Why Do Some Of Our Stanchions Have Holes?
|1905: PPS Pillars Approved|
|2016: PPS Pillar on Argyle Road|
Over the next 20 years, Midwood Park, Fiske Terrace and West South Midwood would follow suit, although none featured monograms and our forefathers opted for the trim line without engraved street names.
|2018: Ocean & Glenwood|
|2018: Foster Ave & E 17th St|
Ours once featured flower pots (per 1983 photos) but after rampant crazy drivers took out stanchion after stanchion, the replacements were topped with white stone globes. Still, we out-pillar Ditmas Park and Beverly Square which have no pillars at all. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
|1983: SE Corner Westminster Rd & Foster Ave|
|1983: NW Corner Argyle Rd & Ave H|
|1983: SW Corner, Foster Ave & Rugby Rd|
But I am frequently asked, being the repository of exceedingly useless local minutia, why those pillars that have miraculously survived from the 1920s sport a hollowed-out platform in the center.
|2019: Foster & Argyle|
Photos, taken decades apart, of two stanchions on Avenue H – one at the northwest corner of Westminster Road and the other at the northwest corner of Rugby Road – provide the answer I believe. A close inspection of 1940 NYC tax photos found electric lamps sitting atop each!
|1940 NW Corner Westminster & Ave H |
Looking North Up Westminster
|1940 NW Corner Westminster & Ave H|
Looking South Past Ave H to E 12th St
|1940: NW Corner Rugby & Ave H |
Electric Light Atop (Far Right)
|2018: NW Corner Rugby & Ave H|
Note Hole, Bottom Right
It seems the innards of our pillars had cables that powered globe lights at the top. But as modern photos attest (from 1963 & 2018), the electric globes were now gone, and hollow voids appears where the “mechanicals” providing the juice for the globe presumably once sat, leaving an empty hole in our stanchions’ hearts to accumulate trash lo, these many years.
|1909: July 28. Pillars|
Coming to Midwood Park
But upon further review, City engineers rejected the proposed artsy tungsten lamps as much weaker than the City’s arc lighting. A pillar at the northwest corner of Glenwood & Ocean Avenue has a hole much like ours and some others appear to have had a hole bricked over.
|2018: Glenwood & Ocean.|
Note Hole in Middle
Hmmm. Perhaps our stanchions, erected in 1925, featured lighting that passed muster but had to be disabled or removed as a result of World War Two blackouts?
Finally, after one of our stanchions was wrecked by an accident-inducing speedster in 1992, the WMCA arranged for a new pillar to be installed. A former resident, Barry Katz, contributed an industrial strength steel box and urged that it be used as a time capsule. Accordingly President Joe Mislowack filled it up with a mint set of coins contributed by Lennie Grau, along with the address list of dues-paying West Midwoodians (Hint! Hint!), and a video of the neighborhood. The box remains buried under the stanchion at the southwest corner of Rugby Road & Foster Avenue. Notes Joe, “I hope when a future generation finds it, they know how to play a VHS tape.”
|1931: PPS Pillar at |
Westminster Rd & Church Ave
Toppled by Sedan & Mail Truck. Oops.
|2018: Foster & Argyle|
|2019: The Distinctive |
West Midwood Hole