© 2021 Luke T. Bush
PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY – 11/30/21
For years I wondered about the strange structure standing on a Clinton Street building rooftop seen from Court Street. One pipe thrusting up through the roof with a large rusty sphere halfway up. Separate curved pipes horizontally radiated from the sphere like legs. All black with white ends on the radiating pipes. As I walked by I would speculate: ventilation? lightning rod? I used to call it the Octopus but later I found the appellation Spider a better fit.
Then I found out via Facebook that the structure was an old lighting array, all of its bulbs missing. Someone living in the building accessed the roof and took a photo. The white ends were ceramic light bulb holders.
Doing some research through New York Historic Newspapers I found ads from 1894 on when a restaurant and hotel called the Arcade operated on the corner of Clinton and Marion Streets. I’m assuming the lighting array dated back to this time. The Arcade prided itself as being the only first class hotel in northern New York State.
But don’t look for the Spider now. It’s gone. Apparently it was time for removal. I wonder what kind of lights it used, maybe different colors?
At one time Art Deco was a popular architectural design. The MLD (Municipal Lighting Department)] building on Miller Street had Deco style letters running along the edge of the overhang at the front entrance. You couldn’t miss seeing the large metal letters when looking to pay your utility bill.
The MLD building has at empty for a
while, the office moved over to City Hall. And one day the Art Deco sign disappeared.
Pieces of history vanished.