It’s no secret that I’m rather obsessed with Actualities, those vintage observational films made in New York City more than 100 years ago. Film cameras captured real-life, turn of the century America from 1896 – 1906.
Across the country on the West Coast — in April of 1906 — the Miles Brothers in San Francisco created “A Trip Down Market Street,” an eleven minute continuous shot movie filmed by a camera mounted on a cable car that traveled along Market St. The shot starts at 8th & Market and continues all the way to the Ferry Building.
What’s so mesmerizing about this footage, beyond the chaotic nature of traffic and pedestrian patterns one hundred years ago, is the fact that the film was shot just days before the great April 1906 earthquake (and then shipped to New York City by train on the eve of the disaster).
The entire film is available above and the 60 Minutes story about the footage is available below.