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Preservationists Propose Vintage-Inspired Streetlights in Logan Square

 Logan Square Preservation is proposing that the city install historic streetlights along the boulevards in Logan Square and perhaps even across the city.
Logan Square Historic Street lights
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LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square Preservation is hoping the city soon will install streetlights inspired by the ones that lit up the neighborhood's boulevards 100 years ago.

With grant money from the the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Donnelley Family Preservation Fund and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the group has spent years putting together a plan for installing the lights, including a new design drawn up by the BauerLatoza Studio, an architecture firm known for its preservation works.

"What we wanted to do was to kind of look at the whole [boulevards] stretch and see if we could come up with a way to create some design unity," said Logan Square Preservation President Andrew Schneider.

Currently, the streetlights come from many different eras since the 1950s, mostly of the so-called "cobrahead" variety. Installed at different times though, even the cobrahead lights aren't uniform.

"You'll have some that are painted green, some that are brown with rust and some that are aluminum," Schneider said. "This would eliminate the mishmash of lighting from different dates."

The newly designed streetlights, dubbed "cattails" would hark back turn of the 20th century lights, but with modern electronics that would be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Schneider said he hopes the city's recent push to install more energy-efficient lights will make the project  more attractive to the city's Transportation Department, which oversees streetlights.

"So, they're not just something that's historically evocative, but also something that embraces all the most up-to-date lighting technology," Schneider said. "So, there's so many ways that project could be a huge benefit for the city."

It wouldn't be a first, either. A few years back, the Chicago Park District installed some similarly vintage-inspired streetlights at Douglas and Garfield parks, and Logan Square Preservation even persuaded the city to install one of them at Comfort Station.

On Tuesday, Schneider, fellow Logan Square Preservationist Charlie Keel and Edward Torrez of BauerLatoza will make the pitch to city officials that these new lights would be a boon to Logan Square's boulevards system.

Ultimately though, Schneider said he hopes to see the lights installed on all 26 miles of the city's boulevard system, sometimes called the city's "emerald necklace."

"We've got this beautiful emerald necklace bringing us together," he said. "We would like to convince the city that these are the right fixtures for it."