One of America’s oldest electric signs still in existence today is the “Electric City” sign of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
Dating back to the turn of the 20th century, the Electric City sign was built to commemorate Scranton’s status as being one of the first American cities to become electrified. It was one of the first cities in the country to have a business lit by electrical lights in 1880 and the first city in the USA to receive an electrical-powered streetcar network in 1886. These achievements earned Scranton the “Electric City” nickname and it was only fitting that Scranton would receive a state of the art electric sign to commemorate its achievements!
Sadly enough, however, the sign was turned off sometime during the mid-20th century and it sat dormant for several decades until it received its first major overhaul in 2004, At that time, the original 40-watt filament incandescent bulbs were replaced with 1 watt LED bulbs that used far less electricity than the original bulbs and made its operational expenses considerably less expensive.
Unfortunately, the sign went dark again another decade or so later when 40% of the new LED bulbs burnt out! As a result, it underwent yet another renovation in 2014 to not only install new bulbs, but to restore the sign to an earlier color scheme used in the 1930s. Fundraising for this restoration was organized in large part by the Italian-American cultural organization La Fiesta Italiana. And ironically enough, the color scheme of the sign features the same red, white, and green used in the Italian flag!
- http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-s-iconic-electric-city-sign-to-shine-again-1.1736350 (Article from Scranton’s Times-Tribune newspaper about the 2014 restoration of the Electric City sign.)