State Street’s “Space Age” Street Lights

My last post featured two pictures of State Street at Randolph, 61 years apart.  The street lights in both photos look the same.  But they’re not.

Around 1960 Mayor Daley #1 decided to replace the old lights with something more Space Age.  The replacement lights are shown in the photo below, which I used on the cover of my last book, On This Day in Chicago History. 

State St Christmas (1974)

The new lights certainly made State Street brighter.  Yet I always thought of them as more Jurassic Age than Space Age.  They reminded me of a Plesiosaur.  Or perhaps someone in city government was paying tribute to the Loch Ness Monster.

State St mall construction-C (1978)

The Space Age lights stayed on State Street all through the Mall Era.  When Mayor Daley #2 decided to restore traffic in the 1990s, the street went back to the 1940-style lights.

I don’t know whether any of the Space Age light standards were saved.  But if the city still has a few of them, they’d look dandy on the roads near the George Lucas Museum.

—30—

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1 Response to “State Street’s “Space Age” Street Lights”


  1. 1 Garry October 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I loved those lights. They were said to be the brightest street lights in the world. They looked a little like the Martian space ships from the 1953 “War Of The Worlds”. Bring them back as LEDs.


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