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California Heights Lamppost Restoration Project

The vintage lampposts in California Heights have become a symbol of our neighborhood. The image is a part of our logo and it is a graphic on our Historic District street signs. The threat of the removal of the vintage lampposts was one of the reasons for the drive to become a Historic District. All residents of California Heights can be proud of the restoration project and we all owe a big thanks to the many residents who have sponsored lampposts over the years and the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association for their faith in our ongoing project and their support via grants.

Back in 1998 when the idea first occurred to restore the vintage lampposts in California Heights, nobody had any idea how long it would take and how expensive it would be. The goal was to restore the lamppost tops that had been replaced with ugly yellowed plastic globes. The lampposts had been originally installed in the late 1920’s to the early 1930’s. The majority of the beautiful original glass globes with the filigree cage and finial had been broken or damaged and replaced with the least expensive option available. Since the lampposts were listed as one of the character defining features of the Historic District, volunteers decided to undertake a very ambitious project-replacing all of the non-original lamppost tops. We researched the original style tops and discovered they were still available and started the fundraising efforts. We offered private sponsorships to residents that included the new top and an engraved utility door that could be personalized.

The first installation of 28 lamppost tops in 2001 was made possible by private sponsorships and a grant from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association (LBNMHA). Our second installation of 36 lamppost tops in 2007 was funded by private sponsorships and Home Tour receipts. In 2010 we restored an additional 72 lamppost tops with another grant from the LBNMHA, private sponsorships and Home Tour receipts. We were fortunate enough to receive another grant from the LBNMHA in 2012 and this grant, combined with private sponsorships and Home Tour receipts allowed us to restore another 73 lamppost tops. In 2014 we were fortunate to receive our largest grant from the LBNMHA and this combined with a final fundraising effort for private sponsorships and Home Tour receipts will allow us to finally complete the restoration, including replacing any of the original tops that are in dire condition. The anticipated completion of the final installation is in late October-early November 2014.

Once the final installation is complete, it will be the first time that our streets will look as beautiful as they did when the neighborhood was just being developed in the late 1920‘s. As you stroll through Cal Heights, take the time to enjoy the lovely illumination the lampposts provide and take the time to stop and examine the engraved plaques. They are a bit of history in themselves.

Please be mindful of the lampposts and do not tape any signs on them; it damages the paint and is very difficult to clean off. Also, if you notice any damage to a lamppost, please advise CHNA of the serial number of the post and the address. After all these years of effort, we want to protect our investment and our history.

To adopt a lamppost

The Patron ($725) level is full sponsorship and allows sponsors to specify the lamppost 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. 

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