07 February 2021

Historic Trolley Poles Reused as Modern Streetlights

South Temple streetlights today, 2021.
On SLC’s South Temple Street the old trolley poles have been reused for modern streetlamps.

Beginning in 1889, the trolley lines in SLC were electrified. Wooden poles to accommodate the electric streetcars were installed in the middle of roads.

By the turn of the century, downtown SLC was overwrought with numerous poles and wires that cluttered the city streets (Image 6).

In 1908, SLC made a beautification effort in the business district and along South Temple. Most of the overhead wires were removed and buried underground.

The wooden trolley poles were replaced with steel poles, most of which were tubular in style but along South Temple they were of a metal lattice style.

After WWII, when the trolley lines were discontinued the South Temple lattice poles were repurposed for streetlights. Sometimes climbing roses were planted to keep the neighborhood kids from climbing the poles.

SLC rebuilt South Temple between 2001-2004 and during the project the existing metal lattice poles were restored, repainted, and reinstalled.

Sources: Des News 1908-09-04; South Temple NRHP Amendment 2012

South Temple streetlights today, 2021

South Temple 1912, from UDSH

South Temple 1918, from UDSH

Crystal Palace Market on South Temple 1940

Main street with a maze of overhead wires, 1890.

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