The pink paint marking the drains, and the broken water main a few months ago, drew attention to all the stuff that’s happening below our streets. So the other day, we wandered around with our cameras pointing at all the circles and rectangles on the sidewalk. There were a lot of them: a wealth of services beneath our feet, representing civilization, urban comfort, and the conveniences of Forest Knolls. It’s strange to think we’re only a couple of generations away from fetching water from wells, using outhouses, and lighting our nights with candles and our streets with gas.
It was an interesting mix of covers. This grating was like a piece of modern art, with the ladder reaching down to a reflective circle of water below. At first, it appeared to be a drain of some sort… but it’s got the words PG&E and “High Voltage.”
Another “High Voltage” cover was more prosaic, a simple concrete rectangle.
In fact, quite a few covers on the street were from PG&E. This manhole cover with a nice geometric design seems to be, though it’s difficult to know which cover does what. (If anyone knows, leave a comment! Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Another whole bunch were from the Water Department. (The sewer cover’s included here, though it’s actually labeled SFDPW.)
The little square with holes in it is most probably a drain cover.
But the handsomest cover on the street is a cast iron oval with the Golden Gate Bridge on it, labeled San Francisco Water Department Meter Box. Wonder when it was made? Some time in the 1950s, when Forest Knolls was built?
TELEPHONES AND TV AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS
And then there’s the Telephones. And the TV Cable. And the Survey Monument, which doesn’t represent a utility but instead helps put us on the map and define the lots on which our homes are built. And the Street Lights. And “Electrical” again, but it’s not clear what and why, though it may be connected with the Street Lights since the covers are together and next to a lamp post.
And then there was this odd-looking pair of covers labeled PT-T. Anyone know what they are?
.Edited to Add: PT-T probably stands for Pacific Telephones and Telegraphs… (see the comment to this post – Thanks, Laura).
Or why X marks the spot on this sewer-cover?
Edited to Add: Just saw this — the moss has picked out “Bell System” on this cover.