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

THE STATE OF VERMONT

Introduction

           Vermont’s limited experience with manufactured gas largely was confined to the cities along its east border, the Connecticut River, at Lake Champlain, and a few of the cities marking the main early roads. Vermont has the distinction that its Burlington No. 2 (Canal Street) gas works was the last to serve straight manufactured gas in the United States (1966) and was one of the first two Figs placed on the NPL, and on the first round (1982) on nominations and selections, resulting in 115 listings.

           Manufactured gas arrived in Vermont about 1853, at Burlington, on the east bank of Lake Champlain and that city has three FMGP locations. Most of the major cities in the State, though relatively small, received gas plants in the 1950s, with one being constructed (1863) during the civil war (St. Johns bury). Thereafter only limited expansion occurred during the remainder of the 19th century. With the advent of the 20th century, new plants were constructed to support carbureted water gas production.

           There is indication that multiple gas plants existed at Burlington, Montpelier, Rutland.

           Gas manufacturing processes likely were dominated by wood gas, phasing into coal-gas at about the time of the Centennial, then carbureted water gas (CWG) after 1900. It is likely that the earliest gas machines were by Cubin, which was adaptable to fatwood, and which we know was present at Woodstock in 1864, where gas was made from “kerosene tar.” CWG was installed, however, at four of the cities in 1883, likely under sales pressure from UGI, of Philadelphia. It can be expected that acetylene gas plants were common after 1894 in many of the towns and it is known that residential acetylene plants were in place in the more substantial homes at Bellows Falls.

            Due to the relatively smallness of event the major cities, consolidations were not common, but such was present in the 1916 merger that created the Montpelier & Bare Light & Power Co., where the cities were about 15 km distance.

            Holding company activity in Vermont began about 1894, when UGI owned the St. Albans gas plant, and then reappeared in 1908 when the Green Mountain Electric Co. of Burlington took over existing gas manufacturing, and the small plant at Stamford, on the Massachusetts boundary was also owned in that year by the Massachusetts Lighting Companies. In 1918 the General Gas & Electric Co. controlled Rutland’s gas generation and two Boston holding companies were in place in 1924 (Bare, St. Albans and Springfield merged to form Vermont Lighting Corp.) and in 1925, the Twin States Gas & Electric Co. (Boston) owned the plants at Bennington, Brattleboro and St. Johns bury. The latter holding company merged (1943) into the Central Vermont Public Service Co.)

            Natural Gas understandably was late in arriving in Vermont. In fact, six of the 14 counties never had gas service in this manufactured gas era. By 1952, LPG was being provided in 6 counties and only two counties (Caledonia and Chittenden) were being served by manufactured gas, including the cities and towns then served by the St. Johns bury Gas Company and the Green Mountain Power Corporation.

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

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

Copyright © 2012  by Dr. Allen W. Hatheway    All rights reserved.
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