Troy Gasholder Building – Troy, New York - Atlas Obscura

Troy Gasholder Building

This relic of 19th-century infrastructure is one of the few remaining coal gas storage tanks in the U.S. 


Before natural gas and electricity were used as energy source, coal gas provided illumination in cities. But since coal gas must be manufactured in advance, storage facilities were required to ensure that gas was available when needed to light the streets.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, gasholder houses were a common sight in urban areas in the United States, though only a handful remain, including this one in Troy, New York.

The Troy gasholder building consists of a brick exterior surrounding a telescoping iron storage tank that held the gas itself. The tank was 100 feet in diameter and 22 feet in height, allowing for the storage of 330,000 cubic feet of gas. Even 170 years after its construction, the gasholder’s roof towers over nearby buildings.

Yet, progress affects everything, and the Troy gasholder was not immune. In the 1920s, it was taken out of service and replaced by a new central plant in nearby Menands. The gas tank was removed in the 1930s and sold for scrap. Since then, the building has been used mainly as a storage facility, with occasional use as a performing arts space. In 1971, the gasholder building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Know Before You Go

The building is closed to the public and is currently on private property, so please stick to observing it from the sidewalk.

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March 26, 2019

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