The rectangular street pattern which had been devised for the city’s downtown streets by Jasper O’Farrell and others had imposed some steep grades which were not easily negotiated by horse cars, although some attempts were made in this direction.
Consequently, most of the city’s wealthy people chose to live south of Market Street, many in an area known as South Park which came to be the location of some of the earlier mansions of to live on the side or crests of one or another of San Francisco’s spectacular hills but, for the most part, access to these areas was denied to them because these natural eminences remained inaccessible.
Added to this was another difficulty: any horse-car line that dared to ascend these hills, such as that which came to be called “Nob Hill” on California Street, would have had to face the fact that, in inclement weather, the horses would have had unsure traction on wet streets and other difficulties.
In this connection it appears that the words of John P. Young are true:
“No city in the world has been more affected by an improvement in transportation facilities than San Francisco.”
As will be seen, it was the coming of the cable car that was to make the difference.