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Austin Moonlight Towers – Forgotten in Plain Sight
Moonlight towers are streetlights which were commonplace in American cities during the late 1800s. Today, the only moontowers still in use are those found in Austin, Texas. To read a well written history of the Austin towers you can visit this site: http://www.austinpostcard.com/moontower.html.
Below are pictured all but one of the 17 remaining towers.
12th and Rio Grande:
(01) This is the tower outside of the Austin Community College Rio Grande campus
(02) The historic plaque present on all of the moontowers.
Leland and East Side Drive:
(03): The tower at Big Stacey Park
South 1st and Monroe:
(04): This photo was taken at night with my cheap camera. We adjusted it for the light as best we could - kind of fun looking though.
15th and San Antonio:
(05): What’s that o’er yonder? It’s another moontower. Notice how it is clearly visible over a 2 story building.
(06): The same moontower. Here you can see how it blends into the background. I liked the contrast of the over 100 year old tower next to a brand new Starbucks.
Cesar Chavez and Trinity
(07): The base of a removed moontower covered with a traffic cone. The Austin Illumination Department said the tower would be put up again soon.
Martin Luther King Blvd and Chicon St.
9th and Guadalupe
(09): This tower is caddy corner to the Austin Public Library.
(10): Same tower with the Texas State Capital in the background.
12th and Blanco
(12) A picture straight up the middle of the tower
(13) This tower is located in an upscale area. Wonder how the residents like a streetlight with that much power outside their window?
(14) Here you can see how the support poles anchor the tower in place.
41st and Speedway
(15) A tower located in another residential area.
22nd and Nueces
(16) This tower is located near the University of Texas right off The Drag, a shopping and bar stretch.
11th and Trinity
(17) Here you can see the wires branching to the support poles. The building behind it is the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.
(18) A close-up of the hand crank elevator originally used to reach the top of the tower and light it.
Leona St. and Pennsylvania Ave.
(19) Tower located directly behind Kealing Middle School.
11th and Lydia
Lynn and Canterbury
(21) This tower had quite a few residents.
13th and Coleto
(22) Located in yet another residential area.
(23) Looking up at the Zilker tower. For a while a replica moontower stood at this spot. The replica is featured in the moontower party scene of the movie Dazed and Confused. At some point, the replica was replaced with an original tower. This tower also has extra lights at the bottom.
(24) At Christmas time strands of lights are stretched from the top of the tower to the wooden poles in the background. They form a Christmas tree of lights.
Post Script: We weren’t able to take a picture of the tower at 4th and Nueces because the tower had been removed due to a large construction project.
Complied by Stacey (photographer) and Zach (driver).
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