Originally Posted by fhammon
Check out the light mast in this frame from Scott's blog (don't laugh at my obsession).
It's an older one rigged for climbing and set almost directly in front of the St. Charles (Bella Union!) Hotel.
That makes three light masts that are out of place according to popular history. Ferguson Alley, the Plaza Church rectory and now the St. Charles Hotel.
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
...or maybe not. It seems the older "climber" model was soon replaced with this higher and maybe even more powerful self-adjusting electrode gap model soon after.
one of first seven electric street lights, los angeles
No, both of these pictures are of the same mast, one of the first two original masts (Main and Commercial and First and Hill). This being the mast identified by DWP as being at Main and Commercial Streets (although it is clear that strictly speaking it was off the corner by a couple hundred feet, being pretty much in front of the Bella).
DWP Historical notes: "By December the only hold-up was the delayed arrival of the dynamo and lamps. In growing anticipation, the citizens anxiously awaited the moment in history when the first streetlights would illuminate the night skies of Los Angeles. That moment came on December 30, 1882 before an admiring crowd of spectators. Mayor Toberman threw a switch at twenty minutes past eight, simultaneously lighting two mast tops, one at Main and Commercial and the other at First and Hill."
"An account in the Express newspaper at the time, recounted the historic event in this way: “The Main Street light burned steadily and beautifully and it cast a light similar to that of the full moon on snow. The First Street light was very unsteady, glowing at times with brilliancy and again almost fading from sight. The only complaint so far is from young couples who find no shady spots on the way home from church or theatre.”"
"By the following evening, five more masts were lighted on First Street and Boyle Avenue; Avenue 22 and North Broadway; First Street and Central Avenue; Fourth Street and Grand Avenue; and Sixth and Main Streets."
The only question is which is the older pic and although it's hard to tell, the image from my earlier post (the second in your post) is what is used in the DWP archives as being the original mast. How these arc masts were modified and how many more of them were installed around the city isn't clear. I haven't been able to find any more information on these early lights. But we do know that ornamental posts, what we typically think of as 'streetlights', weren't installed until 1905. So one might deduce, over the years from 1883 to 1905, the old arc lights and their masts proliferated and were modified as new technology became available. Hence the appearance of 'out of place' arc lights. But the location of the original seven is pretty well established.
Again from the DWP Historical notes: " In May 1905, the first ornamental post system in the city was introduced on Broadway between First and Main Streets. This installation consisted of 135 posts each equipped with six small glass globes, enclosing 16 candle-power lamps, and one large glass globe, enclosing a 32 candle-power lamp. This system operated until 1919 when it was demolished to make way for a more modern system."
And yes, your obsessiveness is noted. You're a perfect fit around here.