(Addendum: There are two problems with this idea. One is that the Concord tank still has all its workings, including the massive cap that floated on the gas. This is what makes it quite possibly unique among the nation’s gasholder buildings, but it would also make it very expensive to turn into a swimming pool. The other problem is pointed out by a comment below: The German tank is steel, while Concord’s is brick. Very different materials, very different capabilities.)

Concord has an old gas holder building, a.k.a. gasometer – a lovely but decaying and expensive-to-fix-up remnant of the days when gas for lights and heat was made by processing coal, then stored on site. The city’s gasometer held 120,000 cubic feet of the stuff under a giant floating cap, but it closed in 1953 when natural gas (known as “rock gas” at the time to differentiate it from coal gas) came to the city. There were other, smaller gasometers around, including one at St. Paul’s School.

There has been debate for years about what to do with the building, which is a lovely round brick structure near the highway. It would cost a couple million bucks to make the building safe and since the owner, Liberty Utilities, has no use for the property they are loathe to spend the money. The building is slowly falling apart and even though it’s on the National Historic Register, its future is uncertain.

Well, here’s an idea: Turn it into a scuba-diving park! That’s what was done at a former gasometer in Germany, as I learned from this video sent to me by my brother.

Remember, you read it here first.

The iconic gasholder building on South Main Street in Concord, Jan. 2018
The iconic gasholder building on South Main Street in Concord, Jan. 2018.

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