City Council knew what was going on.
So did officials in Collier County government working with Mayor Sammy Hamilton and others in Everglades City leadership positions on replacing vintage lampposts with taller, brighter, modern models that illuminate urban highways.
But not all concerned citizens did, and that is usually a sign that something is out of sync.
If a municipal project is so necessary and so worthy of so many officials’ valuable time, why wouldn’t they want their constituents to know about it — and know how more than $240,000 in federal funds is being spent?
By the time Everglades City history lovers were aware of what was happening and alerted this newspaper, the classic poles with the traditional, round globes up top had been torn out.
It was too late.
Surely at least one can be retrieved from the dump for permanent public display. After all, area historian Marya Repko says these beauties were installed by county founder Barron Gift Collier in the same year that he completed the Tamiami Trail, 1928.
She recalls the lights were part of the local color for the 1957 filming of “Wind Across the Everglades” with Burl Ives, Gypsy Rose Lee and Christopher Plummer (and locals Totch Brown and Cory Osceola) and were on duty for President Harry Truman’s visit in 1947 to dedicate Everglades National Park.
The understated poles survived Hurricane Donna in 1960.
Repko says the lights worked until the end, though their bases were rusty. We understand how most civic infrastructure — from streets to sewers — eventually need replacing. Yet, in the absence of the clear and present danger from the equipment that’s in place, especially when it is as iconic as those street poles, why the rush? And why less than full public knowledge in advance of what’s going on — or coming down?
What a crummy way to say goodbye to a piece of Everglades City mystique. There was no goodbye at all.