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Gas, Department of

[Record group 75]
Alternative/Former Names
Lighting, Bureau of;
Lighting and Gas, Bureau of

Agency Function
This department has ceased to function. Its responsibilities have been largely assumed by the Street Lighting Division of the Department of Streets.

The Bureau of Lighting and Gas had charge of the gas and naphtha, and later the electric, street lights within the City of Philadelphia, purchased gas for the city's use, made tests of gas furnished to consumers by the City's gas works, and tested gas meters upon request.

Agency History
Upon the consolidation of the City and County in 1854, the Department of Gas was established to supervise the erection and removal of street lamps. (The Trustees of the Gas Works retained the actual operations of all City Gas Works.) When the Trustees were abolished in 1887 under the terms of the Bullitt Bill, the operation of the Works was transferred to the Bureau of Gas (the successor to the Department of Gas) within the Department of Public Works. An ordinance of 29 June1889 created the Bureau of Lighting within that Department and assumed the Bureau of Gas function of servicing the lamps. In 1897, the City contracted with the United Gas Improvement Company for the administration of the Works, the Bureau of Gas retaining inspectorial duties over UGI's performance. On 1 July 1932, the Bureau of Lighting and Gas was formed by merger from the two individual bureaus and controlled the erection and removal of street lamps, and in the following year received jurisdiction over electric street lamps from the Electrical Bureau of the Department of Public Safety. In 1937, the Gas Works lease was transferred to the Philadelphia Gas Works Company. With the adoption of the City Charter of 1951, the duties of the Bureau of Lighting and Gas were assumed by the Street Lighting Section of the Department of Streets.

Archival Records
75.1 Correspondence (1885-1886)

75.2 Bureau of Gas. Annual Reports (1889, 1890, 1901, 1902, 1904-1908, 1910-1923)

75.3 Bureau of Gas. Gas Works Inventory (1887)

75.4 Bureau of Gas. Papers, Re Construction of the Gas Works, 25th Ward (1888-1889)

75.5 Bureau of Gas. "Title Papers" (1894)

75.6 Bureau of Gas. Papers Re Lease of Gas Works to United Gas Improvement Company (1897)

75.7 Bureau of Lighting and Gas. Annual Reports (1948)

75.8 Bureau of Lighting, Street Light Route Maps (ca. 1928)

75.9 Bureau of Lighting. Annual Reports (1889, 1911-1913, 1915-1923)

75.10 Bureau of Lighting. Report: Street Lighting by Gas and Gasoline (1914)

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Last updated on November 8, 2000