Historic photos provide inspiration for Manchester lights project

Historic photos provide inspiration for Manchester lights project

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - After residents raised concerns about security and safety in the Manchester neighborhood, the city of Richmond is working to install new, unique, industrial street lights along Hull Street.

“There are not enough street lights in this particular location,” Alicia Jones, a resident of the Manchester neighborhood said.

Mark Olinger, the director for the Department of Planning & Development Review in the city of Richmond, decided he didn’t want to just put any street light up in the area.

“When we were thinking about doing street lighting, I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to try and create a street light that would be representative of the history of Manchester?’" Olinger said.

Olinger and his team began researching and came across some old photography that provided inspiration from the late 1800s, early 1900s.

“There is some old photography that shows lighting at Libby Hill Park. We found some photography from the Valentine that showed some Manchester warehouses and we saw this kind of glass, globe with the arms and the wire hanging off of the arms,” Olinger said.

“And then a couple years ago there is a remnant of this kind of fixture on Belvidere near Monroe Park and we thought wouldn’t it be kind of interesting to take those two elements and merge them ... so what you see is kind of a modern interpretation of what you see in the old photographs," he said.

Olinger said he wanted to provide the street lighting that also had architectural interest that provides history of the neighborhood.

Currently, only one of these unique, industrial street lights have gone up on Hull Street near 7th Street as a “test."

“It’s LED lighting too so it’s not our traditional lighting,” Olinger said. “We’re having the fabricator come out and take a look. The pedestrian light appears to be a little brighter at night than I thought. They think maybe the LEDs were installed differently so we’re going to take them out and pop them back in and see what happens. Other than that, I think they turned out great, they look wonderful.”

Dozens of these lights are expected to go up along both sides of Hull Street from the flood wall to Commerce Road within the next six to eight months with the hope that these lights will go up along other streets in the future.

According to Olinger, other cities around the country are interested in putting up lights in a similar fashion. The street light installation will cost around $30,000 and will be paid for with capital improvement funding.

Check out even more about these lights that will be installed:

These new street lights are also being used in other projects occurring around the city of Richmond.

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