The good folks at Muni busted out a 1950s-era Muni Mack bus this weekend, and let transit lovers hop onboard and enjoy it in its fully restored glory, as part of a “120 years of SFMTA” exhibit happening over that the Harvey Milk Photo Center.
The annual event Muni Heritage Day usually happens over the summer or early fall, and the SFMTA busts out all of the old throwback, vintage buses and streetcars from decades past that have been retired and restored to their former glory.
But in conjunction with a new photo exhibit called "120 years: SFMTA Photo Archive 1903-2023," the transit agency brought out a special treat Saturday, and let people tour a 1956 Muni bus on Saturday at Duboce Park, according to the Chronicle.
The exhibit is inside the Harvey Milk Photo Center, which is adjacent to the park.
Get a double dose of transit history this Saturday, Jan. 27! Join a guided tour of our 120 years of Transportation Exhibit at the Harvey Milk Photo Center at 11 a.m. & catch a special appearance by this vintage Muni bus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.! Details: https://t.co/CDi6mrVbyC. pic.twitter.com/fhixe4sClz— SFMTA (@SFMTA_Muni) January 23, 2024
The bus above is known as Mack bus 2230, and yes it was made by Mack of Mack Trucks fame. According to Muni’s vintage Mack bus explainer, the transit agency actually leased them from Mack in the 1950s, not buying them, to save money.
“For over a decade, Mack buses were a staple on the streets of San Francisco,” according to SFMTA. “Starting in 1969, Muni began replacing the Macks with a fleet of GMC buses and by the mid-1970s all but a few had been returned to Mack as per the lease agreement.”
Yet Muni got this one back, after having located it in a scrap yard in Arizona. Per the Chronicle, the restoration took eight years, but it has its vintage Pepsi bottle cap advertisements restored, and per SFMTA, “Even period-correct advertisements and passenger signs were recreated for a fully authentic ride!”
The Chronicle notes another retro quality this bus has, the words “Gus + Gloria” scrawled into the bus’s interior walls, with a heart scratched around the inscription. For authenticity, those scrawlings are even dated May 8, 1969. “It has the date and everything, so we thought we should keep it,” Muni maintenance worker Anthony Gelardi told the Chronicle.
Again, this was a one-day promotion for a photo exhibit called "120 years: SFMTA Photo Archive 1903-2023." That exhibit claims to capture “everything from buses and streetcars on the streets to major historical events, the images inadvertently document the growth of San Francisco from a sandy backwater to a major metropolis.” It will remain on display at the Harvey Milk Photo Center (50 Scott Street) for one more week until February 3, with display hours being Tuesday-Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
First Friday of the month means the Castro Art Walk is back from 5 to 8 pm! Our 120 Years of Transportation Exhibit will be open at the Harvey Milk Photo Center, so stop by & check out our historic collection of images! Exhibit details in this link: https://t.co/6HFjhZG381 pic.twitter.com/xu4j2Jktyw— SFMTA (@SFMTA_Muni) January 5, 2024