Natural Gas History


Native American




Natural gas street light


Natural Gas Use in America (1626)

Natural gas usage was identified in America as early as 1626, when French explorers found Native Americans igniting gases that were seeping into and around Lake Erie.

First Natural Gas Well in U.S. (1821)

In 1821, a gunsmith named William Hart drilled the first natural gas well outside Fredonia, New York, near Lake Erie. He dug down 27 feet. (Today's wells go down more than 30,000 feet!) Hart is considered by many to be the "father of natural gas" in the United States. In 1858, he formed the Fredonia Gas Light Company, the nation's first natural gas company.

Natural Gas Street Lights (1800s)

For most of the 1800s, natural gas was used as a fuel for lamps. There were no pipelines to bring gas into individual buildings, so most of the gas went to light city streets. After the 1890s, cities began using electricity for their streetlights so gas producers began searching for new uses for their product.