Here's where you can find out what makes the cable car
so special. Start by acquainting yourself with the machine itself. Hop on the Powell-Mason line
or the Powell-Hyde line
either downtown or in the Fisherman's Wharf
area. Ask the conductor to let you know when you get to the museum, which is in a 1907 red brick cable car barn and powerhouse at the corner of Washington and Masonic streets, near Chinatown. Here's where you can see the giant steel wire circuitry
that propels the cable cars forward. You can also see three antique model cable cars
, including the first one built in 1873, lots of old photographs, and a short film showing how cable cars work. Fun for history buffs.