“It was sort of an early lesson in conservation,” Glass said. “As early as 1893 or 1894, the state Legislature became so alarmed about the situation, they actually passed a law banning the flambeaux. But none of the sheriffs wanted to risk local ire, so they wouldn’t enforce it.”
When the gas was gone, many communities lost workers and jobs, Glass said. Kokomo was luckier than most places, however.
The rapid rise of Kokomo’s urban infrastructure, driven by the needs of Gas Boom-related industry, created a framework which drew the next generation of companies to Kokomo.
Apart from Kokomo Opalescent Glass and Haynes International, almost all the companies formed during that era are gone. But without those forerunners, Crosley Radio might not have come, and Kokomo’s automotive industry might have languished.
As part of the ongoing Trail effort, community foundations and visitor bureaus are being asked to provide some financial support toward exhibit purchase and installation, to be matched by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Community Foundation of Howard County and the Greater Kokomo Visitors Bureau have stepped up to that task, Broman said.
“To me, it’s a huge story,” Broman said. “It really is about what we are in this part of the state.”