Fond Farewell to Transbay Terminal

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) _ Hundreds got a last chance to say goodbye to a piece of San Francisco history on Friday.

The Transbay Terminal, which opened in 1939 , had its heyday near the end of World War II, serving 26 million bus and train passengers a year at its peak.

It’s set for demolition next week. Gene Summers said he’s worked at the building seemingly forever.

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“I’ve been here for 38 years. Fixed whatever was broken,” he said.

Mark Boyd said he was fond of the long gone Cuddles Bar, an old cocktail lounge which was integrated for the times.

“I’d get off work, come back here, stop and have a drink,” said Boyd. “This was a neighborhood bar without a neighborhood. We had everybody here. We had executives, we had pimps. In fact, I was the coach of the softball team.”

The building also featured a diner and a state police office. The tiny jail cell was built for train robbers.

But within just a few years, Joyce Roy said the grand building was chopped up to make way for more modern means of transportation.

“It was a very futuristic looking building. But things happen,” she said. “A couple of years after it was opened, some of the train lines went broke. So there were fewer riders than expected. And after the war, people started buying cars.”

Over the years, the terminal declined into little more than a big bus stop, as businesses boarded up and amenities disappeared.

The 71-year-old building is being replaced by a $4 billion transit center that will house buses, commuter trains and high-speed rail.

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