Visions of the Future: Subways!

We’re accustomed to seeing Artist Depictions Of The Future, mostly in technical magazines showing soldiers with jetpacks, robot soldiers, robots walking dogs, dogs with jetpacks, and so on. This picture, from early 1900s, is an artist depiction of “an express station of the underground railway.” This could certainly be a depiction of the Pacific Electric Railway or San Francisco’s pre-Muni rail service, given the predominance of California photos in the scrapbook. Really, it could be anywhere: subways were around at the time, so riding trains underground wouldn’t have been overly special. Electric underground trains were relatively new, and the addition of “express” is probably a sign of why this deserved attention. The future was here — where you could board a smoke-less, clean trolley underground, out of the rain, and zip through town to your destination. Only horses and those new noisy automobiles drove the streets…the future was there!