Date Issued March 1, 1962 (brown) September 16, 1974 (green) November 20, 1961 (olive)
Printer American Bank Note Company
Signatures Machine printed
Approximate Size 12" (w) by 8" (h)
Images Show the exact certificate you will receive
Guaranteed Authentic Yes
Additional Details NA
On July 8, 1848, four days after the cornerstone was laid for the Washington Monument, Washington Gas Light Company received its charter from Congress. About 45,000 people lived in the rough hewn capital city with its chronically muddy streets and lackluster infrastructure. A few buildings were lit by gas produced by an apparatus fired by wood or coal that created water carbureted hydrogen gas. But this gas lighting was confined to large institutions such as Georgetown College, theaters, and a few hotels.
Washington's citizens were jealous of their counterparts in Baltimore and Philadelphia where gas lighting was available in many neighborhoods. To some extent, throughout its history, the administration of Washington, D.C., has been under the aegis of Congress. In order to effect change, Washington's citizens had to petition Congress to bring gas light to the city's streets. Though groups appealed to Congress several times during the 1840s, they did not meet with success.
Then in 1847, James Crutchett, an entrepreneur who had demonstrated gas lighting in Cincinnati, Wheeling, West Virginia, and other cities, proposed that Congress pay him to light up the Capitol and its grounds with gas. Crutchett's Capitol Hill gas lighting project was a success, but it was Benjamin B. French, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives and friend to at least two Presidents, who had the connections to organize a gas company for Washington. French and a group of prominent local businessmen bought Crutchett's patent rights to produce gas and took over the business of supplying gas light to the Capitol. From there it was a short step to achieving incorporation and the Congressional charter. The Washington Gas Light Company was thus the first Congressionally chartered gas company and is the first public utility so chartered that is still in operation.
George W. Riggs, who had founded the Corcoran and Riggs bank with William W. Corcoran, become president of the WGL company in 1856. Riggs was a powerful, well-connected Washingtonian with the resources and allies to expand the fledgling gas company. In 1858 the West Station Gas Works were constructed at 26th Street and G Street N.W., while the company headquarters were at 514 Eleventh Street N.W. just above Pennsylvania Avenue. In 1860, the city corporation established the office of gas meter inspector and sealer, bringing public utility regulation under local authority.
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We guarantee all of our pieces to be authentic. If you ever determine that a piece is not authentic, it may be returned for a full refund of the purchase price as well as any associated shipping charges.