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.
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
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