Cable Car Museum

The San Francisco Cable Car Museum in San Francisco, California is a must-see for the family on vacation or the historical enthusiast. Located at 1201 Mason Street, it boasts a spectacular collection of vintage cable car memorabilia and detailed information on the history of the cable car industry. Cable cars were first introduced in San Francisco in 1873 by the entrepreneur Andrew Smith Halladie. His vision was for a mode of transportation that would allow passengers an easy way to navigate the steep cobblestone streets of San Francisco.

The Cable Car Museum is housed in the Washington-Mason powerhouse, which contains the winding wheels and cables that pull the cable cars. The machinery is still functional and visitors can witness the cables in action as they move the cable cars through the streets. The museum is operated as a non-profit educational facility by the Friends of the Cable Car Museum. Their mission is to raise awareness to the historical significance of the cable car industry to the city of San Francisco. Thus, the main station houses three complete 1870’s era cable cars from the Sutter Street Railway and Clay Street Hill Railroad companies in addition to a historic collection of machinery and photographs. There are informational videos running several times a day and activities for both younger and older children.

The museum’s hours of operation are Monday through Sunday 10am to 6pm from April 1 through September 30. From October 1 to March 31 hours of operation are 10am to 5pm. The museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission to the museum is free. Visitors can also ride the cable cars on one of three lines through the streets of San Francisco for $6.00 for a one-way ticket. Tickets can be purchased on the cable car directly from the conductor.

For anyone planning a vacation or perhaps just interested in learning more about a fascinating piece of the history of San Francisco, a trip to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum is an inexpensive way to enjoy an afternoon. The combination of machinery in action with a hands-on approach to history makes for a fun and exciting experience.

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