Most National Landmarks and Monuments stand still, but these two are National Landmarks because they move — people from place to place.
The world’s first cable car line, on Clay Street in San Francisco, began service in August 1873. Cable cars were invented by Andrew S. Hallidie, a Scots-born mining engineer. Legend says he saw horses struggling and slipping trying to pull a railcar filled with passengers up one of San Francisco’s hills and decided to adapt his mining conveyor technology to pull rail cars, by means of an endless loop of cable under the street, between the tracks.
In 1964, San Francisco’s cable cars were named the first moving National Historic Landmark. Today, both their continued operation and minimum level of service are locked into San Francisco’s City Charter.
On September 30, 2014, New Orleans’ St. Charles streetcar line was granted national historic landmark status by the Department of the Interior, becoming the second U.S. mobile landmark. The St. Charles line was singled out as the oldest continuously operating streetcar system in America, having operated on the lines tracks since 1923.