Hoboken’s 5th Street Marbelites

When the City of Hoboken upgraded the traffic signals along Washington Street in 2018, I was very pleased to be a part of the Hoboken Historical Museum Signal project.  As a token of appreciation for installing Hoboken’s oldest traffic light from Washington and 1st in their museum, the museum staff gave us several pieces of retired equipment, including Hoboken’s second oldest traffic light; this circa 1947 Marbelite 4-way “cluster” from the corner of Washington and 5th.

In the photos above, the signal is suspended from an aluminum pole from the ’70s or ’80s. The original 1940s pole would have been steel, with a guy wire mast arm.  Hudson County maintained their traffic signals for an unusually long time, so many old signals were transferred to newer poles like this. But after 70+ years in service, this Marbelite workhorse was finally being put to pasture.

Randy and Mike transported our gifts to the 3-Lite Guy signal workshop and carefully dismantled the two 4-way clusters (the yellow one is a 1970s Econolite).

I have two of the four heads from the Marbelite cluster. Note the pinkish-red paint peeking out from under the latest coats of green. The Horni cluster we installed in the museum also has a red layer. The red is not the base layer, however. I’m not actually sure what the original color was. In this era, signals were often painted silver, and I have seen vintage photos of silver signals in Hoboken, and there is some evidence of silver paint in these lights, but the insides are green, so these may have started out green.

These lights are in very good shape, with all of the glass and essential parts intact. I like their weathered look, and there are photographs of them in service, so I’m keeping them in off-the-street condition.  I used a pair of decorative Marbelite brackets to bind them as a 2-way cluster and hooked it up to my Eagle EF-20 controller.