Photo: Address Of Ed Gaida
San Antonio reader’s ablaze not absolutely a bout for acclaimed fixtures
Some years ago, I acquired this streetlight and was told it was one of abounding from city San Antonio. If it has actual significance, I would like to see it in the easily of the adapted agency. I would acknowledge your abetment in allowance in my donation of this ablaze and researching to see if it is historically significant.
─ Ron Bird
The ablaze accoutrement in the photo you beatific was fabricated to brighten a accessible amplitude but it apparently wasn’t a streetlight in the faculty of a accoutrement at the top of a alpine pole, placed at approved intervals to accomplish streets safer.
San Antonio’s aboriginal streetlights date aback to the backward 1850s, “when the San Antonio Gas Co. was founded to accomplish methane gas to ablaze the streets,” said Ed Gaida, columnist of “Sidewalks of San Antonio.” He’s been researching this affair for a accessible new copy of the book about the aboriginal canicule of avant-garde artery appearance and added conveniences we booty for granted. That gas, acclimated alone for lighting, was fabricated from a appropriate blazon of adhesive brought from Indianola by oxcart to a bulb on West Houston Artery abreast San Pedro Creek and the Santa Rosa Infirmary (later Hospital). “The breadth abutting to the bulb accustomed the aboriginal lights,” he said, “then the added flush areas like King William got gas to ablaze homes.”
Gas-powered lighting started to accord way to electricity in the 1890s, aback electric arc lights were introduced, but gas was still acclimated to ablaze King William Artery and the breadth about Travis Park until 1910 or later. Not anybody accustomed the change, said Gaida: “Residents about Travis Park army a beef aback San Antonio Accessible Service Co. (now CPS) replaced the gas lights in their area, and the aggregation reinstalled the gas fixtures.”
Gaida has scans of a archive of gas-light accessories that were awash to San Antonio, “and none of them resembles the one in your photo,” he said. “The aboriginal gas lights were not about that fancy. Bottle globes (that covered) the blaze were about consistently clear.”
Electric streetlights looked about the same, at atomic through the 1920s. “All our artery angle appearance artery lamps of assorted styles but with plain, bottle globes,” said Tom Shelton, photo babysitter at the Institute of Texan Cultures. “None looks agnate to this one (Bird’s fixture).”
The accord is that what you accept was an exoteric ablaze fixture, army on a bank abreast an access doorway. It looks like “a frequently acclimated design,” said bounded historian Maria Watson Pfeiffer, columnist of “School by the River: Ursuline Academy to Southwest School of Art” and several acknowledged National Register nominations of city buildings. Shelton begin several examples of accessories that were abutting but not exact matches to yours, all in photographs of city San Antonio barrio completed in the 1920s: the above Federal Reserve Bank, Municipal Auditorium, the Nix Building, San Pedro Branch Library, Scottish Rite Cathedral and others.
In style, they add adventurous capacity to Gothic- or Mediterranean-influenced barrio whose architecture harks aback to a abroad European past. Some of the accessories aboriginal to these barrio are still in place, and others are not. Your accoutrement is on the apparent side, compared to some of these beauties, so ornate, you admiration how any ablaze managed to escape. It ability accept been salvaged during a backup or could accept appear from a less-famous architecture that has been demolished.
Anyone with advice on its origins may acquaintance this column; all responses will be forwarded and may be appear in a approaching column.
Crafting the colors: Preservation Fort Sam Houston is hosting a children’s crafts action in red, white and dejected 1-5 p.m. July 1 at its Stilwell House address on Infantry Post at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. Children 5 and earlier may accomplish affectionate pins, bracelets and cardboard crafts. The accident is accessible to the public. For capacity and reservations, acquaintance email@example.com.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @sahistorycolumn | Facebook: SanAntoniohistorycolumn
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