C19th Streetlights in Santa Cruz

A 19th century streetlight in Santa Cruz de La Palma

Santa Cruz de La Palma was the 6th town in the world to have electric streetlights, starting in 1894. It wasn’t some noble idea of progress: the shopkeepers in the centre of town got together and arranged the lighting in order to extend the shopping day. The lights were powered by a hydro-electric plant outside town.

Most lights on La Palma are designed to send all the light downwards, where you want it, and none upwards to annoy astronomers. However, a few of the original C19th streetlights have been kept outside the Town Hall, and there’s a plaque.

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