Natural Gas – 100 Years Ago Today, June 2, 1923!

Natural Gas – 100 Years Ago Today, June 2, 1923!

natural gas nowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.


Natural gas news from a hundred years ago offers great perspective for discussing one of the cleanest sources of energy available then and still today.

I thought it might be fun and illuminating to look back 100 years ago at what was happening with natural gas. It is eye opening, given all we’ve learned over the last century. There is, indeed, little new under the sun, as our stories repeatedly demonstrate.

There is, indeed, little new under the sun, as our stories repeatedly demonstrate. Natural Gas – 100 Years Ago Today, June 2, 1923. Read our 100-year old news items on the subjects of Audubon Park, a Canadian pipeline break, the Golfmore Hotel in Michigan, Pennsylvania drilling and Montana flaring rewards.

Natural Gas Creates History!

There is, just outside Louisville, Kentucky, a small community named Audubon Park. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places as an example of early town planning and is called an “urban jewel.” It started in 1912 but didn’t take off until this:

02 Jun 1923, Sat The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) Newspapers.comnatural gas history

Yes, natural gas did it! Audubon Park’s Wikipedia entry, in fact, says “Development was very slow until Louisville Gas and Electric laid gas mains and installed streetlights in the 1920s, at which point it was estimated that a new house was begun every two weeks.” Check it out today here.

Send A Special Train with A Repair Gang

Accidents and emergencies happen, but notice how the repair crew is sent to the scene to fix this flood-destroyed pipeline.

02 Jun 1923, Sat Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) Newspapers.comnatural gas history

Resort Kitchen Fueled by Natural Gas Find

Back in the day, small natural gas wells often served individual users such as the Grand Beach hotel/resort.

02 Jun 1923, Sat The Herald-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) Newspapers.comNatural gas history

Grand Beach is still a very popular resort area and is presumably still served by natural gas. The Golfmore hotel, though, burned in 1939 but had suffered raids for liquor sales and gambling that didn’t help either. Here’s a post card image:

natural gas history

Pottmeyer Oil Company Well Goes to Pot

Who knew Perry County, Pennsylvania had oil? Meanwhile, Washington County and its neighbor Greene County still produce oil and lots of natural gas.

02 Jun 1923, Sat Pittsburgh Daily Post (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) Newspapers.comnatural gas history

As for the Pottmeyer Oil Company, it’s not clear what happened to it but there are several individuals named Pottmeyer who are active in the region’s oil and gas business.

The Roar of Success!

Flaring of natural gas wells is now  largely a thing of the past but the roar a flared well was thrilling, indeed, for anyone who has seen or heard it.

02 Jun 1923, Sat The Butte Miner (Butte, Montana) Newspapers.comnatural gas history

Yes, there were good reasons to flare but technology has changed things in recent years and, of course, the impact on CO2 emissions became a cause for fractivists so, while is mostly gone, the result is a win for all.

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