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In the Watches of the NightLife in the Nocturnal City, 1820-1930$
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Peter C. Baldwin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226036021

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226036038.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Lighting the Heart of Darkness

Lighting the Heart of Darkness

(p.14) Chapter 2 Lighting the Heart of Darkness
In the Watches of the Night

Peter C. Baldwin

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the role of gas streetlamps in community security in American cities during the 1800s. It describes a gas lamp that served as an outpost of order in the notorious Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan in 1850. It suggests that during this period gas lamps can be considered the best policemen because they allowed the nocturnal city to be seen, understood, and safely navigated. This chapter also mentions that property and public safety were thought to be secure in the presence of gas lamps and at grave risk in their absence.

Keywords:   gas streetlamps, community security, five points, manhattan, property safety, public safety

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