Chaos hits the streets of San Francisco

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 12:10 pm

By Elleda Wilson
The Daily Astorian


Some of you might have seen the fascinating film clip, “A TRIP DOWN MARKET STREET,” by the MILES BROTHERS, shot in the early 1900s from the front of a moving cable car from Eighth Street down to the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The film even made “60 Minutes” in a truncated form.

The Ear found the full-length work, which is almost 14 minutes long, online at, and an in-depth story about it at

If you think traffic is bad now, give the film a good look. A still shot from it is pictured. Pedestrians are wandering helter skelter all over the place, weaving around all the moving contraptions that are criss-crossing the street, such as horse-pulled carriages and carts, bicycles and early motor cars. When they’re not dodging the cable cars, they’re jumping on them. It’s total chaos.

“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,” said RENA DEIN of the museum (

“From New York trade papers announcing the film showing, to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall, and shadows indicating time of year, and actual weather and conditions on historical record … even when the cars were registered,” she added, they realized “it was filmed only four days before the 1906 earthquake, and shipped by train to New York for processing. Amazing, but true!”

Reprinted with the permisssion of The Daily Astorian of Astoria, Oregon.

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 4:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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