Five things you should know about the Zilker moonlight tower


The Zilker Park moonlight tower, which most people recognize as the Zilker Tree when it’s decked out in Christmas lights, was taken down in April to be repaired and restored. Austin Energy contractors reassembled it Wednesday. Here are five things you should know:

1. The 16-story-high structure is one of the original 31 moontowers that made up Austin’s first urban lighting system in 1895, back when the population was about 18,400. Each tower provided artificial light for up to a quarter-mile around.

2. Only 17 original towers still stand; they’re on the National Register of Historic Places.

3. The original six manually lighted, carbon arc lamps were first replaced by incandescent lamps in the 1920s and then by mercury vapor lamps in 1936. Austin Energy contractors on Wednesday installed LED light bulbs that will save about 131,400 kilowatt-hours annually, the utility says.

4. Contractors took apart the tower and sandblasted the components to remove old paint, corrosion and dirt. Parts were tested for cracks and holes, then repaired, repainted and reassembled.

5. Every winter since 1967, the tower transforms into the Zilker Tree, with 39 streamers holding 3,309 light bulbs forming an illuminated cone of holiday delight.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Hutto City Council replaces entire development board amid criticism
Hutto City Council replaces entire development board amid criticism

The Hutto City Council has replaced the entire board of directors for the town’s economic development corporation after the city manager criticized it for lavish spending on hotel rooms. The council on Thursday also approved changing the development group’s structure from a type A to a type B corporation so it can attract a wider variety...
Woman, deputies aid 4 children left in car in Walmart parking lot
Woman, deputies aid 4 children left in car in Walmart parking lot

A Virginia woman and three sheriff’s deputies helped make four children comfortable, providing them with formula and diapers after they were left alone in a car in a Walmart parking lot, WTVR reported. >> Read more trending news Crystal Richards-Jackson said she noticed three Hanover County deputies making multiple trips to a car parked...
Senate panel advances school finance, ‘private school choice’ bills
Senate panel advances school finance, ‘private school choice’ bills

The Senate Education Committee on Friday sent to the full chamber two bills that address many of the major education-related issues on the special session agenda, including school finance and “private school choice.” Senate Bill 2, filed by Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, drew eight hours of public testimony...
Senate health panel approves three abortion bills
Senate health panel approves three abortion bills

The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee approved five bills Friday, including three that would expand abortion-related regulations. A fourth bill approved by the panel Friday would require that health care facilities like a hospital or hospice ensure that do-not-resuscitate orders are disclosed to patients or their medical decision-makers...
So-called hyper-grandfathering bill pushes against local regulations
So-called hyper-grandfathering bill pushes against local regulations

A bill aimed at protecting property owners’ rights from changing local government regulations could undo years of safety and land use rules and create a building environment in Texas with the potential for bars to pop up in residential neighborhoods, critics say. Some local officials are calling Senate Bill 12 the “hyper-grandfathering&rdquo...
More Stories