Photographic History Of LA Street Lamps

Dual Pendant Style

While looking for images of Los Angeles to use for a different post, I ran across The George A. Eslinger Street Lighting Photo Gallery on the City of LA website. Have you ever looked up to see what kind of art was lighting your evening commute? You might now.

On the site you can see images of some of the first street lights used in LA and combo pics of original poles and lights and their updated, more modern replacements. There other street lighting department images, things like crews replacing poles from the early 1900’s and today, fleets of repair trucks then and now, light poles used on bridges and historic night views of LA.

From the main gallery page:

This gallery is a tribute  to George A. Eslinger, former Director of the Bureau of Street Lighting.  Through his dedication, leadership and vision he was responsible for spearheading the implementation of  information technology solutions to make significant operational improvements in the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting.

The George A. Eslinger Street Lighting Photo Gallery

Click on through to see more images from the site.

Early city lighting “Approximately 30, 150-foot tall poles with carbon-arc lamps were installed in Downtown Los Angeles between 1882 and about 1885.  These were reported to provide illumination equal to the level of a full moon.”

Can you imagine how cool that must have been?

In Westwood:

On the left is the Westwood Special, used mostly in the earlier part of last century. There were blue and gold tiles around the base for UCLA. On the right are slightly less stylish (IMHO) which replaced the Westwood Specials “when Westwood Village determined to become the brightest lighted commercial area in the world using 1,000-watt mercury vapor lamps.”

Check these out! 1908 view of Downtown LA from Mt. Wilson:

Compared to 1988:

This is the Macy Bridge light pole, built when the bridges were constructed between 1900 – 1925.

The pole was dual use: to hold the lights themselves and also to support trolley cables for the Red Car.

3 thoughts on “Photographic History Of LA Street Lamps”

  1. Wow. Thanks for posting this. One of my favorite LA Art installations is the LA lamp display, Vermonica by Sheila Klein in the strip mall at Santa Monica & Vermont. (It pre-dates Chris Burden’s installation by 15 years.)

    Glad you noticed the trolley wire eyelets on the Macy Street Bridge. However, the Red Car didn´t cross the river here, it crossed on the Aliso St. Bridge, where the 101 Freeway is today. The Macy Street Bridge carried the “B Line” of Los Angeles Railway’s Yellow Car.

  2. Correction: Westwood Specials are still around, and in the same spot as in the photo above, which is at Kinross and Westwood Blvd. They are also along Broxton Ave. in Westwood. Blue and gold tile at the base, as well!

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