Market Street Railway


Last modified 2021-03-13 13:00:26. Initially published .

The role of Francois Pioche with the Market Street Railway is detailed in a book by Edgar M. Kahn entitled “Cable Car Days in San Francisco,” published by Stanford University in 1940. “The San Francisco Market Street Railroad Company was incorporated in 1857 and was operated as the first street-railway system in the rapidly growing community, running from Battery Street along Market, out Valencia to Seventeenth Street. Originally the management intended to run horsecars, but on account of shifting sand dunes the franchise was amended to permit steam dummies. The railway commenced service on July 4, 1860. The company had varied financial experience, was forced into receivership, sold under foreclosure, and eventually placed under the ownership of the San Francisco San Jose Railroad Company, then operating as a steam railroad between San Francisco and San Jose…“ Map of Pioche’s ownership of Rancho San Miguel seen below.


Map of San Francisco railways in 1890 with the Market Street Railway line shown in green.(Courtesy Cable Car Museum. )


“The franchise to build the Market Street Railway was granted in 1857 to Thomas Hayes and his associates…The projector of the Market Street Railway owned what was then known as “Hayes Valley,” bounded by Van Ness Avenue, Market, Haight, Pierce, and Turk Streets, and the road was pushed in order to develop the land and bring it into the market. The old banking house of Pioche, Bayerque & Co. having a mortgage upon “Hayes Valley,”deeming it in their interest to help the road, loaned the Company $100,000, and, as the road did not pay, it was ultimately sold for the debt and passed into the hands of the then owners of the San Jose Railroad, Messrs. Donahue, Newhall, and Mayne, who subsequently sold both roads to the Southern Pacific. Indeed, I think it was not considered of large value at the time by the Southern Pacific people, and it was so to speak, “thrown in” with the San Jose Road. I owned one-tenth, or 100 of 1,000 shares; the balance was owned by Hayes, who subsequently turned it over to Pioche, Bayerque & Co. at fifty cents on the dollar – the amount being credited to his land mortgage.”

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