Friday, March 5, 2010

A visual and musical poem for your day: Market Street long ago

For regular readers of this space, you may have noticed that I try to change up the tone of things on Fridays, usually with a poem. Today I am offering something that I hope you will consider as a visual and musical poem. And like all poetry, this is personal. My journalist friend, Peter Haugen, a former Californian now in Wisconsin, sent this along. As Peter says, the film is mesmerizing. There is something about the slowness of everything that makes it seem like this was filmed on another another planet. Maybe it was.

A little explanation is in order: This is seven-minutes of footage taken from a street car moving down Market Street in San Francisco circa 1905. The music is from the first track of Airs' Moon Safari album. Note the date and place: the film was made only a few weeks before the devastating 1906 earthquake. Virtually all of the buildings you see were demolished in the earthquake and fire that followed, that is, all but one: the Ferry Building at the end of Market.

It is personal. My grandfather Arthur, on my mother's side, walked through the Ferry Building everyday on his way to work south of Market. Maybe he is one of those men waiting for a street car. Please have a look.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...


The San Francisco Utube link was fascinating. I sent it to a friend who was so intrigued that he found the footage taken just after the quake, which is here:

Rebecca Barns