Gas City, formerly known as Harrisburg, began as a "boom
town" when an abundance of natural gas was found in this
vicinity in 1887. The original settlement of Harrisburg was
platted May 25, 1867. Noah Harris, the founder, was born
June 22, 1823 and died in August 1913. Mr. Harris was a fur
trader in his early years, later becoming interested in real
estate and the nursery business.
the discovery of natural gas several officials got
together and the Gas City Land Company was formed March
21, 1892, and a few days later Harrisburg changed its
name to Gas City. On April 4, 1892, a Gas City post
office was established. the census at that time showed
the population to be 150 people.
Gas City, as the name would imply, owed its start
and existence to the seemingly inexhaustible supply
of natural gas. Gas City was in the center of the
gas fields. The pressure was from 300 to 350 pounds
to the square inch, and there seemed to be an
unlimited supply, so it was used lavishly.
The founders of Gas City saw possibilities in this
location of a town of 25,000 people. They leased all
the gas under thousands of acres of land and bought
about 1,200 acres of land and laid out the central
portion of it as Gas City.
Gas City Land Company pledged to use the proceeds
from the first sale of lots to provide free sites,
gas, and water for factories, also for putting in a
sewer system and laying out streets. Lots sold from
$200 to well over $1,000 each and there was a wild
scramble to buy them. The town seemed destined to
become a metropolis.
Within in three months eight factories had moved in.
Thousands of people came to work in the factories
and start up businesses. A bank, opera house,
hotels, rows of business offices and numerous homes
were quickly built. The demand was so great that
many people lived in tents and shanties until their
homes were built.
With this boom came many attractions especially near
the Mississinewa river. There was a race track near
the river that attracted large crowds; a steam
launch, "The Helen Boyd", gave rides on the river;
and a buggy trail meandered along its banks.
By 1900 Gas City had a Population of 3,622; almost
25 times larger than in 1890. Trains from the east
arrived daily and the orphan trains also ran through
Those were great days, and had the gas continued Gas
City would no doubt have become a large city. But
the apparently inexhaustible supply of natural gas
One by one the factories disappeared. Some quit
business and others relocated. The town was built on
gas and when that disappeared the fields had to
return to crops. The Gas City Land Co. was formally
dissolved in 1904. Only two factories remained until
Gas City has survived. Though the name, Gas City,
may provoke odd expressions from outsiders who know
nothing about the gas boom, this is a wonderful
place to live. The city has become the fastest
growing city in Grant County. A new industrial park
has moved in and housing additions have been built.
Recent improvements have continued to make Gas City
a good place to live. We invite you to visit
the Gas City Museum
learn more about the town's history