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The Unofficial Utility Pole Page

Created December 29, 1998

Updated


Why I Created This Site
I created this site to fill a void on the internet. There is very little on the subject of utility poles on the internet. One of the few web sites that I know of that is devoted to utility poles is one based in Texas called The Electric Pole Shrine , which also has several mirror sites. Not surprisingly, there is also not a newsgroup even remotely on the subject; the closest one that I know of is misc.industry.utilities.electric . In addition, I am hoping to find out some fascinating and obscure history regarding utility poles.

The Site Name
When I first created this site, it was called The Telephone Pole Page. Then, when I was doing search queries on the internet, I noticed that I was getting better results with the term "utility poles" than I was with "telephone poles." This made me realize that the industries who are involved in them most commonly call them "utility poles." They seem to be called this in newspaper reports as well (although I have seen at least a few instances in which the term "telephone pole" was used). The general public, however, most often calls them "telephone poles," a term that I had always used, myself, though have more recently developed the habit of calling them "utility poles." Other terms they go by are just plain "poles," as well as "electric poles," the latter of which I hear them being called less often. (I seem to be using the former term more recently because I am a bit uncertain now as to whether to call them "utility" or "telephone.") Another term that they can go by is "telegraph poles." Other terms that I have seen or heard them referred as are "phone poles" and "power poles." I believe they can be referred to as "pylons" as well, perhaps in Britain.
I also eventually changed the name of the site to make the name sound less generic. It is called The Unofficial Utility Pole Page these days. It is "unofficial" because my observing of utility poles is actually a pastime. I also don't work in the electric nor the telephone industries, nor do I know anyone personally who works in either of them.

My Location
Many of my observations and questions that I have on other pages in this site are mostly based on where I live — in Montague, Massachusetts, and its villages that make up the town — as well as such nearby towns as Greenfield and Amherst.

The Beginning
It all started one morning back in 1977 while waiting for the school bus that I first noticed the metal numbers on the poles were in order. Having quite a fixation towards numbers, this fascinated me. I was soon looking at all of the numbers on the poles. This was soon followed by the excitement over other things about the poles. For instance, I enjoyed checking on those poles that were getting replaced. In some cases, I saw the linemen transferring the wires from an older pole to a newer one. One year I recall seeing a number of old poles getting replaced is in 1978.
I also eventually became fascinated by the engrave marks on these poles after I noticed a "77" on one that I remember was put up in 1977. They say that you can tell how old a tree is by the number of rings it has. In the case of utility poles, it is the engrave marks. By the early 1980's, however, my enthusiasm towards the utility poles waned somewhat, though not completely. There were moments of excitement occurring now and then about these poles, such as some more getting replaced, and the installation of newer street lights.

Nostalgia
Since the summer of 1998, I have become nostalgic about this particular part of the late 1970's. I went around and revisited some of the engrave marks on the utility poles once again. I also decided to take pictures of some of the older poles in my area while they are still there, in the event that they may end up getting replaced someday. This is something I regret not doing over twenty years ago; otherwise, I would have some interesting photographs to look at today. I am glad that some of the older poles of are still standing today so I can have the chance to take pictures of them. I find these older ones particularly interesting, probably because they bring back memories of when I looked at poles about twenty years ago, and that it is fun to find out how old these poles really are since they date way before my time.
I am often reminiscing about all those old poles that no longer stand today, how it's sad and a shame that they are no longer around today, and how I feel like I miss them. I also sometimes think about what the older poles that were replaced even longer ago may have looked like. I also reminisce about the old yellow bulb street lights and purple fluorescent ones, many of which have been replaced by the bright orange ones.



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