Can somebody explain to me why towns so often placed pillars in the
center of intersections like we see here ? I realize the speed and overall
lack of lane control made such an obstacle no problem, but it still seems
an odd thing to do, unless covered in directional signs or similar.
Those are street signs. It names the streets.
Same spot today but not near as busy,
Ken in Texas
Burger - A certain amount of conjecture on my part here, but I'm pretty sure this might account for as least some of them:
Back in horse & buggy days, it was common to put some sort of fountain/horse watering facility in some of the main intersections. It would commonly look like a sort of bird bath or bowl type thing with a running fountain to keep the water fresh for the horses to drink. Then, during the first part of the 20th century as horses became less prevalent and automobiles took over, I think it was common to discontinue maintenance of the fountain/running water thing, but rather than remove the entire structure, it was regarded as a good place to install street signs and statues and such, and I suppose these remained in place for awhile, until they got damaged too often by vehicular traffic and the entire thing was then removed forever.
In other words, I think those "pillars" as you call them actually had a practical function once upon a time, but just sort of gradually faded away with the livery stables and such,..... FWIW,.... harold
I haven't been there for a while but in Kansas City Mo there is a big one at Linwood and Troost or close buy
In Yale Oklahoma where my family has been for generations, they had pillars similar to those on the main street every few blocks and also one of the avenues had the pillars. They were the point you could make a "legal" U-turn. If you made a U-turn anywhere else you could be fined. They were still in place till the late 1980s when they finally removed them when they re-did the street paving. I do not remember the exact wording, but something painted on the pillar stated that U-turns were allowed. I believe they were a carry over from wagon days. They did not want you turning the wagon and team around right in the middle of town. Most of the pillars I have seen are usually a block or two from the busiest center of town ... Back in my younger years, It was a Saturday night ritual to "make the drag" we would cruise thru the local diners parking lot, (looking for girls) and then head down "main" cruising and looking "cool" and then at the end of "main" we would U-turn around the old pillar and cruise "main" again in the other direction. (just in case we missed some girls) or maybe she did not have enough viewing time of us "Cool Guys". Then we would head back to the diner parking lot to start the "drag" all over again.
Harold, when I was a kid growing up, there was a very fine horse watering fountain at the intersection of Center St and Beacon St. It was brick and masonry and was still operating into the early '50s. It may still be there. For some years either the city or the local garden club planted flowers in it in the summer.
I forgot to mention in the above post that it was Newton Center, MA.
We had them in Australia, called 'dumb cops'
so you didn't cut the corners at intersections, you needed to turn after you past them.
Also in Australia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_cop