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South Main Street, Orange, Mass.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This postcard of Orange, Massachusetts, is from a hand-tinted photograph. The image it captured was of the town in 1890 or 1900. The streets remained unpaved, although evidence of civic improvement is everywhere: the paved sidewalks; the low wall and railing to the right; but, most conspicuously, the street lighting floating nearly invisible in the center of the picture. Street lighting in the United States began in New York in the 1810s, with small districts lit by naptha and later gas lights. Electric street lighting was pioneered by Thomas Edison in New Jersey in the 1870s, and it quickly spread to other cities. This particular street light consists of one very large bulb suspended at the intersection of these two main streets, shielded by a metal cone above.


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