Why Do the Lampposts on Campus Sometimes Stay On Into the Late Morning?

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

And what is up with the small lamp in front of Parrish?

Ralph Thayer, Director of Maintenance, told us that some lamps around campus are set to turn on and off at specific times, while others have timers that can be changed right from the Facilities office. The likely troublemakers, though, are those controlled by photo cells.

“Photo cells are not nearly as sensitive as the human eye,” Thayer explained. “On a bright clear morning they are likely to shut the lights off in a timely fashion. On a rainy overcast day they are likely to keep the lights on well into the morning even though we can see perfectly well without them.”

“Of course,” he added, “the other possibility is the lamps are being serviced so the circuit is turned for observation.”

As for the short lamp, it’s a stand-in for another lamppost that fell over. Apparently, some of the lamp bases in front of Parrish “appear to be badly cast or made from inferior metal,” said Thayer. Facilities plans to replace the bad bases when new ones arrive.

Feeling like your campus knowledge is inferior? Got so many questions you might just fall over? Email dailygazette [at] swarthmore [dot] edu and we’ll set you back on solid ground.

0 thoughts on “Why Do the Lampposts on Campus Sometimes Stay On Into the Late Morning?

  • November 7, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Glad to see someone finally got to the bottom of this… I can now sleep peacefully at night, thanks to you.

  • November 10, 2008 at 2:41 am

    It was grueling and dangerous investigative work, but somebody had to do it.


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