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The Secret City 1200 Feet Under Detroit

Ian Harvey

In 1895, Detroit’s salt deposits were discovered, and the Detroit Salt and Manufacturing Company came about to start digging down into the earth in order to begin mining. They were bought out by Watkins Salt Company. 1914 saw about 8,000 tons produced monthly.

Most of the Americans would unconsciously synonymize Detroit with the progress in automotive industry, however very few are aware of the other industry of the City, which effectively gave Detroit a significant place on modern map. There is practically a whole city of Salt mines some 200 feet under the hustle and bustle of modern Detroit.

Economics of the antiquity was less complex a matter for the people who lived then, unlike today when most of the humanity is insanely unaware of the mechanics of World’s economy. Everyone is aware of the Barter system used in the ancient times and that how effective it was for people from different parts of the world. Before the advent of money (talking about coins at this stage) exchanging goods with goods was the economy of the civilization; by civilization here I mean mankind. Countries and kingdoms traded with whatever they had in abundance, Salt (white and black) was one of the most traded goods in the antiquity.

In the late n19th century when United States was practically going through a very visible transformation in terms of industries and progress, Salt was discovered under Detroit that changed the dynamics of the city forever. Experts suggest that Michigan, Detroit was literally underwater a long time ago, and when water receded it left behind an almost never-ending supply of sea salt. Over the years following the recession of water from today’s Michigan area, trillions of tons of salt deposits were preserved over a thousand mile under Detroit.

The year was 1895, a discovery by experts brought the emergence of Detroit Salt and Manufacturing Company. Immediately the digging commenced and tons of salt started pouring out of the mines and with it Detroit came to the spot light. In 1914, Watkins Salt Company solely bought out Detroit Salt and Manufacturing Company. Shortly after taking over, Watkins was producing about 8,000 tons of salt every month. The salt mining was not an easy job for the laborers, as many lost their lives during the digging and other mining related tasks. Things could have been worse for the workers, but other than the odd mining incidents there were no other issues such as rodents or diseased creatures that could harm the worker’s health. (The Viral Era)

Watkins was bought out by the International Salt Company, which increased production further. Better technology further increased production.
Watkins was bought out by the International Salt Company, which increased production further. Better technology further increased production.

With the establishment of better technology the production of salt from Detroit’s salt mines boomed in leaps and bounds. Watkins Salt Company was later taken over by even bigger organization named International Salt Company, which further enhanced the production bringing more prosperity for Detroit. With the price of salt dramatically touching the lowest of the bars, the production from the salt mines significantly decreased and in 1983 a major chunk of the salt production operations was simply closed down.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News