Gas lamps to turn off by day

May 13, 2011
By

David Taber


Gazette Photo by David Taber
A gas lamp currently illuminates the corner of Burroughs Street and the Jamaicaway 24 hours a day.

After decades of shining a perpetual, 24-hour-a-day light, City of Boston gas lamps will soon turn off during the day, Bryan Glascock, head of the City’s Environment Department told the Gazette.

Jamaica Plain is home to at least a dozen of the city’s about 2,800 gas-powered streetlights.

According to the Jamaica Plain Historical Society website, lamplighters were still going around lighting gas lamps daily until the middle of the last century. Today, the relatively few remaining lamps are fed by a constant flow of piped-in natural gas.

Glascock told the Gazette that the city this year plans to install automatic shut-offs on the gas lamps run by sunlight-detecting photo cells.

The shut-offs are being paid for in part by a federal grant and will cost about $750 a piece, he said—$600 to purchase and $150 to install.

The city currently pays $1.3 million a year—$484 per lamp—a year to keep them lit. The shut-offs will cut those costs by 52 percent, Glascock said.

Glascock said the gas lamps remain in use, despite the significant cost, because they are popular with residents and significant to the city’s history.

There are gas lamps on Bardwell Street, Burroughs Street, Eliot Street, Meehan Place, Parley Avenue, Paul Gore Terrace, Spring Park Avenue, Regent Circle, St. Joseph Street and Union Avenue, according to the Jamaica Plain Historical Society website. The Gazette also has observed gas lamps at the entrance to the Brandegee Estate at 165 Allandale St.

Best of JP 2014