historic map of state salt lands in syracuse

Salt Production in Syracuse

For over a century, Central New York was the hub for the production of salt in the United States.
Salt Production in Syracuse
SHARE
State Salt Lands
Salt Production

For over a century, Central New York was the hub for the production of salt in the United States. The rapid rise of the salt industry in Syracuse led to the nickname “The Salt City.” By 1900, salt production had declined due to competition and the exhaustion of concentrated salt brine in and around Onondaga Lake.

 

historic map of state salt lands
State Salt Lands, 1838.
Solar Evaporation

 

Solar evaporation became the most cost-effective way to harvest salt from brine water. The brine was pumped into chambers where impurities settled out and then pumped into 3-inch deep wooden trays referred to as salt vats or salt covers. The entire process took about seven days.

 

image of salt production solar evaporation vats in syracuse
Solar salt evaporation vats.
The Salt City
Syracuse, NY

 

Salt lots were managed by New York State and were sold or leased to individual salt producers for the purpose of digging or drilling wells to harvest salt brine. Saltwater obtained from deep salt wells and stored in the salt reservoir was pumped along a raceway through Syracuse’s Third Ward to the Erie Canal where it was processed into bushels of salt for transportation and sale across the country.

 

map of state salt lands in syracuse

 

map of state salt lands showing locations of deep water salt wells and canal raceways for salt water transport