Jefferson County
Illinois


Citizens Gas, Electric, and Heating Company
By Neesa Wilson

Mt. Vernon Township High School


The Citizens Gas, Electric, and Heating Company in Mt. Vernon was
owned by the Henry L. Doter Company of New York. The Dotor Company was
an early utility group that owned and operated several public utilities
in many different states. The firm it owned in Mt. Vernon supplied heat
and power to more than 125 customers. 

In 1912 the Citizens Gas, Electric, and Heating Company began construction
on gas mains to supply downtown Mt. Vernon. The streets of mud, dust, cobblestones,
brick, and macadam (small stones that fit closely together when pressed
with a heavy roller) had to be dug up for the ditches to lay the lines.
Citizens Gas utilized a central-heating system. Tunnels were dug for two
pipes encircled by four-and-a-half-inch tiles. These tunnels and tile lines
are still underground in Mt. Vernon.

The gas, power, and heating plants were all located on 11th Street
and Case Avenue. The gas plant burned coal to make gas. In 1902 this was
a type of coal gasification. The plant had the capacity of producing 120,000
cubic feet of gas per day. The plant that produced electric light had an
output of 750 kilowatts with three generating units. The generators supplied
power to the streetcars. In the city and surrounding area, the company
owned twenty-five miles of electrical wires.

Although the company's name suggested they dealt in gas, electric,
and heat, they also controlled the water works. The system included a filtering
plant, pumping station, and two reservoirs. One of the reservoirs has a
capacity of 350 million gallons and the other had a capacity of 60 million.

Citizens Gas, Electric, and Heating Company served the growing town
of Mt. Vernon in the early 1900s by supplying the downtown businesses and
residents with central heat, hot water, and electricity. Necessities of
life today were not often available at the time. The company continued
to serve until its services became outdated.—[From Thomas A. Puckett, Mt.
Vernon Illinois: A Pictorial History; student historian's interview with
Thomas A. Puckett, Sept. 1996.]

ILLINOIS HISTORY/DECEMBER 1996
Illinois History A Magazine for Young People 1996

 
 

 

One of the utility company's towers uses the holding tank to urge customers to 
"cook with gas."

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