The City of Gas got its unique name from the natural gas deposits found in what was then known as Elm Township. The cheap fuel boom caused a local farmer, E.K. Taylor, to divide his farm into lots in 1898, leading to the creation of “Gas City.” The plentiful natural gas caused the town to reach a population of over 1,200 residents at its peak in 1910, however, by 1920, 70 percent of the population had left.
Gas remains on the map, with a current population of 475 residents, as measured by the 2020 census. In the 1970s, the local water tower was built, and the city council wanted to celebrate it with something fun and eye-catching. The tower was painted red to resemble a gas can, and the words “GAS KAN” were written across it, creating a play on words, and thus, the World’s Largest Gas Kan was born.
The water tower continues to serve the community, holding 100,000 gallons of water. The tower isn’t immediately visible from Highway 54, so it requires a brief, but intentional drive into town. However, a miniature replica of the Gas Kan is visible in the southwest corner of Fees Park, located at 2000th Street and West 1st Street.