The original film, uncovered by film historian David Kiehn, and also available on YouTube (we prefer this version, paired with Air's soothing "La Femme d'Argent," ourselves), was shot by the Miles Brothers via the front of a street car only days before the 1906 earthquake and resulting fires ravaged the city's downtown area. Most of the buildings no longer exist in the versions seen on this film.
Equally amazing is the mass of horse-drawn carriages, bicyclists, pedestrians, and freshly introduced automobiles that cross the streetcar's path throughout the trip.
These traffic patterns were likely comparable with those traveling through the west side of New York City during the same time period, when the volume of accidents between freight trains and street-level traffic on 10th Avenue caused it to be dubbed "Death Avenue." It's easy to see why an elevated structure like the High Line could bring so much value to the area.
Read more about High Line History.