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Locations of Gas Plants and Other Coal-tar Sites in the U.S.

THE STATE OF INDIANA 

Introduction

            The Hoosier State was slow to start its affinity with manufactured gas, beginning with Indianapolis in 1852. Its more rugged topography placed it behind Illinois in development of coal-gas plants. Even though coal was readily available, its rail net was not. Several Indiana industrial cities, rimming Lake Michigan also came about after the turn of the 20th century, on the plan of Gary, built to make steel and, in so doing, consume gas and coke. Indiana’s Glass Belt came into being almost coincidentally with the discovery of natural gas, about 1887. Following the Ball Brothers 1887 example, but lagging to about 1895, glass manufacturers flocked to Indiana to take advantage of both resources. Glass, in fact, due to the Indiana experience, became a major American industry and it thrived on gas. Hence, the 110 glass factories existing in 1895, as Indiana became Number Two in American production, are prime suspects as coal-tar sites for supporting their own water-gas producers and related tar residuals.

            Indiana natural gas was fickle and over-rated in reliability of supply and many of the towns that came to support its use were disappointed. In 1896 the State Gas Inspector observed significant drops in natural gas well-head pressures and predicted an eventual decline toward exhaustion. Nearly as the glass plants were built so did the natural gas supply flag.

            These supply interruption problems played to the marketing of the manufactured gas plants and between 1905 and 1910 another surge of town gas plants were built, nearly all employing Lowe’s carburetted water gas process, strongly marketed by the United Gas Improvement Company (U.G.I.), of Philadelphia. Another round of failures of local natural gas fields began and continued through the early 1920s, resulting in the installation of more new manufactured gas plants in the State.

            External supplies of natural gas were not introduced until 1931 , when Henry L. Doherty arrived with his 1370-km Missouri-Kansas Pipeline Company, picking up Panhandle gas at Liberal Kansas. Shortly later the operation became known as the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline. The Indiana terminus was at Rockville, for ties to intermediate distribution systems owned by Columbia Gas & Electric Corporation.

Click the blue "EPA" link below to view the
Indiana map of the EPA 1985 Radian FMGP Report.

Click the green "Hatheway" link below to view the
Indiana map of Professor Hatheway's research.

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