Transportation: Streetcars, Trains, Buses

Before 1874


As Berkeley slowly grew, so did the transportation system. At first, however, few roads or trains came near the McGee and Spaulding Tracts. The perimeters were defined: Dwight Way, Sherman Way (today’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Way), University Avenue, Addison Street, California Street, and Sacramento Street were all defined, but none of the interior of the tracts was defined. Scheduled ferry service to San Francisco offered only four trips per day. Access to the McGee and Spaulding Tracts during this period required a challenging hike or renting a horse or horse cart at the pier and navigating the dusty or muddy paths.

In the same way, horse-drawn cars and steam trains had started to meet people’s needs. One of the first, in 1872, was the horse-drawn car that ran between Oakland and Sather Gate on campus via Telegraph Avenue and Broadway. This commuter service was primarily for students and faculty who were transitioning to the newly built University of California campus.

There was also a horse-drawn car service that ran on San Pablo Avenue, ending in the Oakland Wharf. After the success of San Francisco’s cable car system in 1873, the San Pablo line and another on Broadway in Oakland were converted to cable.