Biography of Andrew Smith Hallidie
By Edgar Myron Kahn
Andrew Smith Hallidie, the mechanical genius who originated
cable railway transportation, was born in London,
on March 16, 1836. His grandfather, Smith, a [Scottish]
schoolmaster and soldier during the Napoleonic wars,
had served at Waterloo. His father, Andrew Smith,
had been born in Fleming, Dumfrieshire, Scotland,
in 1798, and his mother, Julia Johnstone Smith, was
from Lockerbie, Dumfrieshire. Andrew Smith was an
engineer and inventor. Of his patents those for the
making of metal wire ropes, granted from 1835 to 1849,
were the most important. Young Andrew Smith later
adopted the surname Hallidie in honor of his godfather
and uncle, Sir Andrew Hallidie, who had been physician
to King William IV and to Queen Victoria.
His early training was of a scientific and mechanical
character, and at ten years of age he successfully
constructed an "electrical machine." When
he was thirteen he began work in a machine shop and
drawing office operated by his brother, and there
gained the practical experience that stood him in
good service during the remainder of his life. In
the evenings he continued his studies, but manual
labor during the day and study at night began to undermine
his health, so his father decided to take him to California.
His father was interested in the Frémont estate
in Mariposa County where he thought the prospects
for financial reward were extremely bright.
On January 28, 1852, the father and son left Liverpool
for America on the steamship Pacific of the Collins
Line. Several of the other passengers were also bound
for California-one a sea captain from Glasgow
who was going to San Francisco to bring home a vessel
which had been abandoned by its crew during the rush
to the gold diggings. Another fellow-traveler planned
to assemble a company in New York for the purpose
of working the gold mines by a newly-invented method
of his own, from which he expected to make a large
fortune in two years. The Pacific arrived in New York
on February 12, after a fifteen day crossing.
After a stopover of sixteen days, the father and son
departed for Chagres on the Brother Jonathan. This
ship had been fitted up hurriedly for the California
trade and was poorly built and badly equipped. She
was of 1700 tons burden, with accommodations for 700
passengers. So great was the demand for accommodations
that passengers were crammed and jammed together in
most unsanitary quarters, many close to the engine
room and ship's galley where the atmosphere was stifling.
After crossing the Isthmus the travelers reached Panama
on March 15. On the 26th they embarked on the ship
Brutus, Captain D. C Mitchell, and landed at Clark's
Point in San Francisco fifty- nine days later.
Andrew Smith and his son first went to inspect the
mines in Mariposa County, but, being disappointed
in his venture there, the father returned to England
in 1853. The son remained in California, and for the
next three or four years tried his hand at mining-first
with pick, pan, and rocker, then with long tom and
sluice. Traveling the trails, he set up claims in
Mokelumne Hill, Campo Seco, Volcanoville, Michigan
Bluff, and elsewhere. With his mining activities he
interspersed other work, such as blacksmithing, surveying
water ditches, roads, and trails, and building bridges.
The winter of 1852 found him in Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras
County. There, in a ravine near the town, with two
companions he worked a claim faithfully for six or
seven weeks, making from $3.00 to $4.00 per week,
"just enough to starve on, with beans, pork,
and coffee, and pork, coffee, and beans for a change."
When just about to quit, they found a crevice in the
rock which yielded them each over an ounce ($16.00)
per day. This petered out, however, in a few weeks,
and Hallidie moved on to another camp called Buckeye.
Unable to work his claim there profitably, he returned
to San Francisco.
Hearing reports of rich diggings in the Kern River
region, in 1853, Hallidie and some companions rigged
up a wagon and team and started for the new diggings.
Once again he met with failure and disappointment,
for "the dirt showed little more than a color
of gold to the pan, and after a very brief stop we
turned back-sadder, but I am not sure if much
For the next three or four years he drifted from one
mining camp to the next, in Calaveras, Amador, El
Dorado, Placer, and Nevada counties, hoping for a
change of luck, and made occasional visits to San
Francisco. Several times he almost lost his life:
once a bank under which he was working caved in; in
Mokelumne Hill he was attacked by a band of Mexicans;
once he was caught in the midst of a forest fire;
he barely escaped when a blast exploded prematurely
in a shaft at the end of a 600-foot tunnel; at another
time he fell twenty-five feet from a suspension bridge;
at Gray Eagle Bar, on the Middle Fork of the American
River, he was carried on a piece of timber over the
rapids for half a mile; and the four horses pulling
a Concord stagecoach in which he was riding from Nevada
City to Lincoln ran away with him when the driver
left them standing in front of a hotel.
At Gray Eagle Bar, on the Middle Fork of the American
River, he did blacksmithing for the miners, repairing
and tempering their tools. Before the winter of 1854-1855
set in, he gathered all the old rifles and firearms
available, repaired them, and joined a company organized
to drive out the Indians who had been committing depredations
among the miners on the "Divide." This campaign
was successful and rid the district of the molesters,
but the company was overtaken by snow and suffered
considerable hardships. Later in the same winter,
with an experienced caterer, he took charge of Cunningham's
Restaurant at Michigan Bluff. This venture was anything
but profitable, and it was only by hard toil that
he was able to make ends meet. Through a supreme effort
and with the aid of his few books, he managed to keep
his mind active and overcame the depraving and depressing
influences surrounding him. In 1855, at Horse Shoe
Bar, on the Middle Fork of the American River, when
he was only nineteen, he constructed a wire suspension
bridge and aqueduct of 220 feet span for conveying
water in an open flume, three feet wide and two feet
In I856, Hallidie built a ditch and flume for a quartz
mill, situated at American Bar, two miles above Gray
Eagle Bar. The mine was on a hillside eleven hundred
feet above the mill. The rock was delivered to the
mill in car running by force of gravity. The loaded
cars in descending brought up the "empties"
for refilling. The rope to which the cars were attached
wore out after seventy-five days. He proposed to substitute
a wire rope which would cost less and last longer.
The owners accepted his proposition. He improvised
machinery, sent to San Francisco for wire, and made
a wire rope one-eighth of an inch thick and twelve
hundred feet long consisting of three pieces spliced
together, which did its work for two years. This was
the beginning of the manufacture of wire rope in California.
Hallidie abandoned mining in 1857 and returned to
San Francisco, bringing with him the machinery he
had constructed at American Bar. Under the name of
A. S. Hallidie & Co., he commenced the manufacture
of wire rope in an unpretentious building at Mason
and Chestnut Streets. Through the courtesy of Captain
D. C. Mitchell (of the ship Brutus), office space
was given them in the ship chandlery firm of Southgate
& Mitchell, on Battery Street between Jackson
and Pacific. Thomas Bradford was also associated with
Hallidie in the manufacture of wire rope, and they
continued their experiments, using some of Hallidie's
father's inventions. Bradford withdrew from the company
in 1860, and his interest in the firm was acquired
by J. M. Eckfeldt and Hiram T. Graves.
Hallidie's reputation as a builder of suspension bridges
grew. In 1861, he constructed a bridge across the
Klamath River at Weitchpeck, but had to leave it unfinished
because of an uprising of Indians. During that and
the next year he built bridges at Nevada City, across
the American River at Folsom, and across the Bear,
Trinity, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne rivers, although
hampered by severe floods.
Hallidie enjoyed recalling his experiences when he
was constructing a wire suspension bridge across Deer
Creek in the vicinity of Nevada City in the fall of
1861. In all his construction work after the outbreak
of the Civil War he made it a rule, as soon as bridge
towers were raised, to erect a flagstaff and float
the American flag from sunrise to sunset. The towers
of the Deer Creek span rose forty-five feet above
the road, and from the top waved a sixteen-foot American
flag attached to a thirty-foot pole. The Stars and
Stripes were thus made a permanent feature that could
be seen from all parts of the town.
Demands were made upon Hallidie that the flag be taken
down. His reply was, "The flag is here to stay."
As it happened, the men employed on the bridge were
good Northern sympathizers, and were ready for any
form of excitement. Nothing of any consequence occurred
until one noon, when the men were all at dinner in
the rear of the nearby boarding house. Hallidie remained
in the front room, where he could observe what was
going on outside without being seen. Three men arrived,
seemingly to look at the bridge, which was not an
unusual procedure. Other men followed, casting furtive
glances toward the halyard and the flag. Hallidie
stepped into the dining room and told the boys what
he suspected was going to happen, and reminded them
that both tar and feathers were available on the premises.
He then ordered his employees not to come out unless
he whistled. By that time there were ten or twelve
men on the bridge, and their intentions were evidently
to haul down the flag. While waiting for a move on
the part of the raiding party, impatience overcame
obedience, and the entire crew came tumbling out of
the boarding house and rushed to the bridge with such
impetuosity that the outsiders beat a hasty retreat.
The flag continued to fly.
Another favorite story of Hallidie's concerned his
experiences in the summer of 1862 when he was constructing
a bridge across the Bear River. In conversation with
one of the political bosses of Grass Valley, Hallidie
was informed of an election which was to take place
shortly and was asked whether he was interested in
politics. He replied that he did not generally participate
in local elections outside of his own town. When he
was advised that the district was Democratic and for
the past several years there had been no opposition,
in fact, no Republican votes had been cast, he became
interested. Finally he asked, "Do you mean, Mr.
Brush, no Republican votes are cast?" "Yes,"
he replied. "As I am a Democrat and have quite
large interests here, I have tried to keep it so [Democratic]-with
the aid of my friends." Hallidie remarked that
there were some well-to-do farmers in the neighborhood
and asked if they were all Democrats. "Well,
I don't know," replied Brush, "but I would
not like to have our uniform Democratic returns disturbed."
"I suppose every man can vote as he pleases,"
said Hallidie. "Oh yes," Brush replied,
"if they vote the Democratic ticket." Then
he added, "I notice that you have a flag flying
on top of the bridge tower." Hallidie replied,
"I always do when the tower is raised. It is
good luck, and the flag of our country." The
conversation became quite heated, Brush insisting
that the flag be taken down and warning Hallidie that
if it were not he would soon have many enemies in
Grass Valley. Brush left in a fit of anger and warned
Hallidie not to interfere in the coming election.
The more Hallidie reflected, the more he was disturbed.
Several days later, two of his men came to him and
asked for time out to get a flagpole for the coming
election. Hallidie approved, since there was none
at the polls. He gave them permission to do this on
company time and offered $16.00 extra pay if they
got a really good pole. He next called in his bookkeeper,
a bright, pleasant fellow from Philadelphia, a loyal
Union man. Hallidie instructed him to call on the
neighbors to see whether they all were Democrats,
and if not, why they did not vote. The report showed
a large number of Republicans, but.... "as they
did not care to get their heads broken, they stayed
away from the polls." Hallidie sent for his foreman
and asked him to ascertain the political views of
his men, and to put on the job as many additional
Republicans as he could. Thus the payroll increased
considerably around election time. Farmers and others
were told to come to the polls and were assured that
peace would reign and that they could vote as they
pleased. The result of the election was not only a
Republican victory, but also the regaining of political
freedom for the district.
In 1863, Hallidie was called upon to design and erect
a wire suspension bridge, ten miles above Fort Yale
on the Fraser River. He has left us a record of some
of his experiences in this engineering project:
....Everything of iron or steel for the bridge was
prepared in San Francisco and shipped by steamer to
Victoria, Vancouver Island-which at that time
was a free port-thence by [another] steamer
to New Westminster on the Fraser River and thence
by light-draft steamers to Fort Yale. These latter
steamers were owned by Captain Wright, who was generally
called Bully Wright.
The work of bridge building required long exposure
to the elements and lengthy absences from San Francisco.
This experience hastened the decision which he made,
in 1865, to devote himself exclusively to the development
and manufacture of wire rope. The discovery of vast
deposits of silver in the Comstock greatly increased
the demand for cables.
The material for the bridge formed a pretty good load
for the stern-wheel steamer, but everything went well
until on the third day we reached Emery's Bar, about
three miles below Yale-here the stream proved
too much for her. Spring lines were run out, and every
device known to steamboat men tried without success-even
a barrel of pitch was broached and fed into the furnace
to keep up steam and a sixty-three- pound bundle of
wire was hung on the safety valve. The heat of the
fires blistered the paint and drove the passengers
clear aft, but all without effect, and the captain,
one of Bully Wright's sons, decided to land his cargo
on the Bar, and returned to New Westminster, where
his father gave him a blessing and sent him back with
instructions to land the freight at Yale [even] if
he made a dozen trips.
He returned, took on one-fourth of the cargo, tried
again, again was defeated. He then arranged with Indians
to canoe the material up the river to Yale....
In course of time the material was all landed at the
site of the bridge, which was a long distance from
anywhere or any place where anything could be obtained,
hence great care had to be exercised in providing
everything that was likely to be required for the
Hallidie was married to Martha Elizabeth Woods, the
daughter of a prominent Sacramento pioneer, in November
1863. They had no children. On January 4, 1864, in
San Francisco, he was admitted to United States citizenship
under his own name of Andrew Smith.
In 1867 Hallidie took out his first patent for the
invention of a rigid suspension bridge, and in the
years thereafter he took out numerous patents for
his inventions. Among these was the "Hallidie
Ropeway [or Tramway]," a method of transporting
ore and other material across mountainous districts
by means of an elevated, endless traveling line, which
he had invented in 1867.
He foresaw that one of the greatest drawbacks to the
successful working of the arrangement would be the
mutilation or breaking of the cable, and to counteract
this he developed a crucible steel cable with six
strands of nineteen wires each. Each wire was .062
of an inch diameter, had a tensile strength of 160,000
pounds per square inch area, and was capable of bending
over itself with a round turn, straightening out and
repeating at the same spot without fracture.
In 1871, he completed plans by which street cars could
be propelled by underground cables. In a report to
the Mechanics' Institute he tells of the inception
of the idea:
I was largely induced to think over the matter from
seeing the difficulty and pain the horses experienced
in hauling the cars up Jackson Street, from Kearny
to Stockton Street, on which street four or five horses
were needed for the purpose-the driving being
accompanied by the free use of the whip and voice,
and occasionally by the horses falling and being dragged
down the hill on their sides, by the car loaded with
passengers sliding on its track.....
At that time Hallidie had successfully installed a
number of rope-ways in the mining districts of California.
Great iron buckets containing rock and ore were carried
across deep chasms and up precipitous mountain sides,
where it was impossible to build bridges or roads.
He undertook to adapt the same system to the propulsion
of street cars up the hills of the city. The enterprise
called for an endless wire rope, underground, to which
a car could be attached, and from which it could be
released at will.
.... With the view of obviating these difficulties,
and for the purpose of reducing the expense of operating
street railways (tram-roads), I devoted all my available
time to the careful consideration of the subject,
and so far matured my plans that I had California
Street (a very steep street in San Francisco) surveyed
[between Kearny and Powell streets, a distance of
1,386 feet] in 1870 by an engineer of the name of
David R. Smith, and in the Sacramento Record, a newspaper
published in the City of Sacramento, California, in
1870, a statement is there published in its telegraphic
news of what I proposed to do, viz: to run a rope
railway to carry passengers from the city to the plateau
The next step was to secure the necessary capital
for a demonstration. Discouragement only served to
make Hallidie more determined. During the following
twelve months Hallidie succeeded in interesting three
men, the only ones among his friends and business
associates who could be induced to help. Even they
were dubious about the feasibility of the project
and were induced to participate under the pressure
of a strong friendship. Their names were Joseph Britton,
of the well-known firm of lithographers and mapmakers,
Britton & Rey; Henry L. Davis, a former sheriff
of the City and County of San Francisco; and James
Moffitt, of the long established wholesale paper house
of Blake, Moffitt & Towne-all of whom had
been associated with him in organizing the Mechanics'
Institute. With their assistance, a company was formed
in 1872, and Clay Street, in preference to California
Street, was selected as offering lower construction
costs and being a generally more suitable location
to "try the thing."
The cable railway was constructed from the intersection
of Clay and Kearny Streets to the crest of the hill,
a distance of 2,800 feet, making a rise of 307 feet.
Accordingly, a franchise was obtained, a new survey
made, and subscriptions to purchase stock were invited.
The public responded only to the extent of one hundred
and twenty shares. Even those few shares were soon
turned back to the company, so great was the force
of unfavorable public opinion, concurred in by the
best engineering talent in the West. Periodical newspapers,
of discouragement seized the three men. Hallidie would
spent hours using convincing arguments to show that
the plan would actually work. A circular was issued
carefully describing the project. An office was taken
in the Clay Street Bank Building, and a working model
was placed on exhibition. Finally, by persistent solicitation
through canvassers among the property owners on the
hill, pledges totaling $40,000 were obtained, to be
paid upon completion of the undertaking. However,
pledgors to the total of only $28,000 met their obligations.
Hallidie himself contributed $20,000, all he had,
and his three friends, about $40,000. An additional
$30,000 was obtained (through Mr. Burr, of the Clay
Street Bank) by a ten-year loan bearing ten per cent
interest-a mortgage on the property being given
Meanwhile, the expiration date of the franchise was
approaching and the cable road still existed "only
in the fertile mind of its inventor," and there
everybody assured everybody else it would remain.
In May 1872, money matters were finally arranged,
and courageously, although with precious little encouragement
from others, Hallidie started his engineering task.
Each day brought a new difficulty to solve. Undreamed
of problems swarmed up out of the so-called hole in
the ground. A less determined man would have given
up in despair. Patterns had to be devised for the
machinery and the numberless parts-all by the
one man on whom rested the responsibility for ultimate
success or failure.
The first day of August 1873 was approaching. If on
that date no cable car was running, all rights would
expire and everything would be lost. Desperate efforts
to complete the building of the cable road were made,
and at a little past the midnight hour Of July 31,
a few tired, nervous men met at the power house located
at the corner of Leavenworth and Clay Streets. All
night, with feverish anxiety, they had been watching
the hurried efforts of the workmen.
Within the power house, furnace fires roared under
the boilers which were blowing off their overload
of hissing steam which seemed to be angered at being
harnessed to do such unaccustomed work. At last, all
was ready. The engine started, very slowly at first,
and as the tension took up the slack of the several
thousand feet of cable, the steady hum was heard of
the endless rope in its long tube under the surface
of the street. The grip car was put in place. The
brakes, crude, straight levers pressing on the wheels,
were applied and found to be effective.
The final moment of success or failure had arrived.
At five o'clock in the morning on August 1, 1873,
the group, consisting of Hallidie and his associates,
stood at the top of the Clay Street hill at the Jones
Street crossing. Day was breaking. A dense fog was
coming through the Golden Gate and was rolling over
Nob and Russian hills. The bottom of the steep Clay
Street grade was obscured by the early morning mist.
From the open slot near the middle of the street came
a mysterious rattle. Hallidie listened intently, nodded
with an air of satisfaction and ordered, "All
The workmen next pushed the car forward to the brow
of the hill at Jones Street where the slot and tube
commenced and adjusted the curiously shaped grip wheel.
The grip, which was Hallidie's invention, moved up
and down by means of a screw and nut on a hand wheel,
and fastened its jaws securely to the cable. Hallidie,
assuring his friends not to become uneasy as there
was no cause for alarm, sprang to the levers; instantly
the car and its human freight dropped out of sight
into the mist below.
The bottom was reached in safety, after the grip had
been tried several times on the way down. The car
was stopped at the crossings, then started up, the
cable was dropped and picked up again, and various
tests were carried on. At the bottom of the hill,
at Kearny Street, the so-called "dummy"
was reversed by the operation of a turntable, the
grip was again fastened to the cable, and off went
the car up the Clay Street grade.
The successful test was accepted soberly. It was a
solemn affair and only a round of silent hand shaking
gave expression to the men's feelings. The town was
asleep. An enthusiastic Frenchman thrust his nightcapped
head out of a window as the car went by and threw
a faded bouquet. His was the only demonstration.
Hallidie lived to see the fruition of his many years
of strenuous efforts. Cable railroads spread to Oakland,
Los Angeles, Kansas City, Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia,
New York, London, and Sidney. Many of his inventions
were used, and the collection of large royalties for
a long period made him wealthy. In later years he
enjoyed relating how he lost a substantial sum through
an oversight. In spite of being thoroughly familiar
with the problems and after years of experimenting
with the cable system, he overlooked the importance
of patenting a slot sufficiently narrow to keep out
the carriage wheels. The practical application of
a narrow slot made it possible to operate cable cars
on the city streets.
Hallidie deservedly took his place among San Francisco's
honored citizens and devoted much of his time to the
general welfare of the community. In a reminiscent
mood, Hallidie commented:
has become so endeared to me was an accidental love,
and brought about by circumstances over which I had
no control. I was a passenger in the bark that carried
me on in the voyage of life and took me to a land
in which my experiences of early youth were not accompanied
by the gentleness of polish of the family surroundings
which sweet memory still treasures of in the dim shadows
He gained recognition and prominence through his participation
on the platform and in the press in the discussion
of the burning issues of the day. His brilliant articles
on labor organization and kindred subjects attracted
Hallidie's desire to associate with men of intelligence
brought him into the Mechanics' Institute. Almost
from the organization's inception he worked tirelessly
toward its progress. Much of the credit goes to Hallidie
for laying the solid foundation upon which this organization
was established. Hallidie became a trustee and vice-president
in 1864 and served as president from 1868-1877. The
beginnings of the Mechanics' Institute were reviewed
in an address delivered by Halladie before the Librarians'
Association of Central California on December 11,
1896, when he summarized some of the Institute's historical
....On 21 June 1865, the Institute hired a room on
the 4th floor of the Express Building [Kohl Building],
corner Montgomery and California streets, owned by
Sam Brannan. As there were no mechanical elevators
in those days, the ascent of four flights of stairs
showed a devotion to the cause, both inspiring and
September 12 a financing statement was rendered, and
it was found after providing for all liabilities $125.00
remained in the treasury and that the library possessed
Mr. Root was appointed librarian on April 5, but failing
to qualify, the Board on July 31 appointed Mr. P.
B. Dexter, perhaps considering it more appropriate
for an institution not yet firmly rooted and requiring
dexterous manipulation for its successful maintenance.
The press of the city contributed two copies each
of the daily journals and thus the reading room was
It was due to Hallidie's efforts that the British
Patent Office made a gift to the Institute of a full
continuous set of its reports. This was the only complete
set west of St. Louis and was unfortunately destroyed
by the fire of 1906. In 1893 Hallidie resumed the
Institute's presidency and served until 1895.
Hallidie's chief efforts were directed toward promoting
educational progress. He was most active as a regent
of the University of California from the first meeting
of the board in 1868 to his death, and acted as secretary
at the preliminary meetings. He was a member of the
building committee, and from 1873 was chairman of
the finance committee. The successful handling of
the funds of the University was attributed to him.
He made the first donation to the University Library
in 1869, when he presented it with several hundred
volumes of rare theological works. He was also deeply
interested in manual training and was one of the leading
spirits in the management of the California School
of mechanical Arts, and the Wilmerding Training School.
In 1873 he served as a commissioner to investigate
the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institution. That same year
he was nominated for the State senate, and in 1875
for mayor of San Francisco, by the Independent party;
but in both cases he was defeated. For several years
he was president of the Manufacturers' Association
of California and also of the board of trustees of
the Children's Hospital.
In 1878, and again in 1886, he was elected a member
of the Board of Freeholders to frame and propose a
charter for the City and County of San Francisco.
In December 1884, the Chamber of Commerce, the Board
of Trade, and the Manufacturer's Association appointed
him a delegate to represent California at the inauguration
of Porfirio Diaz as President of Mexico.
The California Wire Works was incorporated in 1883
with Hallidie as president. The company was the outgrowth
of the A. S. Hallidie Co. (1870). On June 29, 1895,
the wire rope manufacturing machinery was sold to
Washburn and Moen Co., the oldest manufacturers of
wire in the United States (established in I831).
Hallidie served as trustee of the First Unitarian
Church, and as its moderator in 1883 and 1884. He
held memberships in the American Society of Inventors,
American Geographical Society, California Academy
of Sciences, and other scientific and literary bodies.
He was a member of the old California Historical Society
and of the Pacific-Union, Olympic, and Sierra clubs.
Hallidie served for many years as a trustee of the
Free Public Library of San Francisco.
Although he traveled extensively, Hallidie was a man
of domestic tastes. He felt at his best in his library,
and his books were his closest friends. He was uncompromising
in his ideas of right and wrong, and his standards
with respect to fair dealing and general morality
were very high.
On April 24, 1900, at the age of sixty-five, Hallidie
died of heart disease at his San Francisco residence.
Impressive funeral services were held in the First
Unitarian Church. Dr. Horatio Stebbins delivered the
eulogy and said in part:
....Hallidie belonged to that class of men who are
called by way of distinction, self-made men. He was
not only an intelligent, but, in a certain sense,
a learned man....
His body was laid to rest in Laurel Hill Cemetery.
He had that background of reserve power and discipline.....
....For those who were dependent upon him in any way,
for those in whose blood flowed a kindred strain,
he was surpassingly good..... All he could do was
for them, and he left a host of silent friends....
into whose hearts that kindness has fallen like gentle
showers upon the thirsty earth.
Hallidie's name is perpetuated in the Hallidie Building
at 130 Sutter Street, between Montgomery and Kearny,
San Francisco. Within the entrance of this building
is a plaque bearing the inscription:
NAMED IN HONOR OF
ANDREW SMITH HALLIDIE
BORN IN LONDON, ENGLAND
MARCH SIXTEEN 1836
DIED IN SAN FRANCISCO APRIL TWENTY-FOUR 1900-
CREATOR OF OUR CABLE RAILWAY-TWICE
MEMBER OF A BOARD OF FREEHOLDERS
CHOSEN TO FRAME A CHARTER
FOR THIS CITY-REGENT OF THE
UNIVERSITY FROM THE FIRST MEETING
OF THE BOARD JUNE NINE 1868 TO
THE DAY OF HIS DEATH-DURING HIS
LAST TWENTY-SIX YEARS DEVOTED
CHAIRMAN OF ITS FINANCE COMMITTEE
A MAN OF INTEGRITY
Edgar Myron Kahn, a graduate of
Stanford University, is associated with the brokerage
firm of J. Barth & Co., San Francisco. His manuscript
on San Francisco during the period of Hallidie's activities,
entitled "Cable Car Days," will be published
in the near future by Stanford University Press.
California Historical Society Quarterly, June