Moonlight Towers in Austin, Texas

Before electric street lighting became common, a number of cities, particularly in the U.S. midwest and west, where gas lighting was impractical and too expensive, and before widespread of residential electrical service provided the infrastructure to support individual street lights, installed “moonlight towers”, which provided light over a wide area comparable in intensity to that of a half or full Moon. They allowed use of carbon arc lamps, which were too intense, harsh, and high-maintenance for use in individual lights.

Most of these towers are now retired, but Austin, Texas preserved its moonlight towers as a historical monument. The original carbon arc lamps, subsequently replaced by incandescent and then mercury vapour bulbs, have now been supplanted by LED lamps.

The mind virus has reached Texas, or at least Austin (4:31 in the video): “every holiday season, one of those moonlight towers … is used to put up hundreds and hundreds of bulbs that look like [a] holiday tree …”. Merry holiday!