First female cable car operator’s story coming to a theater near you

At age 52, Fannie Barnes, the now-retired Sacramento resident, became the first woman to operate a San Francisco cable car as a grip. Her story was made into a short documentary that will premiere at the 10th annual LUNAFEST at the Herbst Theater on Thursday. 

Why were there were no female grips before you? It requires a certain amount of upper-body strength, which a lot of women lack. The cable car weighs 8 tons, or 16,000 pounds, when empty, so it’s very difficult to stop.

How did it feel to qualify? It felt absolutely marvelous! When you’re a female doing something that’s male dominated and you become the first female to accomplish that position, it really makes you feel good. I hope that other women will realize that it’s a job that’s very much open to them.

What was the reaction of male drivers? I had more supporters than people against me. Some men were betting money that I would not qualify, but it just made me want to qualify even more.

What are you doing now that you are retired? I’ve been doing a lot of work in Africa. I’m involved with the Ghana Women’s and Children’s Collective. We opened up a school for 1,000 kids, brought them electricity, Internet, three computers and a printer.

shaughey@sfexaminer.com

Just Posted

Power outage impacts Muni subway service

The San Francico Municipal Transportation Agency said Friday morning that a power… Continue reading

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence patch things up with leather fair organizers

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and organizers of S.F.’s leather fair have patched things up.

Rare monkey born at San Francisco Zoo

A rare monkey was born at San Francisco Zoo and Gardens, zoo… Continue reading

Youth protest climate change in a Global Strike

The Global Climate Strike is expected to be one of the largest… Continue reading

Planning Commissioner Rich Hillis steps down to seek role as department head

San Francisco Planning Commissioner Richard Hillis has resigned from his post and… Continue reading

Most Read