Compare this footage taken from a Market Street cable car just days before the 1906 earthquake with a similar perspective from 2005!
This film, 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 quake and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing but true!
So much is different, yet it’s amazing to think how much the area hasn’t really changed. There aren’t cable cars on Market anymore (unless you count the Powell turnaround), but Muni still operates vintage streetcars! There is the Ferry Building, too, still acting as the beacon at land’s end. And the modern bike rider who waves his cap at the photographer evokes some of the ebullience of the earlier footage. Amazing how a simple, timeless gesture can echo the mannerisms of ages past.