I cannot believe that I have walked under these striking pie-plate lights for 30 years and never noticed them! There are five (I think) in the historic district of Hudson; four of the five are in the Elm Street/Oviatt/Division Street area, but one is a little farther north. First person to tell me where wins a $25 Hudson's Restaurant gift card. Information about the history of these lights was hard to find, but judging from pictures I found, they are radial wave fixtures which were originally incandescent. They were named for the wave of light that radiates down from the pie plate-like reflectors that hang above the exposed bulb. Early radial wave street lights provided a fraction of the light of more modern street lights, and ours are from the early days because the first reflectors were relatively flat. Over time the reflectors became 'domed' to accommodate the long necks of the newer lamps. The dates I could find about our lights said circa 1920.
Towns around the country that still have these fixtures are working to preserve them and some cities are searching out old ones and installing them in their historic districts in place of more modern lights. Hudson used to have more of these wonderful lights with their fluted edges and Hudson Heritage Association is keeping an eye on those that are left to be sure they are preserved.
Streetlights first came to Hudson in 1877. For a year the townspeople were responsible for supplying the oil and making sure that the 13 lamps were lit. Hudson eventually bought the city of Kent, Ohio's old gasoline lamps because Kent had switched to electric. In 1879 Hudson had 32 street lamps and it cost 94-1/2 cents each night they were used. Hudson's switch to electricity came a little later. If you'll remember, Ellsworth returned to Hudson in the early 20th century and was dismayed to find it struggling. Having made millions in the coal industry, Ellsworth hired an engineer in 1907 to determine the feasibility of constructing sewer, water and electric systems for Hudson. According to an article written by Tom Vince, "…in 1911 indoor plumbing became a reality, and 15 families installed electric wiring in anticipation of the electric plant functioning. Arc lights were placed along the streets and on January 12, 1912, the lights went on in Hudson" (not that you could count on around-the-clock service, Vince continued). Arc lamps required regular servicing and removal of ash -- a great deal more maintenance than the incandescent lamps that came later.