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                   Sunday, January 10, 2010 - 11:43PM CST

St. Louis gasometers

By DAN ROBINSON
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One of the interesting landmarks along my route westward to the Plains for the past 10 years were the strange, towering cylindrical steel structures along I-44 at the southwestern edge of the St. Louis city limits. These structures, built in the 1920-1940s era, were the frames for massive expandable natural gas tanks called 'gasometers'. As the tanks filled, a moveable cap rose, guided along vertical rails. The moving sidewalls of the tank rested in water at the base of the structure, which kept the tank sealed as it raised and lowered. When the tank was full, the weight of the cap and sidewalls helped maintain pressure in the lines served by the tank.

There were originally four gasometers in St. Louis - the two along I-44 near Shrewsbury, one a few miles to the east near Forest Park, and another on the north side of town near I-70 at Hillsdale. They were all retired from service in recent years - and subsequently, the Shrewsbury and Forest Park structures have been torn down (the Shrewsbury gasometers came down just last September). The Hillsdale gasometer is the last remaining example in St. Louis.

Last week, I headed over to get a few shots of the Hillsdale gasometer. If the others' fate are an indication, its days also may be numbered.


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The following comments were posted before this site switched to a new comment system on August 27, 2016:

hows STL been treating you Dan?
- Posted by kurt
So far so good! Been unpacking the past few days and am almost settled in.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL
DAn I cant believe you moved! Oh my goodness! I know you had considered it but I didnt realize it was so fast approaching! Well good luck and best wishes in IL! Keep in touch! God bless.
- Posted by Jacqueline Giles from WV
Thanks Jacqueline! I had planned to do it around February, but an opportunity came up to do it sooner. I started the process over the holidays so I'd be finished soon after the new year.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

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