Trying to get a quick glimpse of the temperature during your commute? The answer used to be high in the sky, but now you’ll need another source.
Peco’s crown lights, which once displayed the time, temperature, and date, haven’t shared any info about the weather for almost two years.
A reader recently submitted an inquiry to Curious Philly, The Inquirer’s question-and-response forum, about what happened to the temperature display on Peco’s skyscraper. Here’s what we found.
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Peco, which first began displaying messages atop its crown lights in 1976 and debuted a greener LED system in 2009, said “software challenges” resulted in inaccurate temperatures being displayed. The company tried out some short-term solutions but decided to pull the temperature down as it looked for a permanent solution, said Afia O. Ohene-Frempong, a spokesperson for the electric company.
“We absolutely intend to display the temperature in the future,” she said. “We’re actually evaluating all software and hardware options this year, and will know after that evaluation what our timeline would be for any upgrades to the historic crown lights.”
The date? That’s no longer there, either. But that decision was likely a more deliberate one.
"We also can’t say exactly when the date went away, but we imagine that a business decision was made at the time that most people likely know the date, and the space could be better used for other information," Ohene-Frempong added.
Peco is able to display scrolling messages and animation — remember the “special message” the company put on its lights after Bears kicker Cody Parkey’s last-second field-goal attempt, now colloquially referred to as the “double doink”?
You don’t have to miss a game-winning field goal to end up in lights, however. Peco encourages local community organizations and nonprofits to submit messages. Since 1976, the company has displayed more than 17,500 messages, with about 850 requests coming in annually.
Submitting is easy — messages should be no longer than 72 characters and must be sent in eight weeks in advance.
“For almost 43 years, the crown lights have been of service to the community — first displaying time, date, and weather, and then messages from nonprofit organizations in the region each night for thousands of residents, runners, commuters, and visitors,” Ohene-Frempong said.
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