84nQVrMSS7pFQ&cbp=12,135.98,,0,5
Cheers !! HF&RV

Guy Billard said...

That grand old building I referred to is very impressive and I thought maybe it was a train station or a grand hotel. There must certainly be some information around that identifies that building. If you find anything let me know. Just to satisfy my curiosity and it may interest other members.

Les F said...

Guy it certainly is/was a grand old building as you say & your intuition was right on a CPR train station which is now below some new plaza or something like that:

'the 2nd CPR station for Vancouver, designed by Edward Maxwell, and it opened in 1898 (the first was just a pile of wood). It's currently a parking lot underneath that elevated plaza between the Vancouver Sun tower and the 3rd CPR station, now Waterfront station, built in 1914 by Barott, Blackader, and Webster"
I will start a new thread of Vancouver Early 1900's keepin gthis SanFrancisco topic more in tact.

Cheers !! HF&RV