The Journal of San Diego History
January 1956, Volume 2, Number 1

THE PLAN FOR THE CABLE CAR, reproduced in the center spread of this issue, did not come easily. Photographs were, of course, available but what about actual dimensions, in feet and inches? The problem was solved a few months ago when members of the Railway Historical Society located, in a back yard in Logan Heights, the mortal remains of Car No. 54 of the long-gone — and lamented — San Diego Electric Railway. Now, No. 54 was built from parts of two of the cable cars and certain of those parts — notably the body and the clerestory — were unchanged. An afternoon of crawling over it with tape-line and note-book provided the basic dimensions, with which the photographs could be oriented and a plan reproduced.

For the benefit of model-builders, it should be noted that as printed herein, the plan comes out to “0” gauge — and we wish you luck when you get working on those 7-spoke wheels!

THE WHALEBACK STEAMER is a type usually associated with the Great Lakes. It was a cause of some wide-eyed wonder, therefore, when we recently received, from the San Francisco Maritime Museum, a photo of one of these odd-looking craft, steaming serenely up San Diego Bay, with the Coronado shoreline and the old Iturbide Hotel in the background. The photo is by the Elite Studio, which operated from around 1887 to well beyond the turn of the century. Does anyone have information on whalebacks in the local trade?

TO RETURN TO “RAPID TRANSIT” — The question has been asked as to how the, huge and heavy cable was threaded into the slot, and around all the sheaves and bearings, when the track was completed. It was simple; they just hitched the cable to the “grip” on one of the cars, at the end of the line, and with a 20-horse team hauled it out to the power-house and back. Then the two ends were spliced together, and it was ready to go.