Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway

by Joe Thompson

Where Should I Go from Here? Visit the Map

Geary Street Train Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway train at Central (now Presidio) Avenue, before 1892. Calvary Cemetery is in the background. The cemeteries around Central Avenue were a major source of traffic for the line. (source: [group 5:50a], Jesse Brown Cook Scrapbooks Documenting San Francisco History and Law Enforcement, ca. 1895-1936, BANC PIC 1996.003--fALB, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley). Apr, 1998 Picture of the Month.
Geary and Market The terminal of the Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway, at Geary and Market, after 1891. October (Fall), 2000 Picture of the Month.
Geary and Market looking west The terminal of the Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway, at Geary and Market, after 1891. Looking west. January, 2004 Picture of the Month.

line: Geary Street

opened: 16-Feb-1880. Geary Street from Kearney to Central (now Presidio)

extended: 1892. Geary Street to 5th Avenue, 5th Avenue to Fulton (Golden Gate Park).

powerhouse: Geary and Buchannan

grip: Eppelsheimer bottom grip, lever-operated

grip: converted to Root single jaw side grip, lever-operated in 1892.

gauge: 5'0"

gauge: converted to 4'8 1/2", 1892

cars: single-ended dummy and trailer trains.

cars: converted to single-ended California cars, 1892.

turntables: single track turntable at Market/Kearney end. "Y" track switched by horse at 5th Avenue terminal.


notes:Geary Street, like Sutter Street, did not have any major hills. The San Francisco Chronicle once called it a "low-grade cable line..." I was offended till I figured out what they meant . The line connected the busy shopping areas of Market Street and Union Square with the residential Western Addition and later the Inner Richmond and Golden Gate Park. The cemeteries around Central (now Presidio) Avenue were a major source of traffic.

The company was organized by Charles Main, Reuben Morton, BC Bigelow, James McCord, William Eppelsheimer, CF Macdemot and Thomas R Hayes. Reuben Morton was elected Superintendant and held the job until he died in 1881.

The 1892 extension replaced a steam dummy line which ran on Point Lobos Boulevard (now Geary) and First Avenue (now Arguello Boulevard) to the park. During the reconstruction, the steam trains ran on Arguello to allow people to reach the cemeteries from the Market Street Railway's McAllister Street cable car line.

Read about the company's steam dummy service in "When Steam Ran on The Streets of San Francisco, Part III," by Walter Rice and Emiliano Echeverria.

GSPO was one of the most profitable transit companies in the city.

Truth in advertising: The company reached the park, but never came near the ocean.

The company's carmen engaged in a major strike in 1886-1887. One grip car was blown up with dynamite.

The company was partially owned by the Market Street Railway, which changed the gauge and converted the grip with a plan to run cars on Market to the Ferry. This never happened.

Geary and Larkin crossing The first crossing between two Hallidie-type cable car lines, at Geary and Larkin Streets. A Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway train is on the left. Two trains of the Sutter Street Railway's Larkin Street line are on the tracks running towards the camera. The Larkin Street line was superior (did not have to drop the rope) because it was there first. (Source: OpenSFHistory / wnp27.02535.jpg). April, 2018 Picture of the Month.

The company built a carbarn at Geary and Arguello 1898; the building still stands. The San Francisco Municipal Railway did not purchase the building when it took over the company. The building had been used mostly as a car dealership. The upstairs area was leased by Muni for use as a bus garage in the 1930's. In 1997, the building became a large office supply store.

Some contemporary newspaper articles about operations and incidents.

Cable car operations resumed within a few months after the earthquake and fire in 1906. The GSPO was the least damaged line in the city. Here are two San Francisco Chronicle articles about the return of the cable cars:

Last car Car 10, the last cable car to operate on the Geary Street Park & Ocean Railway and its crew, gripman FJ Brainerd and conductor F Stanley. (Source: GEARY LINE STOPS/Municipal Road Begun San Francisco Call, 06-May-1912).

San Francisco voters approved a Municipal Railway on Geary Street in 1909. The GSPO was taken over by city in 1912. The last cable cars ran 06-May-1912. Here are two San Francisco Chronicle articles about the last of the cable cars:

The cable line was replaced by the first electric streetcar lines of the San Francisco Municipal Railway -- the A and B. The Geary streetcar lines still operating -- the B and C -- were in turn replaced in December 1956 by the 38 Geary motor coach line.

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Geary Street Profile Geary Street Park and Ocean Railway profile (Source: Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (LC-HABS/HAER) HAER,CAL,38-SANFRA,137-1)

Geary and Buchanan layout Geary Street, Park and Ocean's original powerhouse at Geary and Buchanan. Geary is at the left and Buchanan is at the top (Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, San Francisco, 1893, Vol 4, Sheet 95a).

Geary and First layout Geary Street, Park and Ocean's carbarn at Geary and First (now Arguello). Geary is at the left and First is at the bottom (Source: Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, San Francisco, 1899, Vol 4, Sheet 413).
GSPO carbarn Former GSPO car barn at Geary and Arguello. November 2001. Photo by Joe Thompson.

Lotta's Fountain Photograph of the intersection of Geary and Market Streets before 1892. A Geary Street train is visible on the left. Several Market Street cars are visible. Lotta's Fountain was donated to the city by actress Lotta Crabtree in 1875. It is the site of the yearly meeting to commemorate the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. (Source: The Barbary MUSH Photo Archive)

1906 Ruins Geary Street cars run amid the ruins near Union Square in December, 1906. (Source: [group 5:40], Roy D. Graves Pictorial Collection, ca. 1850-ca. 1968, BANC PIC 1905.17500--ALB, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley). June, 2006 Picture of the Month.

GSPO Steam Geary Street steam train with dummy locomotive 2 at Central and Geary, where it connected with Geary Street cable cars. Cemeteries in the background. (Source: San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, AAB-7891). February, 2005 Picture of the Month.

Geary Street "Geary Street Wire Rope Rail Road. Much of the track of this company was formerly and is now used by the horse cars of other companies." The original scan was a little crooked. from "The Cable Railway Company's System of Traction Railways for Cities and Towns".

baldwin steam motors ad An adverisement for Baldwin Steam Motors (steam dummies) states that sometimes the GSPO would use them to provide service west of the powerhouse at Buchanan. From the 09-July-1882 Daily Alta California.

from Poor's Directory of Railway Officials, 1887

P. 233

Geary Street, Park and Ocean (Cable) R.R. Co. operates 5 miles of road, and owns 15 cars. Daniel Meyer, Pres., R. F. Morrow, Vice-Pres., John M. Syne, Sec., S. C. Bigelow, Treas., H. D. Morton, Supt., -- GENERAL OFFICE, San Francisco, Cal.

Hello Central, Give Me the GSP&O

Here is the Geary Street Railroad Company's listing in the February, 1903 Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company San Francisco phone directory:

Bush 117. Geary St. R. R. Co., Gen. Ofcs., Crocker Bldg.

Dedicated volunteers at San Francisco Genealogy typed in every page of the book.

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The Last of the GSPO

From the San Francisco Call / Monday, May 6, 1912. Page 1.


Municipal Road Begun

Workmen Tear Out Cable and Track As Last Car Reaches Barn

City to Build Power Houses and Barns Before Track Laying Is Finished

AFTER being a storm center for 10 years of the first local struggle for municipal ownership of street railways the Geary Street, Park and Ocean Railway company succumbed at 1:07 o'clock this morning when the last car pulled into the barn at Geary street and First avenue, after distributing a crowd of night owls from the turntable at Market and Geary streets to the terminus. At 12:32 this morning the last cable car left the turntable. It was in charge of Gripman F. Brainerd and Conductor F. Stanley, two old employes. It was not without a feeling of sadness that these men bade farewell to those things that had supplied their means of support for so many years. True, these men will be employed on the electric road when it is completed, but they left the old line with regret. At the car barn they were met by Assistant Superintendent F Boeken, who has done much to make possible the conversion of the old Geary street line into a modern, up to date electric service.

Immediately after the stabling of the last car the old cable was started out of the slot and wound on an immense spool in the engine room. The cable was well worn from months of use, as it had been allowed to run longer than its natural life, because it was expected that work would begin on the reconstruction almost any day, and the cable would be of no further use.


William C. Fisher, the oldest gripman working on the road, entering the service of the road March 12, 1881, was one of the men to work on the last day. John McLean, who entered the employ of the company eight years after Fisher, rang up his last nickel late in the afternoon. G. Peterson, also a conductor with a long record, but who was out on strike once for six months, was also at his place of duty on the last day. Among those who were on the last car was John Emmerling, night inspector of the road, who has held his position for 21 years.

It was not long after the click and rattle of the slot had ceased that the ringing blows of the laborers busy tearing up the old roadbed were heard along the line. In all 125 men were put to work. The ripping up the old track was begun at Fifth avenue. As fast as the old track is out of the way a gang of men will follow with the work of laying modern electric road, rails. It is expected that in a few months San Francisco will have added to Its transit service a modern high class electric street railway running from the ocean to the water front.


Roadbed and tracks for the electric service have been laid from Fifth to Thirty-third avenues and the work of connecting up the rest of the line to Market street will be done with all possible speed. The trolley wires have already been installed. Since the voters of San Francisco expressed their desire to own and operate the Geary street road there have been many costly and unnecessary delays. But from the present outlook It seems certain that soon the municipality will boast of its first and only street railroad.

Mayor Rolph and the supervisors have expressed themselves as dissatisfied with the halting progress of the construction during the last few months, and say that they will not tolerate any further delays. The contractors say that they are going to rush the work and win, If possible, some of the city's bonus money by completing the road before the date specified in the contract.


Within a short time the building of the power houses and car barns will be commenced. The city administration proposes to have all of this work done and the electric cars constructed before the roadbed and rail laying are finished.

In all there are about 100 employes of the Geary street road. Pending the completion of the new road most of these men will find employment with other streetcar companies or in the construction work of the road. It is the purpose of the city officials to favor these old workers in employing men for the electric railway.


The contract to build the Geary street line was awarded April 17 to P. H. Mahoney, who submitted a bid of $253,695. He was allowed 180 days to finish the work, with a bonus of $200 for every day saved.

Originally the contract was awarded April 1 to Bates, Borland & Ayer for $225,025, but they said that a mistake in their calculations had caused them to bid $30,000 too low. The supervisors held them to the terms of their contract, and they accordingly forfeited the $25,000 certified check they had put up, and relinquished the contract. New bids were called for and Mahoney was awarded the contract.

The Geary Street Railroad company was incorporated in 1878 with a franchise that was to expire in 1903. In 1902 a bond issue for the city to take over the road was submitted to the people by the board of supervisors but defeated. A similar proposition met the same fate in 1903.

In 1907 a bond issue for $720,000 was authorized by the supervisors but this was held up by a decision of the superior court.


Two bond elections were held in 1909, the first one in June failing to secure the necessary two-thirds majority by 436 votes. In December of that year the bonds were carried after a stirring campaign.

An injunction against the sale of the bonds was issued, but by a decision of the state supreme court the Issue was declared legal.

A bill insuring the legality of the building and operation of the road by the city was passed by the legislature in February, 1911, and the way was then clear for carrying out the project. The entire bond issue of $400,000 was sold in April, 1912, to Adams & Co. of Boston at a premium of $2,064.

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The First Day of Muni

From the San Francisco Call / Sunday, December 29, 1912. Page 17.

"Sunny Jim" Rolph was Mayor of San Francisco from 1912 to 1931. He was mistaken in saying that San Francisco built the first municipal railway. Gavin McNab was a San Francisco attorney and reformer. He later defended Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.

Wheels Turn on San Francisco's Own Streetcar Line While 50,000 Cheer


Dream of 20 Years Comes True and Great Throng Shouts, Toots Horns and Throws Flowers on Geary Street Electric Conveyances -- Entire Official Family Make Journey and All of Them Pay Nickel for Ride to Fulton Street


Executive From Front Platform Addresses Crowd and Assures Them, the "Share Holders," That Enterprise Must Prosper and Extend to All Sections of Metropolis -- Residents Along the Route Very Enthusiastic and Effusive in Greetings

Electrified by a current of enthusiasm that surged through 50,000 breasts and broke forth in cheers from 50,000 throats. San Francisco's municipal railway sprang into action yesterday, cutting with its pioneer wheels an indelible track across the page of history.

There was hardly any need of the trolley wire overhead. The spirit of the crowd was enough to move a battleship. From 12:34 o'clock in the afternoon, when Mayor Rolph squeezed aboard the first car at Geary and Kearny streets, until the car returned at 2 o'clock, there was one long succession of cheering, shouting, horn tooting, flower throwing and general jubilation.

And well there might be. It was a dream of 20 years come true, success carved out of many failures, realization after almost a decade of expectation.


The Geary street road is in actual operation. Some people pinched themselves to make sure they were awake. Old men, grown gray with waiting, stood in the doorways of their homes out in Geary street, feebly waving canes and hats. One old fellow brushed the tears from his eyes. The joy was too much for htm.

Like the marrn of conquering heroes returning home for their laurel wreaths the gray coated cars seemed fairly to prance along the line. The engineers insist that they ran on the rails like any ordinary car. but those aboard felt certain that they were riding on air, and that the real motive power came somewhere from the hearts of an exuberant people.

Mayor Rolph called it "the people's road, built by the people's money," and the people were there to prove it. All knew from previous announcements that the 10 cars were scheduled to start shortly after the lunch hour, and that the first car would lead the triumphant procession at exactly 12:30 o'clock.


Apparently nobody bothered much about the noonday meal. Long before 12 o'clock the gore of Geary, Market and Kearny streets was black with a curious, expectant throng, which spread for half a dozen blocks in each direction.

Lucky for San Francisco that the city, in its first venture as a railroad magnate, had the police with it. They had their hands full keeping clear a space wide enough for the cars to come down Geary street to the starting point. When the first car hove in sight, graceful in lines and splendid in its new uniform of gray with gold stripes, the people spoke their welcome in a shout that woke an echo in Twin peaks.

All San Francisco wanted to get on that first car. The nickel was the greatest coin in the realm. Protests, pushes and broad backs of the police finally carved a passageway in the pack for the official passengers.


Mayor Rolph jumped from his auto and managed to get in the vicinity of the rear platform. Treasurer John McDougald had bribed the real conductor to let him collect the first fare. Rolph was actually boosted aboard. As advised by a sign on the side of the car, he had his fare ready.

Rolph paid the first fare, but here is a secret quite as important. Treasurer McDougald, who is presumed to be the guardian of the city's coin, was the first to "knock down" on the municipal railway.

He kept the mayor's nickel for himself, boldly placing it In a plush jewel box which he brought for that purpose. But McDougald, "conscience stricken,'' as he explained later, made the robbery good by tossing in the fare box another perfectly good nickel. He will keep that paid by the mayor as a souvenir.


Rolph had $2 in brand new 5 cent pieces, the first nickels ever made at the mint in this city, and coined within the last week. Those given Rolph were the first put in circulation. They were sent to him by Thomas P. Burns, acting assistant treasurer of the United States, and were distributed by Rolph among his friends on the first car.

Rolph's entire official family, or at feast all those physically able to jam their way through the crush, boarded the car with him. The board of works commissioners, supervisors, city engineers, builders of the cars and others, 70 in all, managed to get aboard.

Superintendent Thomas A. Cashin of the municipal railway, upon whose shoulders rested the success or failure of the road's maiden trip, called out:

"Every one must pay his fare; this is no joy ride at the city's expense."

All obeyed. McDougald was not over-particular about making change. He did not object if an official dropped a dime Instead of a nickel into the box, but he insisted on at least a nickel.


Rolph made a speech from the front platform before the car started. Having in mind the saying attributed to Gavin McNab that "the wheels should be taken from the heads of the people end put under their feet," he announced that "the wheels are now under our feet."

He called attention to the place the Geary street road will take in history, since in San Francisco the first cable road was built and the city Is now first to build and operate a municipal railway.

"It is a fact worthy of rejoicing that before 1912 draws to a close the Geary Street Municipal railway starts today and marks a new era of progress in the affairs of our city, and the wheels are now under our feet," said Mayor Rolph as he leaned from the gateway of the car.

"It is, in reality, the people's road, built by the people and with the people's money. The first cable road In the country was built In San Francisco, and now the first municipal railway of the country is built In San Francisco. Our operation of this road will be watched closely by the whole country. It must prove a success. We must run it by proper methods. When we have it built from the ferry to the ocean it will be the best single route in the city, and we must extend It wherever possible, until it becomes a great municipal system.


"Results speak louder than words. The monthly financial accounts will sing its praises better than horns can do. As the share holders, the best information I can give you today is the financial status of the affairs of your railroad."

The mayor then told the "share holders" that the road, embracing 5 miles of double track, had cost $139,000 a mile, and that there is still available out of the original $1,902,341.50 bond funds a balance of $842,376.26 with which to build the extensions to the ferry and the beach.

While the share holders were still voicing their approval of the management of their road, Rolph seized the controller and officially started the Geary street road in operation. There was an instant's quiver, a moment of tense hesitation, and then suddenly the motor broke into its purr of satisfaction, the bell clanged, the wheels grumbled a business like answer, and the municipal railway was In motion.


Slowly at first, and in fact for many blocks, the first car ploughed its risky way through the blockade of spectators. Such a sendoff as it got will never be forgotten. Those aboard laughed like children. Mixed with the cries of many thousands was the tooting of auto horns, the blowing of fire whistles and calls to the mayor of "Good luck, Jim, happy New Year," and similar words of good will.

Flags waved, moving picture men and photographers rushed hither and thither, and from the windows of every building the people shouted success to their own railway.

At Union square and in front of the St. Francis hotel the auto horns played a deafening tune.

Just beyond Stockton street little Edith Forrest, from the California florists, ran out with a gorgeous bouquet of pink roses and, lifted In the arms of a man, presented them to Rolph. The mayor accepted them as symbolic of the rosy future before the city road.


Hanging on the iron railing about the Protestant orphanage In Franklin Street a group of little girls waved and added their shrill childish voices to those of the throng. On sidewalks, steps, balconies, fences, roofs and every vantage point residents in Geary street who had waited so long for the city cars presented a row of faces that appeared, as the car swept by, to be one great grin.

At Laguna street rice was showered upon the car and at other points along the line. Some one said it celebrated the wedding of the city to the policy of municipal ownership, but it was no doubt simply a happy people's way of showing their lightness of heart.

One man at Buchanan street was completely carried away with excitement. He was a peddler of toy balloons. In his anxiety to wave both hands he let the whole bunch of colored gaa bags escape, but he still smiled after the car.

Fillmore street gave the new road a big reception. At Divisadero a fire engine just leaving the house shrieked its welcome. The city car barn in Presidio avenue was reached without a mishap or near accident. From there on the car jumped into high speed, running along Point Lobos avenue to Tenth avenue and turning down Tenth avenue to the park at Fulton street. "Everybody off," cried Rolph. "And you can't get back on again without paying your fare."

An ideal California sky overhead and the green of the park close by greeted the passengers who had run the gauntlet of excitement. Tenth avenue and Fulton street is the terminal of the branch line, and at that point the first car switched for the trip back to Point Lobos avenue.

All the way out the car had been escorted by many automobiles, In which young women waved banners while horns tooted and shrieked.

Mrs. Rolph, wife of the mayor, was in one auto. She alighted when the car stopped at the park, and, accompanied by Rolph, prepared to board the streetcar, which again was hemmed in by a crowd.

Rolph halted at the step to accomodate the camera men and Mrs. Rolph mounted to the platform. She had a dime in readiness to pay her fare to Treasurer McDougald when Rolph looked around.

"Let me do that," cried Rolph, and Mrs. Rolph laughingly replaced the coin in her purse.

Loaded until its passengers were glad of the open windows, the car raced along Tenth avenue to Point Lobos and out the main line to Thirty-third avenue.

Here, which is at present the end of the line, another group of joyous residents had assembled.

"Are you glad to see the cars out here?" asked Rolph.

"You bet we are," came the answering chorus.

"And we want to see them go on to the beach," added a woman.

"They'll go there," cried Rolph.

The return trip was made with speed. Rolph, as on the outward journey, stood on the front platform close beside the motorman. At Thirtieth avenue the car was showered with bouquets. Perhaps the happiest man aboard the car was H. D. Free of 767 Seventh avenue. He rode on the first car of the old Geary street cable road when it started operation in 1880.

Next to Free the passenger that received most notice was little Miss Jeanette Harris, 20 months old. She was the first baby to board a municipal car, which she accomplished while asleep in the arms of her mother, Mrs. C. M. Harris of 161 Seventh avenue.

On the return journey the first car passed the other nine, which had been lined up behind it at the starting point. These were packed with passengers, who needed only their nickels to get aboard.

By the time the first car was on its return Journey the municipal railway had settled down to business. Workmen on buildings along the line did not trouble to stop their work. Persons on the streets gave it only a fleeting glance. The cars had already been transformed in the minds of the people from a curiosity to a convenience.


At 2:03 o'clock the exultant party of city officials were back at Kearny street, from which they had departed on the eventful Journey at 12:36.

Responsible in a large measure for the successful trip was T. E. Anderson, superintendent of the service department of the Westinghouse Electric company, who supplied the motors for the city cars.

Anderson ran the car on its initial journey. After that he was relieved by Eugene W. Clisbee, the regular motorman. Nathan Rahn was the conductor.

The first car took in $2.50 on its outward journey and carried 70 passengers.

Among those who had the honor of being the first passengers on the first car of the city road were the following:

Judge Angellotti, District Manager Carl Helse and Constructing Engineer O. W. Sharer of the Westinghouse company, Chief Clerk Dunnigan of the board of supervisors, D. M. Moses of the W. L. Holman company, builders of the cars; Policeman, F. W. Dasmann, Police Sergeant Caples, Recorder Godchaux, Attorney Elliot M. Epsteen, Sergeant Thomas Walsh of the mayor's office, all the supervisors, Commissioners Laumeister, Casey and Fraser of the board of works. Assistant City Engineers Ransom and Loren Hunt, Mrs. Peter Dawes, Secretary Churchill of the board of works, Edward Rainey. secretary to the mayor; Assistant Secretary McEtee, Assistant City Attorneys Lull and English. George Symon, R. H. Morse. J. A Heibring, Chief of Police White, Superintendent of Public Buildings T. A. Reardon and a delegation of newspaper reporters and photographers.


The journey of the first car ended in a crowd nearly as large as that which greeted it at the start. A band, engaged by the Public Ownership league, was attracting some attention. Rolph, just as he was prepared to leave the scene of his success in an auto, heard E. Backus, secretary of the league, criticising the administration and stating that it had not made a fight for municipal ownership and was not on hand to celebrate the big event.

Backus declared that his league had made the real battle that won for the people the Geary street road and that it had been necessary to fight Rolph's administration in regard to other public ownership plans.

Rolph jumped from his machine, gained the speaker's permission to mount the soapbox on the curb, and, in the opinion of most of those present, made a talk that completely routed his critics.

"This is not the time to toot our horn," the mayor concluded, referring to the league's band. "Wait till we have the road running from the ferry to the beach, and have proved it to be a financial success. Then we will celebrate.

"But I am the captain of this ship, and I am going to keep it off the rocks. I am not going to listen to criticism that leads us nowhere. I am on the job, and I am just going to stay on the job until you say I'm not making good. You've got the road running, what more do you want?"

"Nothing," cried the crowd, and gave the mayor six hearty cheers and a tiger as he rode away.

It was the final stamp of approval on the municipal railway's inaugural run.

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Geary Street Troubles

From the San Francisco Call / Sunday, December 29, 1912. Page 17.


The history of the Geary street line since the expiration In 1903 of the franchise granted in 1878 to the Geary Street Railroad company has been a succession of attempts by the people of San Francisco to put through a municipal traction road, which began actual operations yesterday.

From 1902 until February 1911, when the state legislature passed a bill in suring the legality of the building and operation of the road, campaigns for bond elections were almost constantly carried on. Between popular votes and court decisions the municipal railway project seemed doomed to failure, until gradually increasing public opinion carried the bonds, 31,185 to 11,694, in December, 1909. After that it was only a question of settling technicalities.

The Geary Street, Park and Ocean Railroad company was incorporated in 1878, with a franchise that was to expire in 1902, an expiration date earlier than that of most of the old San Francisco street railway franchises. It was generally understood that when the franchise reached its time limit the first municipal railroad would be in stalled on that thoroughfare.


Despite that fact, a reputed dicker was on at least five years before the expiration for a renewal of the franchise to the company. This was blocked, and in 1902, the year when the franchise ended its life, the first municipal bond issue to buy the road was proposed by the supervisors, but a charter provision requiring a two thirds vote in its favor proved a stumbling block. Although 4,000 more votes were cast In favor of the bonds than against, the number fell short of two-thirds by 2,531.

The second election was held the following year, and again the bonds failed to carry by 2,411, After 1903 nothing was done until 1907, when the so called "boodle supervisors" authorized a bond issue of $720,000. Against this the United Savings bank brought action to nullify the authorization and its contention was upheld by the superior court.

Evidencing a strong growth of public opinion for the municipal road was the first bond election of 1909, held in June, when, despite vigorous opposition, the bonds failed to carry by only 436 votes. That was the beginning of the end of private franchises in Geary street, for in December of that year the people were victorious by a handsome margin over the two-thirds majority.

Even this did not settle the matter beyond doubt, for an injunction against the sale of the bonds was issued by Superior Judge George A. Sturtevant. The case was tried before Judge John J. Ellison of Tehama county, who promptly decided In favor of the city. An appeal to the state supreme court resulted In an affirmation of Judge Ellison's decision.

Then, in February, 1911, the state legislature passed Its bill insuring the legalty of the bonds, and the way was at last clear for the municipal railway to be built. The entire bond Issue of $400,000 was sold In April, 1912, to Adams & Co. of Boston at a premium of $2,064.


The contract for building the road was originally awarded April 1, 1912, to Bates, Borland & Ayer for $225,025, but they said that a mistake In their ' calculations had caused them to bid $30,000 too low. The supervisors held them to their contract and they accordingly forfeited the certified check for $25,000 which they had put up and relinquished the contract.

New bids were called for and April 17 P. H. Mahoney was awarded the contract on a bid of $253,695. He was allowed 180 days to finish the contract, with a bonus of $200 for every day saved.

The old road ran Its last car May 6, 1912, and construction of the city's line began two days later.

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