Archive for Thursday, January 5, 2012

100 years ago: While temperatures plunge, residents worry about natural gas shortage

January 5, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Jan. 5, 1912:

  • "At three o'clock this afternoon the weather observatory at the university reported that the mercury stood at two and a half degrees below zero. 'There'll be plenty of sunshine tomorrow,' said S. D. Flora, local observer, last night, 'but it will not help to warm things up very much. There will be but little wind but the temperature will remain near the zero mark.'"
  • "About nine o'clock this morning the Journal-World began receiving countless telephone calls as to what was the matter with the gas. From all parts of town these queries came. Some of them were from homes where the gas had gone out entirely, while others were from places where the gas was dying quickly. Following a call to Mr. Welch, superintendent of the Kansas Natural Gas Co. at Independence, Mayor Bishop called the Journal-World with this statement: '[Mr. Welch] tells me that the gas pressure has been reduced at Lawrence for the purpose of equalizing the gas provided to the various Kansas towns supplied by the same line. On the lines feeding Lawrence are Leavenworth, Atchison, St. Joe and Topeka. Mr. Welch states that a pressure of not more than 5 pounds will be furnished all these towns until the cold weather is all over. Mr. Welch stated to me that they have not the gas to provide and that he does not know when relief will come.... I believe that it would be wise for people to prepare additional fuel for heat.' Almost a panic was created in Lawrence this morning when the news was spread that the gas was going to be almost shut down. When it was learned that West Lawrence would suffer the most, the people out there began trying to provide themselves with protection against being left fireless."


Sarah St. John 6 years, 3 months ago

There are going to be a few more items on the natural-gas shortage in coming days. During that week in 1912, it almost pushed everything else off the front page! Try to imagine that happening today -- a gas utility (or actually it was the gas trust, not the local guys) saying "Sorry, there just isn't enough," and cutting your service back to almost nothing. (And imagine you don't have electric heat or stove either.) Lots of folks didn't have fireplaces anymore, and even if they could buy coal or wood, they didn't have the stoves or furnaces to burn it anymore -- or they'd have to have them re-fitted to do so. Meanwhile it was the coldest January since the 1890s! Brrrrrr!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

That link doesn't work for some reason.

But it you go to Google Books and search for "gas shortages of 1912" you should find the article(s).

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