Sep 30

Fulton Gas Works

UPDATE!

Fulton Gas Works Is An Irreplaceable Part of Richmond’s Historic Built Environment

Fulton Gas Works operated for nearly 120 years, providing gas to illuminate and heat Richmond from a site near Rocketts Landing. Neglected for decades, many of its structures have been demolished. The city plans to demolish the few that remain, including an extremely rare late 19th-century gasometer and a 1937 art deco boiler house emblazoned with the Fulton Gas Works name.

The steel skeleton of the gasometer and the decorative brickwork of the boiler house represent important elements of Richmond’s industrial and manufacturing heritage. These structures facilitated the expansion and development of Richmond by providing critical jobs and infrastructure. They serve as prominent visual landmarks and create a unique and authentic sense of place for the neighborhood and the city.

A public meeting will be held with City officials to discuss the Fulton Gas Works on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 6:00pm via ZOOM. The public meeting will be part of Councilwoman Newbille’s District Meeting. You should register for this meeting here. After registering you will receive the electronic link to the meeting.

Preservation of the gasometer and adaptive reuse of the buildings is called for in the Richmond Riverfront Plan. These structures are essential elements of our community’s historic built environment that should be saved. If the structures must be dismantled for site remediation, then the structures — particularly the gasometer — should be rebuilt in the same place.

Richmond’s connection to its industrial past is fading. As Richmond’s riverfront has transitioned away from industry, our community has enjoyed a more beautiful James River, but we should not lose touch with the history of the riverfront and our industrial past. We hope citizens will attend the public meeting and also reach out to Mayor Levar Stoney to save these irreplaceable structures by emailing him at [email protected]. PLEASE SPEAK UP TO SAVE THE GASOMETER!

What is a Gasometer anyway?

A gasometer is a device used to hold gas before it is dispersed to local customers. As gas would accumulate the bladder inside the structure would fill rising to the top of the structure and then deflate as gas was delivered throughout the city. Some gasometers are open metal frame structures, while others are enclosed masonry structures.

 

Top left: Gasometer at Fulton Gas Works in Richmond; Top right: Gasholder Park in King’s Cross, London; Bottom right: Aerial view of Gasholder Park in King’s Cross, London; Bottom left: Gasometers in Vienna

How can Gasometers be adaptively reused?

While the pollution associated with gas works and gasometers can make the land difficult to reclaim for other purposes, there are many options for the reuse of gasometer structures.

In London, a ca. 1850s gasometer was converted into a park as a part of a larger redevelopment effort in the King’s Cross neighborhood. The gasometer was disassembled and restored before being reconstructed at its new location. A mirrored steel pavilion was installed inside the steel structure, forming a continuous colonnade around a wide grassy lawn. Next to the park, cylindrical apartment buildings are framed by three additional restored and reconstructed gasometers.

In Vienna, four gasometers were built in 1899 as part of the Vienna municipal gas works. While the gasometers were used until 1984, the structures were designated as protected historic landmark in 1978. Due to this designation, the historic brick exterior walls were preserved but sat empty for about a decade. In a revitalization effort in 1995, the gasometers were converted into a mixed-use development with apartments at the top floors, office space in the middle floors, and retail/entertainment in the bottom floors.

August 12th Post Below:

Fulton Gas Works operated for nearly 120 years, providing gas to illuminate and heat Richmond from a site near Rocketts Landing. Neglected for decades, many of its structures have been demolished. The city plans to demolish the few that remain, including an extremely rare late 19th-century gasometer and a 1937 art deco boiler house emblazoned with the Fulton Gas Works name.

The steel skeleton of the gasometer and the decorative brickwork of the boiler house represent important elements of Richmond’s industrial and manufacturing heritage. These structures facilitated the expansion and development of Richmond by providing critical jobs and infrastructure. They serve as prominent visual landmarks and create a unique and authentic sense of place for the neighborhood and the city.

Richmond officials did not solicit public comment about their plans, and now demolition permits are in process. Preservation of the gasometer and adaptive reuse of the buildings is called for in the Richmond Riverfront Plan. These structures are essential elements of our community’s historic built environment that should be saved. If the structures must be dismantled for site remediation, then the structures — particularly the gasometer — should be rebuilt in the same place. We hope citizens will reach out to Mayor Levar Stoney to save these irreplaceable structures by emailing him at [email protected]

The proposed demolition highlights the fact that the city does not have a preservation plan identifying its important historic, architectural and cultural resources. It is time for Richmond to prepare a preservation plan. We at Historic Richmond stand ready to work with the city and our neighbors throughout the community to develop a plan that can help identify, preserve, protect and promote sites throughout the city — from African American cemeteries to infrastructure like the gasometer, the Pump House and the canals, and to historic neighborhoods. We ask the community to reach out to Richmond 300 to call for a preservation plan by emailing [email protected]

 

What is a gasometer anyway?

A gasometer is a device used to hold gas before it is dispersed to local customers. As gas would accumulate the bladder inside the structure would fill rising to the top of the metal frame and then deflate as gas was delivered throughout the city.