Gasholder stabilization work begins in Concord

  • Efforts to shore up the gasholder walls and roof have begun in Concord.

  • T.J. Sances of Yankee Steeple Jack from Harvard, Mass., secures a block under wires that will be tightened to shore up the Gasholder building off of South Main Street in Concord on Tuesday. GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • T.J. Sances of Yankee Steeple Jack from Harvard, Massachusetts secures a block under wires that will be tightned to shore up the Gasholder building off of South Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, September 22, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Gasholder project to shore up the roof has begun. The red notice with a white X tells firefighters that the building is unoccupied. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • T.J. Sances of Yankee Steeple Jack from Harvard, Massachusetts secures a block under wires that will be tightned to shore up the Gasholder building off of South Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, September 22, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Gasholder project to shore up the roof has begun. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • T.J. Sances of Yankee Steeple Jack from Harvard, Massachusetts secures a block under wires that will be tightned to shore up the Gasholder building off of South Main Street in Concord on Tuesday, September 22, 2022. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 2/23/2022 10:03:05 AM

Work has begun on stabilizing Concord’s historic gasholder building from collapse as efforts continue to develop a plan for its long-term survival.

Most of the initial work will happen inside the round brick building, including the construction of scaffolding to help support the roof and a broken compression ring that runs around the base, according to the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

“The major goal of the work is to prevent a catastrophic loss of this last-of-its-kind landmark while providing time for additional planning and fundraising,” the group said in a release.

The Preservation Alliance said Liberty Utilities will match funds from an anonymous donor. This initial phase of preservation will cost approximately $500,000 of the estimated $2.6 million to complete the first two phases of preservation, while the final cost will depend on what is done with the building and surrounding property.

The gasholder is 88 feet in diameter and almost 30 feet high. It was built in 1888 to hold “manufactured gas” for lights and heating, which was made by processing coal brought to the site in rail cars. That job ended after natural gas arrived via pipeline in 1952 and the building has been mostly empty since.

Its condition has deteriorated, especially after a falling tree punched a hole in the roof in 2014, letting in rain and wildlife.

Liberty Utilities took ownership of it and the surrounding 2.3 acres in 2012 when it bought National Grid’s gas business in the state, but has no use for it. The company had threatened to tear it down but later said it would match donations up to about $500,000 to stabilize the building.

A number of former gasholder buildings exist in the U.S., including one at St. Paul’s School, but the one on South Main Street Concord’s appears to be unique because it contains all the internal workings. At one time it could hold as much as 120,000 cubic feet of gas.


David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.



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