Excelsior Downtown - Miscelleneous comments from a 2002 report
" Excelsior had unpaved streets edged by wood sidewalks, slightly raised above the level of the street bed. By the early years of the twentieth century, some form of paving, probably crushed gravel, had been introduced, and the sidewalks had been replaced by solid slabs of concrete. Street railway tracks ran in two directions along Water Street and curved westward along Second Street up the hill. In fact, the introduction of the street railway tracks was the impetus for improved street paving. Tall wood poles held electric lines, telephone lines, and arc lamps suspended above the street. By 1932, the streets were paved by some kind of paver blocks, possibly granite. The tracks were still in place, but the arc lamps above the street had been removed.5
Once the streetcars were taken out of service and bituminous pavement became more readily used as a paving material in the years after World War II, Excelsior followed this pattern of street repaving. Several years ago, the City of Excelsior installed electrified cast-iron double-arm lamp standards for street lighting along Water Street between Lake Street and George Street. These standards follow a historic pattern that has often been used in urban environments. Street trees have also been planted on Water Street between Lake Street and George Street and in front of 409 Second Street. Decorative cast-iron grates fabricated by the Neenah Foundry have been installed at the bases of the trees. Artificial stone pavers have been placed on the sidewalk in front of 409 Second Street and along Masonic Alley. A contemporary Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus shelter sits on the sidewalk in front of 35 Water Street."
5 —Excelsior Downtown Historic District Designation Study
Hess, Roise 2002