Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Culver Street Lights  



Culver still has a piece of National and World history in their backyard... rather town park. they orginially lined the downtown Main Street and Lake Shore Drive.



These poles and the metal fixture are 79 years old, probably closer to 80 or 81 since they would of had to manufactured for the "The Century of Progress" and installed and be in working order before the World's Fair opened. A Century of Progress International Exposition was the name of a World's Fair held in Chicago from 1933 to 1934 to celebrate the city's centennial. The theme of the fair was technological innovation. Its motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Adapts".

A Century of Progress was organized as an Illinois nonprofit corporation in January 1928 for the purpose of planning and hosting a World's Fair in Chicago in 1933. The Century of Progress opened on May 27, 1933. Originally, the fair was scheduled only to run until November 12, 1933, but it was so successful that it was opened again to run from May 26 to October 31, 1934
The site selected was new parkland being created along the Lake Michigan shoreline on Lake Michigan, immediately south of Chicago's downtown area,12th and 39th streets (now Pershing Road) in Near South Side, Chicago, Today, Meigs Field and McCormick Place occupy this site . Held on a 427 acres (much of it landfill) portion of Burnham Park.


Just wonder for which part of the fair area they were located?

March 6 1935 Town to Buy Poles of Boulevard Light System
    Forty light poles for a system of boulevard lights are being ordered by the town board.

    The fixtures are being bought from The Century of Progress i at a drastic reduction from the priginal cost.

    The poles will be sufficient to extend the lights from the Wells corner on South Main Street to Bunker Hill.

    The board has not decided when the system will be installed as it has been filed as a relief work project, but it was felt that the poles were such a bargain that they should be bought now even though not installed for a year or two.


Another question would be is did just the poles come from the fair or did the lightiing units come attached with them? As one would not the 'Do You Remember 'Way back when?' states only "poles".

NOTE: the Citizens are not availaible for 1935-1940 but only a couple of issues.


click on image for larger view


the base of the cement pole:

click on image for larger view


...Existing boulevard lamp standards, lining the park drives in Grant and Burnham parks, the area included in the exposition grounds, are to be brought into harmony by adding modernistic decorations to the lamp standards. A half dozen different types of decorations have been developed to be mounted around the large globes on top the standards... - Living LIGHT Effects Marvel of World Fair (Jul, 1932) pg. 46 by WIlliam J. Harris, Modern Mechanics and Inventions for July.


Thus far I have found a semblance to the poles in researching the world's fair but they have have a round globe sitting atop of of the pole. Clicking on the image will show a larger view of the location. this came from Chicago and the world's fair, 1933 F. Husum , publishing company, Inc., Chicago pgs. 75, 122 aslo have different locations but same boulevard lights in them.


1935 - Sep 25 Detailed Description of Ornamental Light System
    Culver's proposed ornamental street lighting syustem, as designed and recommeded by the combined engiineers of the Northern Indiana Publice Service, Westinghouse Electric Manufacturing company, and the town of Culver, consists of 60 hollow spun concrete poles using from one to three lamps with ornamental glassware, in one of five different positions on the pole ranging from twelve feet to eighteen feet from the top of the stree crub. The colcation and conbination of lights in each position depends upon its background. Each pole will have from 2,500 to 4,000 lumens of light.

    This system makes use of the 6.6 ampere series circuit and consists of two circuits. One circuit burns all night, and in that circuit are all the corrner lights. The other circuit burns until midnight only and in that circuit are the poles which are located in the center of each block.

    40,000 Feet of Cable

    The wire to each pole is to be laid underground below the present street curb and gutter, which eliminates all chance of inury to cable by digging. The cable is of size eight copper with coverings of rubber, lead, and impregnated jute. Cable of this construction has been in use in stree lighting for over sixty years with very little cable failure. It is estimated that approcimately 40, 000 feet of this cable will be required to complete the town's ornamental steet lighting system.

    The labor to erect and install this stree lighting is without cost to the town and is being done under WPA project no. 40,714.

    Cost about $6,000

    Total estimated cost to the taxpayers of Culver, for these proposed sixty ornamental lights, is $6,000. The cost for operating current under the new system will not exceed the present cost, which the city is paying for exixting overhead lights, due to the fact that the equipment is owned by the city, rather than by the Northern Indiana Public Service Company.

    The new ornamental system will give Culver from two and one-half to three times the illumination it is now getting and the new system will be free from radio interference, as commonly caused by swaying overhead street wiring.

    The proposed system has so been designed that it will allow for future expansion without obsolescence to the otnamental system.

    The town officers plan to hace one ples set up complete and in operation in the near future as to instructor type and and size pg glassware most becoming to the city.


1935 - Nov. 6 - Removing Old Poles
    The utility company has workmen engaged in removing the old wooden light poles from the streets where boulevard lights have been placed. The uliitu wull asl be required to chane its present wiring system to connect with the new cable.


1936 - Aug. 5 Town Signs New Contract With Utility
    A new contract for furnishing electricity for the stree lights was siigned Monday night by the town board at its regular meeting.

    The new boulvard light system necessitate the new apreement with the Northern Indiana Puplce Servce company. The new system will use more electricity that precviously and will be operated on a different basis, since half of the lights will be turned off at midnight.

    The new contract will expire in September, 1938.


1936 - Jul 1 Boulevard Light Fixtures Ordered - Fixtures for the new boulevard light system have been ordered by the town board. The style selected is the one that is on the pole at the corner of Main and Washignton streets. In the buiness district two lamps will be placed on each post, while in residential section there will be only on light to a pole.

1936 - Sep 2 - Boulevard Lights Ready But There's No "Juice"
    The town officials have been working toward having the new boulevard light system ready for its initial blaze of glory on Labor Day, the traditional climax of the loval summer season, and had notified the NOrthern Indiana Public Service Company to the effect.

    With all installations completed this week, the utility was instructed to turn the electricity into the new lines on Manday, but to the surprise and diappointment of the town officials they were told that the utility had not performed its part of the installation and that no "juice" would be forth coming on Monday night. No intimations would be given as to how soon the utility would be ready to allow the new lights to be put into use.


1936 - Sep 9 - New Boulevard Lights Flash into Service
    Without ceremongy the new boulevard light system flashed into use Fridy night, presenting an attractive display thoughout the town.

    The lights have been installed as a WPA project.

    Town officials had stated Wedensday that the lights would not be ready soon, but the Northern Indiana Public Service Compnay representative thought otherwide and turned the electricity into the new lines in short order.

    There are 61 light poles in the system with ten of them having double arms. The others have sinfle arms extending over the street. On the 18-foot plies the arm bracket is used for hold the fixture, while on the 13-foot poles, on Ohio and School streets, the fixture is placed on top of the pole.

    Each light fixture contains a 2,500 lumen bulb. 40,480 feet of cable were used to connect the poles.

    On Double Circuit

    The sysetm is so hooked up that all lights not on corners will be turned off at midnight, while all corner light will burn all night.

    Work on the new lights started in the latter part of August of last year, but some time was lost last winter during the extreme tempatures when ditches could not be dug for cable.

    All of the lights operated without a hitch when the electricity was turned into the lines, domonstrating the efficient work done by the crews and workmen.

    Trees Need Trimming

    The llghts in the buisness section, where double fixtures have been installed, are particularly effective. In other sections of town the lights are shaded by trees that must be trimmed if the illumination is to be carred to other parts of the block.

    The cost per pole figures $15.00 for the cement pole, $4.50 for the caps and bracket, $11.25 for the ornatmental arm, and $14.50 for lights and sockets, making a total of $45.25.

    If the system had been purchased from a contractor the price would have ranged from $100 to $125 per pole.


1936 - 16 Sep - Proof In The Pudding
    The town board has taken many a rap for the boulevard lights since thier installation was started a year ago. Some citizens did'nt like the style of poles, some didn't approve of their height, while others protested on their locations.

    The towon dads hunched up their backs and took the criticisms, keeping on with the work in the belief that they were on the right track

    Now the lights are finshed and are brightening the streets each night, and citizens have been just as loug in their praise of the finsihed product as they were in their criticisms of the first poles.

    Suitable light fistures were chosen and give the town a different appearance. The poles appear to have been well palces, the height is satiffactory, and everybody seens tob e happy.

    The new bouleward lights will remain for years a visible evidence of the sound and progressive planning of the town board.


1949 - Nov. 9 - Replacing Overhesd Street Lights Here -
    The Northern Indians Public Service Company has begun work on the replacement of all overhead street lights in our town.

    The old 100 candlepower lights are being replaced with new 2250 candlepower lights which are equipped with refectors that throw the light in the directions where it is needed morst, rather than lighting a small area underneath the lamp

    The lamps of the ornamental posts are being changed from 250 candlepowe to 400 candlepower lamps, which will make a great improvement in the areas served by the ornamental steet lgihting system...

    In addition to the replacing of lamps, 25 additional 250 candlepower lamps are being placed on new posts at the ourter edges of town.


1961 - Nov 22 - New Street Lights Being Installed in Business Sections
    Work has begun recntly by the Northern Indiana Public Service Compnay installing new street lights in the business sections of Culver.

    The new vapor type lights which will distribute approximately fout times as much ligh as the old type, are being installed in the two business blocks on Main Street and from the Shell Service station to the Culver Lodge Motel in the north part of twon.

    The new lights are being supplied b NIPSCO and the Town of Culver will make monthly payments for the electricity. Installation is expected to be completed sometine this week.
The remaining "boulevard lights" were placed in the town park in the mid 1970's when the park renovation was done.

They no longer have the original globes or wiring system as the have been adapted for use with the mercury-vapor lights of today

On July 11, 2016 Michelle Christensen provided this similar light fixture she stated; "I have a street lamp identical to the ones pictured here. I haven't found anyone in Michigan that can tell me anything about it. Could you answer my questions? I guess my question is, is there any value or interest in it? Perhaps you would know... I think its cast iron. I found the fixture, not pole, behind my house out in a field. Like I said I'm in Michigan and am not versed in antiques.
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