Last updated April 26, 2017



Marking Of Poles For Replacement

Down Arrow Most Common

In many cases, the down arrow painted near bottom of pole seems to be most common. Such poles getting replaced by telephone company-erected poles especially often seem to get marked this way.

Meaning Of Down Arrow?

I am guessing that it is a bit more likely that the painted arrow means "a new pole will go here" than it does "this pole will get replaced." On bit of proof is that several poles in a row on Route 47 in Hadley were getting replaced. All were marked with an arrow except for one, which didn't get a new pole erected next to it. Two of the poles had a side pointed arrow painted on them because the new poles for them were to be located several feet away from these poles.

Some Unusual Instances Of Arrows

I actually saw one instance of an arrow painted on a brand new pole for some reason. Maybe it has something to do with a pole just slightly older next to it.

On a couple of poles, I saw a painted arrow that was not pointing downward; it was pointing towards the left of the pole it was painted on instead. I figured out that it is because it means that the new pole will not be located directly next to the old one, but a bit away from it on that side that the painted arrow is pointing. I saw a few more instances of arrows painted like this.

I also saw one case of a double-headed arrow painted on an old pole, located on Silver Street in Greenfield. This pole has now been out of service for several years.

I saw one pole with an arrow pointing up. This is located on a dirt road in a wooded area in Colrain.

On one old pole serviced only by the telephone company, there was a vertical line painted on it. This pole is located on Swamp Road in Montague Center, where it is directly across a new house being built. The electric company erected several other new poles nearby as well, replacing up to three other poles.

I also saw at least a couple of poles with two arrows painted on them. These are located in or near Florence.

Other Ways That Poles May Be Marked
Town Pattern?

The way a pole is marked for replacement seems to depend on what town they're in, though it may depend, actually, on exactly who marks them. Here are a few examples:

  • Greenfield, Bernardston, and Shutesbury use the down arrow.
  • Turners Falls (a part of Montague) uses the little sticks, but sometimes "X" as well.
  • South Hadley uses "X"; I believe Whately does as well.
  • Northfield seems to use "X" as well.
  • Amherst painted the words "NO TV" on at least one or two poles.
  • The horizontal line around a pole was used at least once in Leverett, Greenfield, and Turners Falls.
  • Montague Center used both an arrow and an all-around horizontal line on at least a couple of poles.
  • Perhaps there may not be any particular pattern after all. One Turners Falls pole that was marked in December 1999 has a down arrow and an all-around horizontal line. Maybe it depends on who marks a pole or why it is marked a certain way.
  • Less Marking, Replacing, and Removing Of Poles During The Winter?

    One pattern that is obvious is that, during the winter when there is snow on the ground, poles are marked for replacement less often. A similar pattern applies to the removing of old poles; one exception is an old pole with the WMECo. ID number 29 on Elm Street in Greenfield. It was removed in February 2004. Another similar pattern that often occurs is the lesser number of new poles erected at this time of year, unless a pole breaks in two as a result of a car accident or something. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, such as the erection of a new pole on the corner of West and Elm Streets in Greenfield in February 2004; the pole that it is replacing hasn't been hit or anything.

    Perhaps there is no such pattern about poles being marked after all. Some poles in Greenfield were marked in February 2005. These poles in Greenfield that were marked in February 2005 seem to have the arrows painted a bit higher than usual. My guess is that it is because of the snow on the ground.

    The ID Numbers From Old Poles

    Removal Of Old ID Numbers

    There seem to be a few cases in which some or all of the ID numbers and name tags are cut or taken off an old pole after some or all of the wires are transferred to a new pole. One or both of the companies may have done this. I had noticed this (and was also surprised by this) when I revisited a few poles in Turners that are getting replaced. Perhaps it was because the ID numbers of some of the telephone company numbers have changed when the respective company hammered numbers on the new poles.

    Reusing Old ID Numbers

    I have also seen a few instances in which a utility company reuses an ID number by taking it off an old pole and putting it on the new one that is replacing it. This is especially evident of an instance that I've seen in Amherst and Bernardston, as well as a possible instance apiece in Northfield and Hadley.

    Reusing, Erecting, and Taking Down Poles

    Reused Poles

    Once in a while, I even see an instance of a pole getting reused. Here are a few examples. Except for the Erving one, it is evident that they were formerly located somewhere else because of indications of ID numbers that are no longer there.

    I can think of as many as three other poles that may have been relocated to where they are now.