Sunday, May 26, 2013

Moonlight Towers

Last night, Sarah Hayes and her daughters came over for dinner. We went to high school with Sarah, but I actually went to elementary school with her husband, Rob, and was in class with him every year, kindergarten through sixth grade. He had a migraine, however, so maybe we'll see him next time.

However, while Sarah was here, she told us about moonlight towers, which was something about which I'd never heard. They are unique in the present to Austin, Texas, and you can read about them here.

This sounded fascinating, so I looked them up and found a personalized Google map just for the moonlight towers. There are several very near the house, and when I looked at them on street view, I was shocked. I'd seen them before, but hadn't paid much attention to them because they look for all the world like cell towers. I couldn't believe that they were over one hundred years old.

On Google maps, the nearest tower to our home was said to be located here. If you look at this, click on "street view" then find the tower and scroll up to see how tall this sucker is.

This afternoon, I headed that way. Here are some sites I passed, for your viewing enjoyment. I love how, closer to campus, there are still cool old houses...

... that are often dwarfed by more modern high-occupancy housing.

However, when I got to 22nd and Nueces, I found that the tower had been dismantled down to just the base. I'm sure it is because of the building of this new residential tower. If you compare this to the Google street view, you can see that this used to be a parking lot, and one of the anchors was on the walk on the north side of the lot. I guess there's no room for it now.

I'm not a huge fan of this building, already, because when James and I were walking one afternoon, I looked up and something tiny fell off of the side of the building and into my eye. Then as I was telling James about it, a small piece of wood got dropped off of the construction platform and landed right behind us. Dangerous!

I remembered reading that there was also a tower at 12th and Rio Grande, one block west and ten blocks south. So I decided to go back down that way and see if it was still there. (I knew that there were two further south and east, but James and I already planned to go down there after dark to see them lit up.)

This tower plays music throughout the day and apparently plays classical music as well as Justin Bieber.

One thing we see a lot of around here is co-op student housing. The houses always have several things in common: First, the grounds look a lot like a bunch of college kids take care of them. Second, most of them have gardens out front. I love them! They're almost always old houses, and have lots of character. I posted a picture of one with a bike in a tree when I did our first 'hood tour.

Student co-op housing.

It's a jungle out there!

Local color

When I was at 17th and Rio Grande, five blocks away, I could see the light. Do you see it? It looks almost like a radio tower off in the distance.

Looking in another direction
 Here are some views as I approached it.

Each tower has three anchors with three anchor wires each.

These things were built in the late 19th Century!

In the picture below, you can get a grasp of how huge this system is. The tower itself is 165 feet tall. To the right of the picture, you can see a white pole, which is the eastern anchor. It is across the street and one house down from the tower itself.

Satisfied, I headed back home, eager to see these things lit up.

One of my favorite buildings around here. I love the old-school rocks. Now that there are sunflowers on the roof, I like it even better!

Another tower that we will visit later.

As dusk settled, the tree of us headed over to see two other moonlight towers.

I love this sign and I even love the building. There is a toilet seat mounted to the front of the building.
This tower is located at 9th and Guadalupe. Here, you can see the anchor system without trees obscuring it.

We love our skyline!
Although we didn't see that light lit up, we noticed the one at 15th and San Jacincto when we were several blocks away!

D and James, heading towards the light.

It dwarfs the street light.
This next picture is blurry, but I wanted to take a shot from the same spot, five blocks away, that I took the daytime shot. This is at Rio Grande and 17th, on our way to the light at Rio Grande and 12th.

Finally, I tried to get a picture of the Wells Fargo tower and the light at 15th and San Jacincto, but I had the same issue with stability (should've taken the monopod). To combat this, I put the timer on 2 seconds and tried to steady the camera on James' noggin. It turned out okay except that the wind blew and some of his hair got in the picture!

(The Wells Fargo tower is 70 feet taller than the moonlight tower, 17 stories. The tower is a half block closer.)

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