|Inside front flyleaf and section tabs of an SFPD auto licenses ledger, 1903|
|San Francisco Call, May 11, 1902|
According to an ornately-illustrated article in the San Francisco Call for May 11, 1902, there were only seventeen automobiles owned by San Franciscans; and a mere six years before, "there was only one horseless vehicle in the city. It was a gasoline automobile owned by Charles I. Fair." The "Auto Licenses" ledger lists a total of 117 licenses in three classes, 98 of which are Class 2. So, the coaches, hacks, and cabs would appear to be horse-drawn, and despite the auto-specific spine label, the ledger contains a separate tab for automobiles.
|1905-1906 entries for class 2 automobile licenses in San Francisco|
From the point of view of archival practice, the aforementioned "Licenses for Vehicles, July 1886 - June 1889" ledger may not belong with the SFPD records at all. Although it was presumably received by the San Francisco History Center as part of the SFPD archive, it's actually issued from a different City department: the Office of the Collector of Licenses. The ledger lists payments received by the Collector of Licenses for the Street Department Fund. In the example pictured below, Collector T.I. O'Brien replaced one M.C. Conroy as the Collector.
|Licenses for Vehicles, 1886-1889|
To throw another wrench into the bureaucracy of vehicle licenses, the San Francisco History Center recently received a gift of an automobile permit issued by the Office of the Park Commissioners in 1905. It belonged to a C.H. Morrell, and the fee for the permit and number was in the extravagant amount of $2.00.
|License to drive in Golden Gate Park, 1905|
|License to drive in Golden Gate Park 1905|
Because the San Francisco Police Department Records are still being processed, some volumes may not yet be available for public use. Please contact the San Francisco History Center with questions at 415-557-4567.
All images are courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.