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Gas or Fire Protection, Which?
7 Sep 1883

A letter to the Editor of the New Castle Courier

To the Editor of the Courier:

    As a citizen of the place, a taxpayer and property holder, I have watched the proceedings of the town council with the hope of seeing something like a move in the direction of protecting our property from the ravages of fire. Here we are, a town of between four and five thousand people, and nothing in the world to protect our property from fire but two or three ladders and buckets, and at the two or three last meetings of the boards a good portion of the time has been spent making arrangements for the city. I will admit that gas is a nice thing to have, but at the same time it is a very expensive luxury luxury, I would say four or five times more so than the use of coal oil, which is the cheapest light the world ever knew, except sunlight. There is scarcely a family in the city that would use over two gallons of coal oil in a month, at a cost of from thirty to forty cents. The gas bill in the average family would be from $2.75 to $4.00, and the light furnished by gas is but little, if any, better than that furnished by coal oil. And I will say both the town and citizen will return to the use of coal oil after they have tried the luxury of gas a while, at least, that has been the case in many places. But that is enough on this subject. The great end to be sought for now with our people is to provide against fire. One of the first things to be looked after is a supply of water, and the building of a sufficient number of cisterns at the proper places is the thing that should claim the attention of the council. The convenience of filling them with water should be looked to closely. There is a live stream of water passing nearly through the center of the town. A system of cisterns could be made and filled as cheaply as in any town that I know of. If a debt is to be made for either gas or for engines and cisterns to protect or property, I prefer the latter. The people should be very prudent about creating a large debt against the town for any purpose whatever, and should never resort to it except from absolute necessity, as it stands as a mortgage on every home.

Property Holder

2001 UEB

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