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Salt sheds, Syracuse, New York; from a c. 1908 postcard.
Salt sheds, Syracuse, New York; from a c. 1908 postcard.
Home » The Human Element » Maritime Image of the Day: Salt Sheds in Syracuse (1908)

Maritime Image of the Day: Salt Sheds in Syracuse (1908)

PortandTerminal.com, February 9, 2021

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Today’s Maritime Image of the Day features a postcard showing salt being produced in Syracuse, New York in 1908.

In the mid-1800s, Syracuse was America’s salt production capital. In fact, at one time, most of the salt used in the United States came from Syracuse. So important was the industry that it gave the city its nickname, Salt City.

The land in and around the southern end of Onondaga Lake was once known as the Onondaga Salt Reservation. It contained an estimated 50,000 solar sheds and 300 boiling blocks, where water was evaporated or boiled out of brine pumped from wells around the lake.

Few signs of the salt industry exist today, however. By the dawn of the 20th century, competition from salt mines in the west and a decline in the salinity of the brine from around Onondaga Lake caused a rapid decline in the Syracuse salt industry.

Salt sheds. Pump house
The Syracuse brine pump house is the stone building on far the right corner. The long salt sheds would be covered with retractable roofs when it rained. The photo was taken around 1892 (Salt Museum Collection – Onondaga County Parks – Courtesy of the Liverpool Library)

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