Tower Facts

Austin's moonlight towers were purchased from Fort Wayne Electric for $113,500.

 

The towers were activated in 1895.

 

Of the original 31 towers, 17 remain.

 

The Zilker Park holiday tree is a moonlight tower.  It was assembled from parts salvaged from dismantled towers.

 

Text on the Texas Historical Commission markers: "This is one of 17 that remain out of 31 towers erected 1894-95 and in continuous use since. Their carbon arc lights then illuminated the entire city. Now mercury vapor lamps provide beacons for many miles on roads and airway, from dusk to dawn. Austin is said to be unique in this dramatic method of lighting."

The tower in Hyde Park at 41st and Speedway was the first to be turned on.

 

Austin's towers were designted Texas State Landmarks in 1970, State Archeological Landmarks in 1986,  and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

 

A restoration project of all remaining towers begun in 1993 was completed in time for the 1995 centennial. 

 

Two towers have been destroyed in traffic accidents, two by cyclones, and six by rust and age.

 

The tower appearing in the film Dazed and Confused is a replica.  The city denied the film's producers use of an actual tower due to liability concerns.

 

 

 

Tower Locations

 

Want to see a moonlight tower?  Here is a list indicating the current status of all 31 original towers.  Why are 32 towers listed here?  The Zilker Park tower was assembled from parts taken from the dismantled City Park tower and several others.

 

 

1. 4th & Nueces                     Active

2. South 1st & Monroe           Active

3. Leland and Eastside          Active

4. 1st & Waller                       Gone

5. Canterbury & Lynn             Active

6. 6th & Medina                     Gone

7. 11th & Lydia                       Active

8. Pennsylvanie & Leona       Active

9. 13th & Coleto                     Active

10. MLK & Chicon                  Active

11. 14th & Sabine                  Gone

12. 12th & Blanco                   Active

13. 12th & Rio Grande           Active

14. 15th & San Antonio          Active

15. 22nd & Nueces                Active

16. 41st & Speedway             Active

 

 

17. 23rd & Red River                   Gone

18. 20th & Longfellow                  Gone

19. MLK & Lavaca                       Gone

20. 11th & Trinity                          Active

21. 9th & Guadalupe                    Active

22. 16th & Brazos                        Gone

23. 2nd & Nueces                        Gone

24. 6th & West Lynn                     Gone

25. City Park                                Gone

26. Zilker Park                              Active

27. Dean Keeton & Whitis           Gone

28. 5th & Brazos                          Gone

29. 29th & Lamar                         Gone

30. 6th & Lamar                           Gone

31. North end of granite dam       Gone

32. Cesar Chavez & Trinity          Active

 

For a nice summary of the moonlight towers check out this article in "The Austinot."

In the News

Mars Attacks!

Did H.G. Wells base his invading Martian spaceships on early moonlight towers?  You be the judge!

Michael Barnes article on the 50th anniversary of the Zilker tree lighting ceremony

Jeff & Ray being interviewed by KUT's Jennifer Stayton

Michael Barnes article about the film

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