Shedding some light
on 'historic' street fixtures
To read this article in its entirety,
see the January 2003 Midtown Messenger. To read the
HP Office's draft report and recommended policy,
click the links at right. To give input to the city
on the policy, call 261-8699, e-mail email@example.com,
or attend the Feb. 10 meeting of the Historic Preservation
Commission (Historic City Hall, Washington St. and
First Ave., 2nd Floor, 4:30 p.m.).
historic neighborhoods begin thinking of enhancing
their lighting, the "acorn" light is often
what they at first think they want. However, that's
a problem, according to both city and state historic
preservation (HP) officials.
present, according to city Lead Preservation Planner Kevin
Weight, the only historic districts with extant original
lighting are Encanto-Palmcroft and Ashland Place. "From
what I understand there are actually a couple of different
fixtures in Encanto and the acorn is similar to one of
them," Weight said. "There are some metal ones
there we want to keep. Our first priority is to keep lights
that are historic, and if they go away, we want to replicate
them." Replicating original fixtures is one thing.
But putting a style of historic light where it never was
isn't kosher, Weight said. "Putting in a fake historic
street light is not an appropriate thing to do. Your don't
put a false sense of history in, according to the Secretary
of the Interior's standards" for areas listed on the
National Register of Historic Places, he said. "If
you're not going to replicate what was there, or the neighborhood
never had street lights originally, [you should] put in
something that is more obviously new, but still compatible
with the neighborhood-something of pedestrian scale, that
fits in with the neighborhood in other ways."
The HP Office presented a draft report and recommendations
on lighting issues to the HP Commission at its Jan. 13 meeting.
The commission continued the matter to its February meeting.
The timing of the report couldn't be better for some historic
districts on the verge of installing street lighting-or worse,
depending on their degree of attachment to a particular style