Monday, March 11, 2019

The Light That Faded

© 2019 Luke T. Bush


For years I wondered about the black metal "octopus" standing on the roof over 39 Clinton Street. What was its function?  Some sort of ventilation piping?    An odd structure, a sphere with radiating curved arms 

By chance I came across a reference to the structure on Facebook.  Someone mentioned it had been a lighting array.

Checking a telephoto shot I could see white (ceramic?) sockets on all of the arms.

I asked Matt Boire of the Greater Adirondack Ghost And Tour Company if he had any details on the structure.  He explained that a hotel called The Arcade was housed in the same building.  Located on the corner of Clinton and Marion streets the hotel boasted in Plattsburgh City newspaper ads it was the only first-class hotel in northern New York State.

There was a first class restaurant on the first floor that featured fresh oysters, little neck clams, and partridges that could be washed down with a good bolt of O•borns Old 45 Whiskey.

Plattsburgh Daily Press -- 09/28/1897

Mr. A.P. Gauthier opened the hotel in 1899 and acted as proprietor until his death in 1907.  Various owners operated the business until it finally closed a decade later.

All that remains of those days is an odd rooftop structure that causes me to pause and wonder what it looked like with lit lightbulbs in the night.   Did  they just cast a bright white/yellow glow or did the lighting display ever go multi-colored?

A detail lost in the dim past.

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