The city of Austin, Texas purchased 31 used towers from Detroit, Michigan in 1894 to be used for municipal lighting. Called "Moonlight Towers", these 165 ft. tall towers originally used 6 powerful carbon arc lamps placed at the top to provide illumination over a wide area and were the precursors to modern-day street lights. Mercury vapor lamps have replaced the original arc lamps and in 1993 the city disassembled and completely restored the surviving 17 towers which have been recognized by the Texas Historical Commission and the National Register of Historic Places.
Each year in December since 1967, this tower in Zilker park is topped with a 10 foot wide illuminated double star and draped with 39 strings of 81 colored 25 watt light bulbs in a particular pattern. It is simply and widely known as the "Zilker Tree". The base is defined by a 120 ft. diameter circle of 19 utility poles which support the ends of the light strings 14 ft. above the ground allowing for a substantial crowd of people to gather underneath. This popular way of viewing the tree translates quite well to the spherical panorama format. With this panorama opened full screen, pan straight up to the top of the tower and the apex of all the light strings, then rotate the image to observe the spiraling effect caused by the careful placement of the yellow bulbs. Or visit Austin, stand underneath the tree, and experience it in person.
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