archBOSTON.org

Go Back   archBOSTON.org > Boston's Built Environment > Boston Architecture & Urbanism

Boston Architecture & Urbanism Discussions and photos regarding Boston area architecture and urbanism.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 04-21-2007, 03:19 PM   #1
Mike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Weymouth
Posts: 979
History in a new light

History in a new light
Everything is illuminated at Bunker Hill obelisk

April 21, 2007


The bluish lights that have bathed the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in a sapphire glow since 2002 had an unintended consequence. It made glaringly obvious the shortcomings of the floodlights that shone haphazardly on the 221-foot obelisk that has stood on nearby Bunker Hill since 1843.

Last night at sundown, officials threw the switch on a $100,000 new lighting system that will illuminate the monument with 76 color-corrected ceramic metal halide bulbs that range in strength from 70 to 150 watts. The precise, high-efficiency bulbs will wash the obelisk in varying intensities of light, highlighting the faces and lines of the monument, said Christopher H. Ripman, who designed the new system.

Commuters passing on nearby Interstate 93 at night will now be able to see the pyramid that caps the obelisk. "The new lighting will make this a gateway landmark as one approaches Boston from the north." Ripman said. "I think it will be a dramatic difference."

The lighting system, paid for with a donation from the firm Osram Sylvania of Danvers, is part of a $3.7 million restoration that includes handicapped-accessible ramps and a new museum.

The monument draws nearly 200,000 visitors a year and is one of the most popular stops on the Freedom Trail. On June 17, 1775, Bunker Hill was the site of the first major battle of the Revolutionary War.

But with the old floodlights, much of the light spilled into the night sky and bounced into the windows of nearby houses. The untrained light, which made the monument look flat, didn't even reach the tip of the obelisk.

"The monument was essentially cast in shadows, especially as the rest of the city around it glistened," said Sean Hennessey, public affairs officer for the National Park Service.

ANDREW RYAN


Link
Mike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2007, 05:37 PM   #2
Waldorf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 536
Heard something a while ago that the some of the blue gels for the Zakim lights were stolen by construction workers or some else with the project. The Globe had an article I will try to dig up.

If you look at the lighting of the Zakim when it first opened, it was brighter...now it's kind of spotty and dim (just like a lot of other illuminated structures in Boston).
Waldorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2007, 06:25 PM   #3
atlantaden
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: atlanta
Posts: 1,626
Thanks for that insight ZenZen. I was in Boston over Christmas (cousins live on the 40th floor of One Devonshire and couldn't help but notice the pale, almost ghostly blue, that the Zakim was. It was so pale that you could almost miss it even though you knew where to look. Very disappointing to see. I seemed to have remembered the Zakim was lit much brighter at night. I know the postcard pics show the Zakim to be beautifully lit. Maybe the neighbors complained which wouldn't surprise me. It's too bad, I really loved the lighting on that bridge when it first opened.
Good news about the Bunker Hill Monument though!
I do love the lighting of the old Hancock and the new State Street Bank building!
atlantaden is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-22-2007, 12:41 AM   #4
KentXie
Senior Member
 
KentXie's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Fenway
Posts: 3,559
What irony. Last Night? This is quite surprising considering it was during the eve of Earth Day where most lights on monumental structures are turned off.
KentXie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2007, 01:31 PM   #5
bowesst
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 297
I think they should light all of the steeples of the historic churches too. The only ones they really light are Old North, Park St. and Christian Science. Imagine the view at night from Cambridge with the previously mentioned churches, Arlington, Emmanuel, First, New Old South, Brattle Square, and Trinity all brightly lit. It would really be unlike anything else in the entire country.
bowesst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-24-2007, 08:10 PM   #6
ablarc
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,528
^ Good idea.
ablarc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2007, 11:09 AM   #7
ckb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenZen
Heard something a while ago that the some of the blue gels for the Zakim lights were stolen by construction workers or some else with the project. The Globe had an article I will try to dig up.

If you look at the lighting of the Zakim when it first opened, it was brighter...now it's kind of spotty and dim (just like a lot of other illuminated structures in Boston).
I remember the article, too ... I think it was something about the blue gels fading faster than other colors, though, rather than theft. I could be wrong.

One often overlooked aspect of the Zakim's current lighting compared to the lighting 3 years ago is that it is open to traffic ... and, as a result it is lit by the light from the cars and trucks, and especially the light from all the streetlights. All this ambient light makes the blue lights on the superstructure much less striking ...

Of course there are probably bulbs out, as well. Saltonstall building, anyone?
ckb is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Kendall Square and NASA history? Shepard Boston Architecture & Urbanism 9 11-29-2014 11:57 AM
See-Through, Light-Transmitting ? Concrete?! Lurker General 3 04-04-2009 02:45 AM
Slide Lecture: History of the Charles River Esplanade briv Boston Architecture/Urbanism Related Events 0 02-22-2008 10:17 PM
Bostonian Society: Boston's Fire History briv Boston Architecture/Urbanism Related Events 0 01-26-2008 02:52 PM
Bayside, a history. Patrick Greater New England 1 04-10-2007 09:01 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.