ADOPT A LAMPPOST
There are two levels of sponsorship.
The Patron ($725) level is full sponsorship and allows sponsors to specify the lammpost of their choice, including up to four lines of engraved message on the base plaque. Restoration includes replacing the fiberglass globes with replicate historic globes, cages and finials. Several families may contribute to the specified post as well, with up to four family names included on the engraving.
Donate to the Lamppost Restoration Project, Patron Level = $725
In 1999, the California Heights Neighborhood Association (CHNA) embarked on an ambitious project to restore our neglected historic lampposts; more than 230 of the old posts still grace our public parkways, contributing to the nostalgic charm of our historic district.
Paved streets and lighting came to Cal Heights in the late 1920s, but over the last three quarters of a century, the lampposts deteriorated as various waves of globes and lamps replaced the old, and the metal fretting, struts and finials that form the decorative “cage” around the globes were removed or rusted away from neglect. A complete restoration includes the installation of period correct replicate cages, finials and nearly unbreakable, non-yellowing polycarbonate globes. Painting completes the task.
The first phase of the project made its debut with the unveiling of a completely restored post in front of the one of the homes during the 1999 Home and Garden Tour. With a generous grant from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Foundation and the CHNA “Adopt-A-Lamppost” fund raising campaign, the first phase closed with twenty four additional fully restored lampposts. The City of Long Beach repainted all of the lampposts and, for a finishing touch, the CHNA paid the Long Beach Job Corps to paint the silver accents on the posts.
Over the next several years, more lampposts were adopted by local residents, but not enough to fulfill the minimum order of twenty-four required to schedule an installation. At the beginning of 2007, we had paid sponsorships for only thirteen more, with other funds available from smaller amounts donated by residents and businesses over the years. At that time, the CHNA board decided to dedicate the funds from more than two years of Home and Garden Tour proceeds to the restoration of every lamppost on Orange Avenue, from Wardlow to Bixby Roads.
Deemed a worthy location for the association funded project, Orange Avenue is the major thoroughfare that divides the historic district exactly in half. The beautifully restored lampposts were proudly installed just in time for the 2007 Home and Garden Tour. The restored lamps, along with the February 2007 tree planting and the Cal Heights Mural by artist Art Mortimer, enhance the historic character of this important street in our neighborhood.
At the same time, the thirteen other lampposts throughout Cal Heights that were adopted by local residents were finally restored as well. In total, the second major phase completed thirty-six restorations. In 2010, our biggest installation to date, made possible by $9000 in Home Tour proceeds, a $25,000 grant from Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association and several private adoptions, allowed all the posts on 36th, 37th, and any remaining posts on Wardlow Road to be restored, along with the several privately adopted posts throughout the neighborhood.
At the 2012 Long Beach Heritage Annual Meeting aboard the Queen Mary, CHNA recieved a 2011 preservation award for our ongoing lamppost restoration efforts.
2012 proves to be just as successful as 2010! CHNA dedicated $10,000 of 2011 Home and Garden Tour proceeds, and Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association rewarded our swift and impressive 2010 installation with another $25,000 grant. The special two-for-one offer encouraged residents to privately adopt more posts. CHNA offered to restore one post for each privately adopted post, allowing residents the opportunity to complete their blocks at a reduced cost.
The CHNA board is currently in negotiations, with the help of 7th District Councilmember, James Johnson, to have the city repaint the deteriorating paint in recogntion of the more than $120,000 of private funds invested in our public infrastructure to date!
Special thanks to board member, Karen Highberger, for dedicating the considerable time and effort to manage and coordinate the latest phase of this wonderful project!
Some of the residents of the newest phase of the historic district, added in 2001 and including the streets of Walnut east through Gardenia, have expressed interest in restoring lampposts to their streets as well. The board investigated the possibility several years ago.
As it turns out, that section of the neighborhood, much of it developed during the 1930s and 1940s, never had the same lampposts as those in the earlier developed areas to the west; the older streets are identified by their original concrete surfaces. During the early 1940s, the war effort demanded austerity on many levels in the United States. Metal demand to support the production of military equipment understandably trumped civil projects, so lampposts, including those on the streets of Walnut, east to Gardenia had posts made of concrete. Most of the originals were removed in later years, replaced by the modern lamps that exist today.
Replacement costs at the time were more than twenty fold the current project to restore the existing metal lampposts, not including removal of the existing lamps and infrastructure preparation for their replacements. As a result, it was deemed beyond the reach of our volunteer funded association’s abilities. Still, we are once again looking into the current costs. A resident volunteer will be researching possible funding sources, gauging the interests of current residents so see such a project to fruition, as well as the support of Public Works, all necessary for a project of such magnitude.
In the meantime, we hope you all enjoy our newly restored lampposts. If you are interested in adopting a lamppost, please download on the lamppost form below.