Concord Gasholder - Concord, NH
Posted by: Telomere
N 43° 11.773 W 071° 31.839
19T E 294384 N 4785714
Quick Description: What appears to be a railroad roundhouse is actually something else...
Location: New Hampshire, United States
Date Posted: 4/7/2009 2:45:09 PM
Waymark Code: WM65PJ
The size, the round shape, and the proximity to the downtown RR tracks (about 100 feet away) had me thinking this was a roundhouse - but it lacked the huge doors, and was up on a rise about 20 feet above track level - and the only marking anywhere is the date "1888" on the side, and no other signs anywhere! So, research was done - revealing this was a "gasholder" - a building with a huge tank inside, for storing natural gas for lighting and heating the downtown structures. Apparently it was constructed to mitigate a crisis - the Concord Gas Light Co. was repeatedly running out of gas when demand peaked - about 10 p.m. every evening! From THE SOCIETY of INDUSTRIAL ARCHEOLOGY, fall of 1982:
"Deily & Fowler of Laurel Iron Works in Philadelphia furnished the plans, which were altered by John M. Hill to suit the specific site requirements. The tank (the masonry well within which the movable gasholder operated) and building were constructed by W. C. Whyte 0f New York City. Construction cost about $35,000. As completed, the circular brick building measured 86 ft. in diameter and 28 ft. high. It had a slate roof topped by an octagonal cupola.
The holder was of the single-lift type, 80 ft. in diameter and 24 ft. high. ("Single-lift" means that the holder was fabricated in a single piece; larger gasholders were made in two or three sections that expanded and contracted somewhat like a telescope.) It had a capacity of 120,000 cu. ft. and was constructed of riveted boiler plate. The weight of the 80,000-lb. tank furnished the pressure that forced the gas through the distribution system. The company placed the holder in service in Dec. 1888. Its storage capacity solved the company's problems to such an extent that no additional holder was needed until after World War I. When the adjacent steel gasholder was finished in 1921, the 1888 holder became the repository for manufactured gas before it went to the new holder for city-wide distribution. This was done to allow some of the heavier tars and residue to settle out. It continued to be used this way until the company ceased gas manufacture late in the summer of 1952. That year the newly formed Concord Natural Gas Corp. connected with the national pipeline system bringing natural gas from the South and the Southwest. As soon as the city had been completely converted for the use of natural gas, the company discontinued operation of the 1888 gasholder.
Although out of service for thirty years, the holder was never altered or converted to another use by the gas company. Furthermore, it is believed to be the only surviving gasholder house in the U.S. with its gasholder still intact. As the last survivor of a once- common technology, it was essential to document the structure according to Historic American Engineering Record standards."
There was a sterling silver inkwell created in the shape of the gasholder, and presented to the company's manager in 1889; now property of the NH Historical society.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS Reference: (visit link