Moonlight Tower.

Moonlight Tower: Dazed and Confused

Field review by the editors.

Austin, Texas

Austin was one of the first cities in the U.S. to have electric street lights. But that was in 1894, and individual lights on single poles weren't yet practical. Instead, Austin bought second-hand "Moonlight Towers" from Detroit, 150 feet tall, ringed by carbon arc lamps so bright that citizens could supposedly read their wristwatches nearly a quarter-mile away. The towers probably weren't popular with people trying to sleep nearby, but they were credited with putting a stop to a serial killer nicknamed The Servant Girl Annihilator.

Seventeen of the Moonlight Towers are still standing, their arc lamps long ago replaced by less harsh mercury vapor lamps (They still glow at night). The most famous tower is the one in Zilker Park, popularly believed to be in the keg party scene of the 1993 film Dazed and Confused. In fact, the keg party scene was shot in several area parks, but mostly in Walter E. Long Park, which has no tower (A 10-foot-high tower section was brought in for close-ups). But since the scene was supposed to look like Zilker Park with its tower, it might as well be.

(Thank you to the staff at the Austin Film Commission for helping us clear up the confusing Dazed and Confused story.)

Moonlight Tower: Dazed and Confused

Address:
Andrew Zilker Rd, Austin, TX
Directions:
In Zilker Park. Hwy 1/S. Mopac Expy exit onto Hwy 2244. Drive north to Rollinwood Drive and turn right into the Park. Drive until the road ends, turn left, then turn right. You'll see a parking lot on the left; the Tower is just behind it.
Hours:
Best at night. (Call to verify)
Phone:
512-974-6700
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