Moonlight Towers

In the late 19th-century, some towns used moonlight towers (or moontowers) instead of street lamps. These towers were very tall, ranging from 165 feet to 237 feet tall! The idea was to illuminate a large part of the city with one tower instead of putting lamps on every block, which was more expensive.

The towers were designed to illuminate areas often of several blocks at once, on the "high light" principle. Arc lamps, known for their exceptionally bright and harsh light, were the most common method of illumination. As incandescent electric street lighting became common, the prevalence of towers began to wane.

The only moonlight towers that still exist today are in Austin, Texas. The photograph above is of a moonlight tower in Los Angeles in 1882. -via TYWKIWDBI

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