In 1998, I created this site to fill a void on the Internet. Back then, there was very little information on the subject of utility poles on the Internet. At the time, one of the few web sites that I knew of that was devoted to utility poles (although it actually focused more on high tension towers) was a website, created by someone from Texas, called The Electric Pole Shrine, which also has several other pages found among free webpage provider sites. Not surprisingly, I found that there was also not a newsgroup even remotely on the specific subject. The closest one that I knew of was misc.industry.utilities.electric. To some extent, another newsgroup, called alt.railroad, mentions about telephone poles as well. In addition, I had hoped to find out some fascinating and obscure history regarding utility poles, some of which I did. Thanks to this website that I've had up since then, I have found out more about such information. Many who visit this site have also learned from what I have posted, some of who have contributed as well. Nowadays, there are also other websites that provide information on utility poles. For instance, Wikipedia has some pages related to utility poles. My site was created just a few years before Wikipedia, which, from what I've read, first officially went online in 2001.
When I first created this site, it was called "The Telephone Pole Page." Then, when I was doing search queries on the internet, I noticed that I was getting better results with the term "utility poles" than I was with "telephone poles." This made me realize that the industries who are involved in them most commonly call them "utility poles." They seem to be called this in newspaper reports as well (although I have seen at least a few instances in which the term "telephone pole" was used). The general public, however, most often calls them "telephone poles," a term that I had always used, myself, though have more recently developed the habit of calling them "utility poles." Other terms they go by are just plain "poles," as well as "electric poles," the latter of which I hear them being called less often. (I seem to be using the former term more recently.) Another term that they can go by is "telegraph poles." Other terms that I have seen or heard them referred as are "phone poles" and "power poles." I believe they can be referred to as "pylons" as well, perhaps in Britain. (I eventually found out that the term "pylons" in Britain actually refers to the tall metal objects that we call "towers," not the poles.) More recently, though, I have developed more of a habit of calling them "telephone poles" again, which I did originally, before creating this website.
To make the site name sound less generic, I renamed it "The Unofficial Utility Pole Page." I used the word "unofficial" because my observing of utility poles is actually a pastime. I also don't work in the electric nor the telephone industries, nor do I know anyone personally who works in either of them. However, in 2010, when I attempted to create a Facebook page called "The Unofficial Utility Pole Page" (just like the website), it did not accept the word "official." For this reason, this website was renamed "The Utility Pole Fan Page," since Facebook seems to accept the word "fan." For some time now, I though that, maybe, the name, "The Utility Pole Fan Page," sounded a little too generic, so as of November 2015, I have decided to rename it "oldgreypole.com," after the domain name that I first registered in 2004, which I eventually started using more exclusively for this website. Originally, the domain name was used for several other things as well, such as the location of the comic strip episodes that I created, that are now located at the domain name of johnlundscomics.com, which I first registered in 2010. Also, for some time, I had wanted to created a new banner for this website, which is finally being used now. It is based on the circa 1963 and 1964 "Screen Gems" dancing sticks closing bumper.
Many of my observations and questions that I have on other pages in this site are mostly based on where I grew up — in Montague, Massachusetts, and its villages that make up the town — as well as such nearby towns as Greenfield (where I live now) and Amherst.
It all started one morning back in 1977 while waiting for the school bus that I first noticed the metal numbers on the poles were in order. Having quite a fixation towards numbers, this fascinated me. I was soon looking at all of the numbers on the poles. This was soon followed by the excitement over other things about the poles. For instance, I enjoyed checking on those poles that were getting replaced. In some cases, I saw the linemen transferring the wires from an older pole to a newer one. I recall that 1978 was a year that a lot of these old poles were getting replaced in my area.
I also eventually became fascinated by the engrave marks on these poles after I noticed a "77" on one that I remember was put up in 1977. They say that you can tell how old a tree is by the number of rings it has. In the case of utility poles, it is the engrave marks. By the early 1980's, however, my enthusiasm towards the utility poles waned somewhat, though not completely. There were moments of excitement occurring now and then about these poles, such as some more getting replaced, and the installation of newer street lights.
Since the summer of 1998, I have become nostalgic about this particular part of the late 1970's. I went around and revisited some of the engrave marks on the utility poles once again. I also decided to take pictures of some of the older poles in my area while they are still there, in the event that they may end up getting replaced someday. This is something I regret not doing over twenty years ago; otherwise, I would have some interesting photographs to look at today. I am glad that some of the older poles of are still standing today so I can have the chance to take pictures of them. I find these older ones particularly interesting, probably because they bring back memories of when I looked at poles about twenty years ago, and that it is fun to find out how old these poles really are since they date way before my time.
I am often reminiscing about all those old poles that no longer stand today, how it's sad and a shame that they are no longer around today, and how I feel like I miss them. I also sometimes think about what the older poles that were replaced even longer ago may have looked like. I also reminisce about the old yellow bulb street lights and purple mercury-vapor ones, many of which have been replaced by the bright orange sodium-vapor ones.
My interest in poles has eventually waned a little, but not by much, as I still enjoy looking at the poles. This is probably because I eventually started to have a car, and have biked around even less as well. Also, as the years went by, more and more of the older poles were getting replaced. There was also an incident that occurred with me in 2001 that greatly hurt my interest in taking pictures of telephone poles. For this reason, I no longer take pictures of them. The last time I did was in April 2006.
April 26, 2017
June 15, 2016