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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/846

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

voir of gas was tapped, the like of which had not been dreamed of before. A new era had opened for Findlay. The blaze from the lighted stand-pipe shot up twenty or thirty feet in the air. The light could be seen twenty-five or thirty miles away in all directions. The amount of gas given off daily was estimated at about 250,000 cubic feet. People flocked from far and near to see the wonderful sight. Other wells were, of course, immediately begun, the most of them being successful. In December, 1885, the largest well of the field was drilled in, and from a depth of 1,144 feet came the gas of the great Karg well. The roar of this could be heard two or three miles, while its light was visible thirty-five or forty miles on all sides. Its flow was estimated at over 12,000,000 cubic feet per day. It has proved to be Findlay's standing advertisement, and it has been a sign which says to many, "Natural gas has come to stay."

The town began to grow as soon as the first well had proved a success. From 4,500, in 1884, it had grown to 6,000 in January, 1886. In the spring of 1887 a speculative fever broke out, which affected the whole State. From a town originally four square miles in extent, Findlay has grown to twenty-four square miles area. From a population of 6,000, in 1886, it had grown to 10,000 in the spring of 1887. In September of the same year the population was estimated at from 13,000 to 18,000, and at that time it was calculated its people would number 30,000 in the early part of 1888. The value of real estate rose rapidly; two, three, even five times its previous value was given for land. Farms which had been held at $100 per acre changed hands at $300 per acre and over. These acres were divided into lots, and greedily bought by speculators at so much per foot. Real estate to the value of over $300,000 has changed hands in a single day.

This speculative fever caused a wonderful activity while it lasted. The offer of plots of ground and of free gas brought an influx of manufactories of all kinds. Seven hundred houses were built during the first half of 1887, and as many more were under contract to be finished before the end of the year. Glass-factories, rolling-mills, iron and steel works, furniture-factories, brickyards, lime-kilns, and many other branches of trade, have been successfully established. The gas company, which had previously to the new discovery supplied the town with artificial gas, secured numerous wells of their own, among them the Karg well, and established a new scale of prices. But the citizens complained about the rates, succeeded in inducing the Legislature to allow them to issue bonds for $60,000 to supply their own gas, and soon so reduced the price that the gas company sold out to the city. The rates had then been cut to only fifteen cents a month for either a cooking or a heating stove; it is now stated to be fur-