Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Michigan Consolidated Gas Company - Lehman Brothers Collection

Michigan Consolidated Gas Company

List of Deals

Michigan Consolidated Gas Company, a public utility and a natural gas producer, traces its roots to 1849, when it was known as the City of Detroit Gas Company. Michigan Consolidated Gas produced and sold gas for customers in Michigan.

Rival gas companies were vying for business in Gilded Age Detroit. At that time gas was used in streetlights, lamps, and increasingly as a source of winter heating. The City of Detroit Gas Company, the Michigan Gas Company, and the Mutual Gas Company merged in the 1890s to create the Detroit Gas Company. The Detroit Gas Company both manufactured gas and sought natural deposits. The company built delivery pipelines and manufacturing plants. In 1905 American Light & Traction (later renamed American Natural Gas Company) bought the majority of Detroit Gas. Detroit Gas expanded its sales region to surrounding towns in the early twentieth century. A pipeline from Texas, completed in 1936, allowed greatly expanded gas delivery to Michigan.

Detroit Gas was incorporated as a subsidiary of American Light & Traction in 1938 and renamed Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. Other subsidiaries of American Natural Gas Company included Milwaukee Gas Light Company, Michigan Wisconsin Pipe Line, American Louisiana Pipe Line, and Milwaukee Solvay Coke. American Light & Traction opened for business in 1901. All of Michigan Consolidated Gas’s capital stock was owned by American Natural Gas after 1938.
The company expanded its influence by buying the Taggart Brothers gas fields for $825,000 in 1941 and the Gas Corporation of Michigan in 1942 for $750,000. The company funded its expansion and its gas exploration efforts through the sale of bonds and preferred stock.

Michigan Consolidated Gas greatly expanded its production and profits during the 1960s, when it was the largest natural gas distributor in Michigan. The company produced 194 billion cubic feet of gas in 1959; by 1970 it was producing 410 cubic feet of gas a year. During that period, revenues went from $160 million to $306 million. In 1968 Michigan Consolidated Gas organized a wholly owned subsidiary, Michigan Consolidated Homes Corporation. Michigan Consolidated Homes built and sold low-income housing in Detroit. By 1970 Michigan Consolidated Gas operated in 357 municipalities.

The company is now commonly called MichCon. It has been a subsidiary of DTE Energy (formerly Detroit Edison) since 2001. For an interesting historical timeline on Michigan Consolidated Gas, see the DTE Energy website at http://www.dteenergy.com/ .

Note: Milwaukee Gas Light Company, another subsidiary of American Light & Traction, also has a company history on this site as well as a deal book in the Lehman Collection. In addition, the deal book includes maps of the Michigan Consolidated Gas Company’s pipelines and service areas in 1970.

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