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New lighting atop Hotel Concord might signal news and weather

  • The new lighting at Hotel Concord Bill Graham, IronWorks Images—Courtesy

  • The new lighting at Hotel Concord Bill Graham, IronWorks Images—Courtesy

  • The Hotel Concord with its blue lights on after sunset on Thursday, September 12, 2019. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 9/13/2019 12:01:55 PM

If you look up while strolling South Main Street you’ll find there’s a colorful addition to downtown Concord, and if all goes as planned it will be an informative addition as well.

“Last week they were red because St. Paul’s School went back to school. This week it’s blue because we’re testing the blue lights,” said Sue O’Donnell, general manager for the Hotel Concord.

The Capital Commons building, which houses the hotel and several other businesses, is newly adorned with lighting along what is known as its architectural eyebrow that will illuminate the top arc of the building different colors.

“We definitely going to use it, for community and national events, like for St. Patrick’s Day … or when the Patriots win. And we may do it like a weather vane,” she said. 

That last effort would echo the “weather beacon” atop the old John Hancock building in Boston. As locals know, that light changes as a blunt forecast of upcoming weather, as told by a poem: “Steady blue, clear view; flashing blue, clouds due; steady red, storms ahead; flashing red, snow instead.” It also changed color to mark notable events like when the Celtics won an NBA championship, which used to be a fairly regular occurrence.

With LED lights, which can easily be made to change the spectrum of the light they emit, color-switching is easier. O’Donnell said a control panel has been set up in the sixth-floor electrical closet to control them the display. 

“We’re still deciding how to do it,” she said. An announcement will be coming soon to let Concord residents know whether they’ll need to learn a weather poem of their own.

Since LEDs allow a greater range of colors, the poem could be considerably more detailed. Maybe something like: “Pulsed off-white, clear all night;  dark indigo, lots of snow; taupe and ochre, a real soaker.”

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or dbrooks@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)
David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of the monthly Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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