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Street Lamp used in City 75 years ago again sheds light


Posted By: Richard K. Thompson (email)
Date: 10/22/2010 at 20:23:07

Fairfield Daily Ledger
Monday October 18, 1943
Pgs. 1 & 5

Street Lamp Used In City 75 Years Ago Again Sheds Light For Local Citizens

One of original fixtures used in Fairfield burns again

One of Fairfield's original street lights is again shedding light for pedestrians during the dark hours of night. Not by a dingy flame from burning kerosene as it did 75 years ago, but by a powerful electric bulb installed in its globe.

The old lamp, mounted on the original wooden post, is located in front of the former Charles H. GAGE property at 305 West Broadway where it shed its scant light over 70 years ago. It again stands within a few feet of its original spot, erected by Mr. GAGE.

The old street lamp has been preserved all these years by Charles H. GAGE, who has a hobby of collecting and preserving antiques, collecting old coins, and compiling early Fairfield and Jefferson county history. His ancestors were among the first settlers in Fairfield, coming in this community in December, 1839.

It was about 1860 when the first street lighting system was installed in the growing city of Fairfield. Equipment similar to the one recently erected in front of the former GAGE home was used, with kerosene used in the lamps.

A custodian was hired to fill and light the lamps each evening, according to Mr. GAGE. The lamps held just enough kerosene to last one night.

The wooden cross-bar mounted near the top of the original posts is still a part of the lamp and post now in use. The custodian placed his short ladder against the cross-bar when he climbed to the lamp to fill the small tank and light the wick.

Mrs. E.S. GAGE (Mrs. Ebenezer S GAGE; a/k/a Electa GAGE), lived at 305 West Broadway at that time, and benefited greatly from the dim light shed by the kerosene lamp.

The first gas system in Fairfield was started in 1876, and on September 5, 1877 the old kerosene lamps were replaced with then the latest thing in lighting. It was after the kerosene lamps were removed that the GAGE family preserved the one which stood in front of their home, and later was handed down to Chas H. GAGE. It is that lamp that is again in use today not as kerosene lamp, but as an electric lamp, shedding many times the light that it did when it was first used.

The gas street lighting system gave way to electricity in 1882, when the tower was erected in Central Park. The city was lighted by six, 1800 candle power lights on top of the tower. It was a landmark in this part of the state for many years, its light being visible for many mile (sic. miles) around.

In 1910 it was decided that the tower was no longer safe. It was torn down and the first electric street lights were installed at street corners in the city.

It is interesting to know that the steel tubing salvaged when the tower was torn down was used to reinforce the cement dams at the waterworks ponds.

The property at 305 West Broadway was owned by the GAGE family for many years. Following the death of his wife in September 1939, Charles H. GAGE broke up housekeeping and sold the place. It is owned now by E. E. SIRDOREUS.

*Transcribed for genealogy (and Fairfield history) purposes. I am not related to the person(s) mentioned.

The GAGE family home mentioned was eventually razed and the property annexed by what is now commercial business Fairfield-Packwood Lumber Co.


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