2018-01-29: One-of-a-kind gasholder house named to National Register of Historic Places2018-12-17T14:04:48-05:00


Shelly Angers, N.H. Department of Natural & Cultural Resources
Twitter: @NHDNCR

Peter Michaud, N.H. Division of Historical Resources

One-of-a-kind gasholder house named to National Register of Historic Places

The New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources is proud to announce that the Concord Gas Light Company Gasholder House has been honored by the United States Secretary of the Interior with placement on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the last remaining gasholder house in the United States that retains its original equipment, including the gasholder tank.

Built in Concord’s south end in 1888 when coal gas was a major source of light and heat, the red brick Concord Gas Light Company Gasholder House is 88 feet in diameter, with 72 feet above grade and 24 feet below. Its distinguishing features include Italianate architectural details, a large conical roof held in place by compression and thrust rings, an octagonal wood cupola with arched windows on each side and a prominent copper weathervane. Valve houses on the building’s south and west provide entry.

A 120,000 cubic foot wrought-iron gasholder tank is located inside. Its sheet metal bell was designed to raise and lower into a below-grade brick water tank on eight iron rails as gas entered and left the building; any gas escaping the bell would vent through the cupola. Currently, the bell is empty and resting below grade in the water tank, forming a floor.

The City of Concord sponsored the nomination of the landmark structure amid public concerns for its preservation after a tree fell on it during a storm, piercing the north roof slope and it, structural members and the wall cornice. The building has been temporarily stabilized but not repaired.

Use of coal gas in the U.S. began in the early 19th century. By 1876, most towns and cities with more than 10,000 residents were served by gas plants, which had become an important fuel for municipal, industrial and residential illumination, as well as for heating and cooking.

Gasholder buildings played a significant role in the growth of American cities and were unique visual reminders of urban progress. The adoption of natural gas ended coal gas production. Coal gas was last produced at this site on August 13, 1953 and the Gasholder House has remained empty since that day.

Administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation and is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect our historic and archaeological resources.

Listing to the National Register does not impose any new or additional restrictions or limitations on the use of private or non-federal properties. Listings identify historically significant properties and can serve as educational tools and increase heritage tourism opportunities. The rehabilitation of National Register-listed commercial or industrial buildings may qualify for certain federal tax provisions.

In New Hampshire, listing to the National Register makes applicable property owners eligible for grants such as the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program or LCHIP (lchip.org) and the Conservation License Plate Program (nh.gov/nhdhr/grants/moose).

For more information on the National Register program in New Hampshire, please visit nh.gov/nhdhr or contact Peter Michaud at the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources at 603-271-3583.

New Hampshire’s Division of Historical Resources, the “State Historic Preservation Office,” was established in 1974. The historical, archaeological, architectural and cultural resources of New Hampshire are among its most important environmental assets. Historic preservation promotes the use, understanding and conservation of such resources for the education, inspiration, pleasure and enrichment of New Hampshire’s citizens. For more information, visit nh.gov/nhdhr or call 603-271-3483.