Steve Halsey and Orland Public Work’s staff installing the electrolier.

A piece of Orland’s history was returned to the city a few weeks ago with the installation of an antique light pole in front of the Orland Free Library.  The light was donated by Steve & Mardi Halsey of Orland.  Orland historian G. H. Russell has provided a detailed history of the electrolier- here is an excerpt:

Electroliers Light the Business Section

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ighting the business section of Orland with “modern” lights came before the city council on Monday, November 7, 1921. “The nucleus of what in time will without doubt be a wide-spread system of street lighting” was approved by the trustees and eight of the new type of lights known as electroliers—manufactured by the Marblelight Company of Los Angeles—were ordered for the intersections of Fourth and Colusa, Fifth and Colusa, Fourth and Walker, and Fifth and Walker. It was explained that the small order of only eight lights was simply the “first consignment of electroliers for the business section” and that the lights were to be shipped to Orland for immediate installation. The Orland Unit, Tuesday, November 8, 1921, would report that the single globe lights would be on columns “ionic in style, artistic in design, and pleasing in color.” The cost delivered to Orland was to be $75 per electrolier…

Six years later, lighting the business section of Orland was back before the city trustees and on the front page of the Orland newspapers. This project to allow the business streets “to emerge from the gloom which has marked them through past years, and be lighted with a modern system of electroliers,” came to a vote at a meeting of the Orland city council on Monday, March 26, 1928…

Dimout Regulations During World War II

At the outbreak of World War II, there were rumors and panic that Japanese warplanes were flying over California every night. To relieve anxiety about being targets of enemy bombers, civilian defense and government authorities imposed blackout and dimout regulations for “keeping all lights shielded” from sunset to sunrise…On November 2, 1942, the city council met to take action that would conform to dimout regulations…Passed was the resolution to paint the tops of the electrolier globes with opaque paint…

 Electrolier at the Orland Free Library

 “Rescued” from a backyard in Orland, the vintage electrolier was secured by Steve Halsey and donated to the City of Orland. The historic lamp was placed north of the entrance to the Orland Free Library by city employees and Mr. Halsey on May 22, 2012.

G.H. Russell

–June 2012

You can read the complete history of Orland’s Electroliers in Russell’s next book which is currently being worked on and scheduled for publication in time for the annual Orland Craft Fair Thanksgiving weekend.  Be sure to pick up a copy!

Posted by Jody

Photos by G. H. Russell