Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Old street lights Previous Next
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Middleageguy
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Username: Middleageguy

Post Number: 29
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 6:03 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey, is there anyone who can tell what years some of the really old street lights were installed? There are some that are painted that cool old green and hang by 2 wires! Or, post photos of some, and someone else can "date" them.
I can't cuz I am in KY.

Peace
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Harsensis
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Username: Harsensis

Post Number: 281
Registered: 07-2005
Posted on Friday, May 04, 2007 - 7:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't know what year those were started, but the ones before that were huge arc lights way up in the sky that spread light over a large distance.

The guy who owns motor city electric has two of the lights your talking about working at his place on Harsens Island.
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Busterwmu
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 389
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 3:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroit has an eclectic mix of streetlights across the city (and including Highland Park and Hamtramck), from posts dating from the late 1800s all the way to modern installations, telephone pole-mounted styles to throwback historic designs being used on Michigan Ave and downtown. Here are a few of the designs you'll see out there:


1892

This is the original Bishop type streetlight. 1892 is an approximate date, from the years just before that newfangled electricity became mainstay. Note the bracket pegs for the lamplighters of the late 19th Century to go about their job, individually lighting each lamp. The bowling pin finial on the top of the post gives away the Bishop style. Many of these earliest streetlights feature wooden poles. This example is found on Junction near Holy Redeemer - along with many of its sisters. Many others are scattered on both side and major streets throughout the city.




Bishop design. This later design was in use during the early 20th Century. It is identical to the previous design, but lacks the climbing pegs and usually features a steel pole rather than a wooden one. This is the type that is being reproduced around the city around Comerica Park, Ford Field, on Broadway, and on some stretches of Michigan Ave. Some original Bishops are also being rumored to be taken down, refurbished, and reinstalled along with the new reconstructions. This photo is along Grand River.


1916

1916 design. This was pioneered during a massive street widening project undertaken on most spoke roads and others in and following this year. Noted by the fancy bracketwork holding the lamp fixture to the pole, and the decorative pineapple on the top of the pole. There are some good stands of these remaining on Fort below SW High School to the Rouge River Drawbridge and on Grand River. New style lights remain on good stretched of the 1916 pineapple-capped poles on Michigan Ave. (from Livernois to I-96) and Gratiot in the city. Linwood also has long stretches of these streetlights. Others are scattered throughout the city. Below is one such great stand of the 1916 style streetlights along Linwood.




To be continued...
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Detroitgalaxian
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Username: Detroitgalaxian

Post Number: 12
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 4:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Argh! Don't stop! This is incredible information. I've been wondering about the eras of these lightpoles for ages. Thanks for the great info!
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Urbanize
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Username: Urbanize

Post Number: 1248
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 11:26 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The "bishop" lights are still found in portions of Black Bottom and (the eastern end of) Paradise Valley. (Maybe) Those other ones are found along Outer Drive and Van Dyke.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 1325
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 11:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The poles with bracket pegs were carbon arc streetlights when new, the "lamplighter" as you called him would use those to change the carbons, so he was more a "carbon changer". They came on by themselves when the power was turned on by the PLC. One carbon was mounted on a stationary arm, the other was on a flexible bi-metal arm that would heat up from the heat generated by the burning carbons and maintain an engineered gap. The style hanging on the two wires were all carbon arc originally.
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Waxx
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Username: Waxx

Post Number: 161
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 12:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I recently posted a drawing of a sketch I did of the street lamps in Detroit and posted it on both myspace and photobucket. And I've recently been scouring through the city and taking pictures of the old lamps in the city so when I do another drawing/study of ALL the posts in Detroit, hopefully they'll be more detailed.

http://i172.photobucket.com/al bums/w23/313arts/detroitposts. jpg

Let me know what you think of this one. It's a few years old (five or six) and I plan to do a more detailed sketch-of BOTH the old and new posts-ASAP.

(Message edited by waxx on May 21, 2007)
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Stryker81
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Username: Stryker81

Post Number: 39
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 1:31 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bishop lights can also be found along Cass and the other side roads around the Wayne State area.
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Waxx
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Username: Waxx

Post Number: 162
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 2:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Whoever started this thread, PLEASE keep it goin'. This subject may sound petty to some, but to those who are into the nitty-gritty historic details about our city, this is worth talking about. This IS a good thread!

BTW, Has anyone been on the Woodward bridge lately? the new(er) bishop-style posts are on that bridge AND they go past 8 Mile!
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Dan_the_man
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Username: Dan_the_man

Post Number: 14
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 5:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So is the wooden pole on the original bishop style lights from the original installation of these lights? That would mean it's survived for over 100 years exposed to the elements.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 924
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 5:23 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

In the construction trades, it's common knowledge that the wood harvested 100 years ago is much, much better in quality and durability than today's lumber. Even so, I am often surprised, especially given that the center of those poles must be bored out.
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Bulletmagnet
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Username: Bulletmagnet

Post Number: 486
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 6:50 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks to all who have posted their knowledge, photos, and drawings of the street lights that illuminate throughout our city. I have wondered often about them: when did the earliest (and still surviving) fixtures get installed? Why do we have stands of one type on certain streets, and other types on other streets? Who were the designers of these lights? Does the city have any plans to keep the historical fixtures in place? Thanks for posting this thread Middleageguy, I hope we get lots of answers.
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Waxx
Member
Username: Waxx

Post Number: 163
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 11:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I hope so also, Bulletmagnet. If the city does not plan to keep the original fixtures (due 2 a lack of funds or any other inconvenient circumstance), they still have the blueprint(s) to them and-if anyone's been paying attention to the detailslately-those metal bishop-style lamps are slighty taller than their wooden counterparts by a good 6-8 inches depending on how level the sidewalk(s) are. AND if anyone's been to Mexicantown recently, the other PLC lamps that curve at the top, those are up now. AND there's an extra loop in the curve, AND they're a little shorter than the wooden ones because they have a lower base. If I take some pics of those, I will not hesitate to post them here-as long as this thread remains open-and get this, there are NEW PLC lamps in the Grandmont-Rosedale area, but unlike the 'remastered' ones downtown and in the inner-city, these are fiberglass with plastic caps, and sadly some were already demolished. Hopefully they'll be replaced and not with those replacement stems like they have on the 'ghost-town' portion of Grand River. Just some observations I've been making these past few years. Has anyone notice the old and new bishop style lamps standing side by side in certain parts of the city.......?

(Message edited by waxx on May 21, 2007)
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Waxx
Member
Username: Waxx

Post Number: 170
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Thursday, May 24, 2007 - 12:49 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t heblacklightstudio/507418160/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t heblacklightstudio/507418158/

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