I must have hit snooze half a dozen times this morning, so I was running a bit behind schedule and caught the bus over to the doctor’s office. I hadn’t thought about where I might want to go today, but decided to let some caffeination and chiropracting take effect and provide inspiration.

* * *

When I started making my way down the hills, I walked past the Cable Car Museum building, and was drawn in by a glimpse of the giant, spinning winding wheels through a side door open to passing foot traffic. Tourist-in-my-own-city, activate! Also, it’s free, so why not?!

Cable Car Museum

* * *

The museum is housed in the Washington-Mason cable car barn, a high-ceilinged warehouse space, and the only remaining one of many powerhouses that used to be all over the city. I think most residents are at least vaguely aware that there were previously more cable car lines, but I was surprised to find out how many more—the museum’s website has this neat map of all of the old lines, and the museum itself has lots of ephemera, signs, tools, and even some retired trolley cars:

Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

* * *

This cabinet housing for one of the movie machines has the best hardware…

Cable Car Museum

* * *

I’ve been spending a fair amount of time in the neighborhoods where the cable cars are still in service, and I think I’ve become a bit fond of the familiar swarm-of-bees sounds coming from under the cable car tracks embedded in the streets. This being the source, the kinetic humming is much louder here, and the winding wheels hard at work are an impressive sight and sound to behold:

* * *

Old Sutter Street Railway Co. car on the other side of the observation deck…Cable Car Museum

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Vintage conductors’ badges and transfers…

Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

* * *

Hey look, it’s a vintage Clipper Card! These are actually transit tokens from all over the country…

Cable Car Museum

* * *

More of the Sutter Street Railway Co. car… There were originally eight privately-owned companies, which eventually merged and then became part of the municipal transit system…

Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

Cable Car Museum

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You can go downstairs, too, and see more of the workings of the cables, etc.

On home, through Huntington Park…

Grace Cathedral framed by the Flood Mansion grounds… Sadly, I’ll never get to see inside this (literal) boys’ club, but the Mansion is a great-looking, stately building, and one of the only two on Nob Hill to survive the 1906 earthquake. I admire the ornate green fencing when I pass…

around Huntington Park

around Huntington Park

* * *

I can’t count how many shows and concerts I’ve been to in my time in the bay area, but none has been at the Masonic Center in the Auditorium… And even though I’ve been this way on foot often, I hadn’t walked on this side of the street, apparently, and noticed the amazing mosaic window inside!

Masonic Center window

* * *

It’s much bigger than will fit in one frame… by artist Emile Norman, it “contains gravel and soil from each of the 58 counties in California.” All of the other sculpture and art in the building is highly symbolic and storied as well… The lobby guard said I could ask for a quick tour of the building—I didn’t have time today, but FYI, when it’s quite in the daytime they might show you around if you ask…Masonic Center

* * *

Continuing on through Civic Center…07-08-15-CableCar17

City Hall

* * *

A ha! I wondered about the presence of all of these handmade signs for Joni Mitchell near SF Jazz and across from the Rickshaw… the building above has pictures of honored musicians, and SF Jazz recently gave her a life-time achievement award. She became ill and couldn’t attend the ceremony, and it inspired support from the local Joni fans…Joni Mitchell signs

Joni Mitchell signs

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Market Street…coffee fixings

Market Street and street car

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I did not resist the siren call of FLAX this day! I used to make books (and paper, and etc.) by hand and was very passionate about it, but haven’t made the time in recent years. I get weak in the knees at the sight of so many papers and stationery and other art supplies. I felt really inspired to get back into book arts in some capacity… Nerdy panorama in 3…2…1…

FLAX art store

(click me to expand and zoom and scroll

FLAX art store

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And finally back through the Mission…show posters in the Mission District


Where should I go tomorrow?


  • MILES WALKED: 6, including walking over to a venue in SoMa later to shoot a show.
  • NEIGHBORHOODS: Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Civic Center, Hayes Valley, Mission District
  • SF DESIGNATED LANDMARKS: Cable Car Barn and Power House (no. 43), City Hall (no. 21), Flood Mansion (no. 64), Grace Cathedral (no. 170)

(MAP TO COME!)