Blast from the past: Remembering Concord’s old lamplighter – the person, not the restaurant

This photo shows Concord's Main Street in July 1953. The photo was taken shortly after Concord Electric installed new electric street lights on Main Street. Courtesy of Concord Public Library
This photo shows Concord's Main Street in July 1953. The photo was taken shortly after Concord Electric installed new electric street lights on Main Street. Courtesy of Concord Public Library

Main Street, Concord, is pictured here on a dark night back on July 25, 1953. This photograph was taken shortly after Concord Electric installed new electric street lights on Main Street.

Our Main Street wasn’t always so bright – light was indeed a luxury not easily afforded to our ancestors.

In the 1880s, the Concord lamplighter still walked the old cobbled streets of downtown Concord – a lonely, solitary man fortunate to have a job after the Civil War concluded. Perhaps he was an old soldier and earned his right to this solitude.

He would make his rounds, starting the gas before sunset and then extinguishing it by early midnight. On those nights when the almanac predicted a bright moon, the lamplighter did not light the lamps unless an unexpected storm or darkness presented itself.

In 1903, Concord Mayor Harry Sargent contracted the Concord Electric Light Company to furnish a new system of enclosed arc lamps which served Concord during the early 1900s up until July of 1953.

The next time you drive down Main Street, especially on a particularly dark evening, think back to that gentleman that walked the lonely cobbled streets of Concord late into the night over 100 years ago. Think back to the Lamplighter.

Jim Spain

Historian

Author: Insider Staff

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