Letter: Gasholder as a teaching tool

Published: 1/13/2021 12:02:13 AM

I have personal experience working at the gasholder.

Some 71 years ago I had a summer job as an apprentice ditch digger with the Concord Gas Company. That year we were preparing the lines for arrival of natural gas which was soon to replace the coal gas in use at the time. One day, instead of going out on the truck with my colleagues, I was assigned to work in the gasholder to refresh its filter bed. This was a nasty job – stinky and probably carcinogenic. It was said a few hours of exposure would rot out a good pair of boots. In any case I survived, no worse for the wear. My boots had to stay out in the shed for several weeks.

What are my thoughts about preserving the old gasholder? Other New England cities have historic relics of their industrial past: Hartford, Conn., Colt firearms; Springfield, Mass., the armory, North Easton, Mass., Ames Shovelworks; New Bedford, Mass., whaling; Lowell, Mass., textiles; Bath, Maine, shipbuilding, etc.

Concord is already renown for the Concord Coach, but we could also have a relic of the coal gas industry, arguably one of the worst polluting, greenhouse gas emitting energy technologies devised by man. Perhaps a restored gasholder could become a lesson and teaching tool on why we need to move toward zero carbon energy production. The building itself could be accompanied on the rest of the site by a field of solar panels to symbolically offset the environmental damage done by the coal gas industry many years ago.

GERHARD R. SCHADE Jr.

Mystic, Conn.




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