Saturday, December 12, 2015

San Jose's Electric Light Tower

A Century Ago San Jose's Famous Electric Tower Collapsed!


In May of 1881 J. J. Owen, editor of the San José Mercury, suggested a project to light up the city of San Jose and surrounding areas with lights attached to a gigantic 237-foot tower. On Dec 13th he saw the culmination of his bright idea with the lighting of the tower in the intersection of Santa Clara and Market Streets. While interesting and visually spectacular, the tower was a bust as far as illuminating the valley. But the tower was a landmark and brought folks into the little country town south of The City ... San Francisco. Unfortunately, the tower was damaged in an August storm in 1915 and collapsed in another storm on December 3rd 1915. Fortunately no-one was hurt ... except for some egos!

Here are a couple of postcards we have from 1911 with the famous San Jose Electric Tower on them. 




For more about the story of San Jose's Electric Light Tower see these two sites:
History San Jose
The Soft Underbelly of San Jose

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