|The Arch - at 10th and R.|
|One of the new obelisks on R.|
The poles, one at 8th street and another at 21st street, have long intrigued me. They are of a latticed metal construction and certainly have an industrial flavor to them.
In my photo collection of R Street, they pop up in the background in various places. The earliest photos I have date from the mid 1930s, and they were present back then. Even in those early photos, the pole line they are a part of is mostly made up of a wooden poles. But it is evident that there were more metal poles in the past than the two survivors we have today. Interestingly, nowhere in the photos I've studied is there evidence of them further west than 8th street. And this leads me to a theory.
I speculate that the poles date back to 1908 when the Great Western Power Company built a pole line from Brighton to a power house at 8th and R Streets.
|The pole at 21st and R as it looks in 2012.|
It's only about 2/3rds its original height.
That's the old Bekins Building in the background
|The power house at 8th and R from a 1912 issue of Electrical World.|
Great Western Power was acquired by PG&E circa 1930 and the publicly owned Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) took over the electrical grid after a long and contentious fight on the evening of the last day of 1946. The building was in use up to at least the early 1980s but has since been torn down.
I'm reasonably certain the metal power poles were headed to the power house and their job was to transmit power from Brighton - I just would like to find some documentation that they date all the way back to 1908 or at least back to the Great Western days.
I do plan on modeling at least one of these poles for one of the modules or the home layout at some point. If done well they would make a striking model.
I'm glad FUEL Creative based part of their design on these old poles. They are very likely artifacts that have been a part of the long and interesting history of electricity in Sacramento.
* photo caption next to page 199 in PG&E the Centennial History of the Pacific Gas and Electric
** ibid p. 223 upgraded to 100,000 volts in 1909,