Cyanide. Arsenic. Asbestos. Coal tar.
All very nasty substances discovered in the ground at the future Worcester Regional Transit Authority maintenance garage on Quinsigamond Avenue. The land was the site of a former manufactured gas plant built in the 19th century in Worcester’s big wave of expansion.
While today we burn natural gas for cooking and heating, in the 1800s coal was liquefied to produce a flammable gas. It was then piped underground to businesses and homes to provide an alternative to burning coal or wood, two fuels that were dirty and labor intensive to use.
The gas was also used for lighting and for street lamps throughout the city, replacing older oil-burning lamps that required refilling and maintenance. As anyone who has opened up the walls of an older house knows, gas was installed before electricity.
In 1848, upon its incorporation as a city, Worcester shed its New England town-meeting style of government and board of selectmen in favor of a mayor, aldermen and common council. After a hundred-plus years as a small farming community, Worcester had grown to the point where it needed a stronger government to plan and guide the city.
In 1850, Henry Chapin — Worcester’s second mayor — put infrastructure and planning at the center of his inaugural address. Building sewers, paving roads, finishing the water system and extending gas “to a considerably greater extent than at present” were on his agenda.
The development of a gas system in the city is similar to building out broadband Internet access today, or the telephone system in the early 20th century. A complete system was seen as a mark of progress and advancement. In an era long before the environmental movement or even electricity, the byproducts of this process were not understood in the same way that we know them today.
The Worcester Gas Light Company was chartered by the state Legislature in 1851 and was given the exclusive right to provide gas in the city.
The law allowed the city to direct the gas company where to expand its system as long as it guaranteed a return on the company’s investment for those extensions. Recognizing that this arrangement might need to change, the city was given the option to purchase the corporation and run the system itself. Prices were also set to not put the city at a disadvantage versus other areas. The company was restricted from charging more than the “rates that may be charged for gas of similar kind and quality, in either of the cities of Boston, New York, or Baltimore.”
In the 1870s, the company moved the gasworks from Brook Street to Quinsigamond Avenue, along the rail lines, to better provide coal. After 75 years as a standalone company, the Worcester gas and electric companies combined in 1920s [more than 200 people were employed there in 1927, according to the Worcester Historical Museum] and the gasworks shuttered in 1970.
Once viewed as competitors, the long-term economic pressures on gas manufacturing and the widespread adoption of long-distance natural-gas pipelines caused consolidation of gas and electric companies throughout the industry.
Corporations in the 19th century were very different creatures than those of today. They were regulated in the types of business they could enter, the geographic areas in which they could operate, and even the number of shares of stock they could issue and the price.
The Worcester Gas Light Company was authorized to raise an initial sum of $200,000, with an additional $100,000 in the 1860s. Within a decade, it had raised $500,000 in working capital.
Using estimates done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, $500,000 in the mid-1800s is worth an estimated $14.2 million today. It is still a surprisingly small sum to build the gasworks, hire workers, procure supplies and lay pipe under the city streets. In all likelihood, the cleanup costs for the former gasworks site will exceed the amount spent to build the system.
According to Environmental Protection Agency estimates, there are anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 former manufactured gas plants in the United States. The earliest gasworks produced flammable gas by heating bituminous coal in an anaerobic (low oxygen) vessel. This created a highly impure gas that was filtered through water and lime, leaving behind contaminants and coal ash, or coke.
When the gasworks on Quinsigamond Avenue was constructed in the 1870s, technology had jumped forward with a Pennsylvania professor’s invention of carbureted water gas.
This process injected petroleum to liquefied gas, resulting in a more efficient fuel and increased consumer demand. While many of the byproducts were contained or reused, residual contaminants still remain at former manufactured gas sites across the country.
Prior to the introduction of gas light, the two main ways of lighting a home were through candles and oil lamps. A significant amount of labor was required to keep a home lit and heated.
Today, New England is well-forested and people often use wood stoves as an economical supplement to oil, gas or propane heat. The landscape was very different in the 19th century. The majority of the land had been cleared of trees, and people were looking for alternatives to wood. Some went as far as experimenting with cutting and drying peat on farms outside of Worcester.
Like many of the great technological achievements, piping manufactured gas to homes and businesses took a labor-intensive process and made it easier.
David DuBois writes about history for Worcester Sun and his own website. He holds a master’s degree in history from Clark University. Follow David on Twitter @davidjdubois.
This article was originally published in the Dec. 6, 2015 edition of the Sun.
Purchase a Worcester Sun membership for as low as $2.
Read also: Worcestory Lesson: A ‘diabolical outrage’ in 1850
Pingback: Worcestory Lesson: Worcester Gas Light Co., impact and legacy – Worcester
Really nice article and helpful for me.
My partner and I stumbled over here different website and
thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now I’m following you.
Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.
Looking great work dear, I really appreciated to you on this
quality work. Nice post!! these tips may help me for future.
I’m experiencing some small security issues with my
latest blog, and I’d like to find something
safer. Do you have any suggestions?
When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Appreciate it!|
Hello, there. I know this is off-topic, but I was wondering
which blog platform are you using for this site?
I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for
another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.
I am really happy to say it’s an interesting post to read .
I learn new information from your article , you are
doing a great job . Keep it up
I have been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or blog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I eventually stumbled upon this web site. Reading this information So i am happy to convey that I’ve an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I such a lot for sure will make certain to don?t put out of your mind this website and provides it a look on a constant basis.|
What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely helpful and it has aided me out loads.
I hope to contribute & help other users like its aided me.
Sekolah ini berada di Kota Barabai, Kabupaten Hulu Sungai Tengah
(HST), Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan (Kalsel). Produk
tersebut antara lain lilin berpewangi, obat tidur berbahan herbal,
lulur tradisional, sabun mandi, bedak obat gatal, balsam dan lainnya.
Produk-produk tersebut digunakan di kalangan siswa sebagai testimoni.
“Selain ilmu meracik obat dari para apoteker, mereka juga membuat produk tersebut, termasuk mendesain labelnya sendiri. Kemudian membuat informasi pada produk berupa komposisi, bahan yang digunakan dan cara pakai,” kata Wakil Kepsek SMKF-PS Barabai, Rafsanjani.
Para siswa juga diberikan keahlian mengenal dan membaca tulisan dokter dalam
resep. Untuk itu, pihak sekolah juga sering menghadirkan para dokter, terkait
mengenal tulisan “keriting” dokter saat memberi resep kepada
pasien yang harus dibaca oleh mereka sebagai ahli kefarmasian. Untuk
tenaga pengajar, saat ini ada 30 orang. Terdiri dari tenaga
pengajar dari lulusan produktif (praktisi), yaitu apoteker
dan bidang kefarmasian lainnnya. Ada pula pengajar untuk pelajaran umum, yaitu agama
dan Bahasa Indonesia.
Hello, I read your blog occasionally, and I own a similar one, and I was just wondering if you
get a lot of spam remarks? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
I get so much lately it’s driving me insane, so any assistance is very much appreciated.
The young boys ended up stimulated to read
through them and now have unquestionably been having fun with these things.
At this time, it seems like WordPress is the preferred
blogging platform available right now. (from
what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your
blog? Great post, however, I was wondering if you could write a little more
on this subject?
When someone writes an article he/she maintains the thought
of a user in his/her brain that how a user can be aware of it.
Thus that’s why this paragraph is perfect.
my webpage; куни Москва
Get 100 USDT Trading Fee Credit Each.
Get 100 USDT Trading Fee
I really love the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems?
A small number of my blog audience have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but
looks great in Safari. Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?
This is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
Simple but very accurate information… Many thanks
for sharing this one. A must read article!
my web page :: tracfone 2022
Ꮋi! I know thiѕ iѕ kind of off topic Ƅut I ѡas wondering if you
knew wһere Ӏ coᥙld ɡеt a captcha plugin foｒ my commеnt foｒm?
I’m using the same blog platform as ʏours ɑnd I’m haѵing difficulty finding one?
Tһanks a ⅼot!
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning
this post plus the rest of the site is really good.
Here is my web blog … tracfone coupon
Hi there! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room
mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward
this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!
Online slots betting is a common kind of gambling that includes spinning reels afterward various
symbols on them in the hope of forming winning combinations.
Many slot machines have a specific theme, final similar to icons when fruits, diamonds, or even characters from famous media
franchises. Selecting a game and settling on a wager is the first step in slot betting.
Potential winnings from a interest depend upon the amount wagered.
After a wager is made, the player spins the reels in the hopes of lining occurring a winning raptness of symbols.
story pairings in many slot machines may unlock extra features similar to release spins or added rounds.
Pg Soft is just one of several producers of online slot games, each of which has a vast
library of titles including a variety of themes, features, and payout structures.
Betting upon slots may be a good habit to make some further money, and there are a
few things you can reach to growth your chances of winning: playing
games later a high RTP (return to player) %, seeking
out games later than high volatility, and taking advantage of the
casino’s incentives and promotions. Managing your
keep and environment spending limitations might incite you
avoid going on top of your limit and sullying your budget.
When it comes to the world of online gambling, slot betting is a good exaggeration to have fun and maybe win large.
It’s crucial to forlorn abandoned wager what you can afford to lose, fasten to sites that you know you can trust, and
pick reputed online slot game suppliers.
My website :: สล็อตเว็บตรง
It’s hard to come by educated people for this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
These are truly impressive ideas in concerning blogging.
You have touched some nice points here. Any way keep up wrinting.
I started here a few weeks ago and it feels good to be in a program where everyone is friendly and a no-judgment zone.
The lady at the desk was very helpful and sweet.
The nurse was amazing too. I highly recommend this place to anyone trying to change their life around.
I blog often and I seriously appreciate your information. This article has really peaked
my interest. I’m going to bookmark your website and keep checking for new details about once per week.
I subscribed to your Feed too.
Excellent article. I am dealing with some of these
issues as well..
Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted
to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!
You actually make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I find this
matter to be actually something that I believe I’d never understand.
It seems too complicated and very huge for me. I am looking forward to your subsequent publish, I will attempt to get
the hold of it!
This design is wicked! You certainly know how
to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost
moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
Yes! Finally someone writes about คาสิโนออนไลน์.
My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking
for. can you offer guest writers to write content for you?
I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on many of
the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome website!
Keep on working, great job!
Become a successful trader and start making up to $5000 a day.
The more you earn, the more we both profit.Copy Binary Options Trades