October Issue Extras!

The red, white and blue star, shown above, stands on the top of Mill Mountain. It is in a city called Roanoke (row ah noak)  in the state of Virginia. See the map at far right. It shines every night from sunset to midnight.

Some (very) interesting facts about El Paso's Star on the Mountain....

Bulb facts

The star is made up of nearly 500 bulbs!

It took about six months to replace all the bulbs with the new, cooler-burning fluorescent bulbs.

 Western Refining Company paid to have the bulbs changed from the old-style incandescent (in can deh sent) bulbs, to the energy-saving fluorescent (foor es sent)-style bulbs.

The old, 150-watt incandescent bulbs used about 30 percent more electricity than the newer ones. The new curly-style bulbs are more energy-efficient and so, lower the electric costs required to keep the star glowing.

The new bulbs last up to two years before they need to be replaced. The old incandescent bulbs, had to be replaced more often.

The filament in the incandescent bulbs burned white-hot when the bulbs were on. When cold raindrops during overnight storms on the mountain hit these hot bulbs, it caused many of them to burst, shattering glass all over the ground. So, whenever it looked like rain, Mr. Terry drove up the mountain to flip the switch to turn off the lights.

Nowadays, the lights on the star are programmed to go on and off automatically by a satellite-controlled timer. Using the Internet, Mr. Terry can pre-set the on-off schedule. Now, he doesn’t have to drive up and down the mountain to turn the star on and off!

 The star stays on from just after sunset, to before sunrise every night. It is programmed to stay on longer on weekend nights.


Star Facts

 According to Mr. Richard Dayoub, of the El Paso Chamber of Commerce, the cost of the electricity to keep the star on is $400 per month on average. That is about $14 per night.

Other expenses are: the satellite link for the timer, the cost of hiring a crew to repair the star, the cost of purchasing replacement parts, security costs and insurance.

The El Paso Electric Company contributes $25,000 per year to cover some of the costs of the star. Western Refining has been a big supporter of the star. For the past five years, T & T Staffing Solutions has donated money to support the star.

After the first star was built in 1940, improvements were made in 1946. The length of the star was increased to a total of 460 feet. That’s one-hundred feet longer than a football field!

Today the star is the same size as it was in 1946.

Some of the lights are separated by three feet of wire and some by four feet, depending on whether their positions are in a vertical or horizontal line.

The poles are made of steel. They are covered with a sealer so they can’t rust.

From its lofty height, the star may be seen from the east for 100 miles from the air and 30 miles away from the ground.

Airplane pilots are known to use the star as a guide.

The star on the mountain sits at an angle of 30 degrees and appears to be "perfect" when viewed from the corner of Texas and Alameda Avenues.
There are two other stars that glow high above U.S. cities. One is in Roanoke, Virginia and the other is in Boulder, Colorado. (See map.)-------------->>
Flagstaff Mountain Star

    The Flagstaff Mountain Star is in Boulder, Colorado (See where it is on the map).
     It was built in 1947 (sixty nine years ago!). It is often called the "Christmas Star" because it only shines during the holiday season beginning on the evening before Thanksgiving through January 1st.
     The light bulbs are strung on wires that swing 20-feet above the ground attached to poles.
     The lighted star is a beloved holiday symbol in Boulder. Volunteers work to keep it looking good. Just before Thanksgiving, they fix broken bulbs and wires.
     A local artist designed some holiday greeting cards that are sold to help pay for the repairs.
Mill Mountain Star
      The red, white and blue star on Mill Mountain in Roanoke, Virginia shines from sunset to midnight every night. In fact, this city sometimes goes by the name: "Star City"!

    When it was built in 1949, the Mill Mountain Star was turned on every evening from Thanksgiving through Christmas. The people of Roanoke were so proud of the star, that they wanted it to stay on all year. That's why the Mill Mountain Star now goes on every night.

        The Mill Mountain Star stands 88-feet tall. It is held upright by strong steel beams. It can be seen from anywhere in the city of Roanoke. In 1976 the all-white bulbs were changed to red, white and blue as a way to celebrate America's 200th birthday
(1776 to 1976).

       The Mill Mountain Star stands on a public park that includes a picnic area, a zoo and hiking trails! Pretty cool!


      If you live in El Paso, you don't have to watch the weather report to know that the sun shines brightly in the El Paso sky every day of the year. That's why El Paso sometimes goes by the nickname: "The Sun City".

      But wait! There's another bright light that shines high above El Paso. It's the five-pointed star on the south side of the Franklin Mountain. Every night, through rain, snow and even wind - as long as it's not too strong - the star continues to shine.

      Perhaps the nickname for El Paso should be "The Star City'!