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STREET LIGHTING IN RIDGEWOOD


Ridgewood's designation as a Historic District would spotlight the Union Metal Manufacturing Company's street lighting standards. Wherever you travel in the United States or around the world, you will see their products: street lighting poles, highway lighting poles, floodlighting poles, architectural columns and even cargo booms and masts for ships.

Union Metal had its beginnings in 1906 when Christopher Columbus Barrick purchased a handful of patents for steel porch columns and incorporated the Union Metal Post Company  to manufacture steel columns. The columns were hollow with capitals and bases of wood.  The break-through for the company came when they secured bases and capitals of cast iron. The foundation was laid for a new type of lighting standard which was to become the company's largest line and in fact the largest line of its kind in  the world.

The Barricks noticed that beauty was lacking in the street standards of the day, and became pioneers in the design of ornamental street lighting. Classic Doric, Ionic and Corinthian patterns were available as well as a multitude of variations. The company changed its name to Union Metal Manufacturing Company.   Business boomed and Union Metal light standards were shipped to cities across the country and around the world.

 

Ridgewood's street lighting standards were all manufactured by Union Metal. Company officials tell us that there are twenty-three different designs in use in Canton neighborhoods alone, including Ridgewood. Ridgewood has quite a variety of styles, and the standards differ from street to street, as you can see here.

A cooperative effort between the residents of Ridgewood through Historic Ridgewood, with the City of Canton, and the Ohio Power Company, will help to restore and preserve the lighting standards in the neighborhood so that another important facet of Canton's industrial history will survive.

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