Since 1914, the Morton Salt Umbrella Girl has been saying, “When it rains, it pours.” That’s certainly true in a small town in East Texas named Grand Saline, home to one of Morton Salt‘s three rock salt mines in the U.S. Salt has been pouring out of that mine ever since the mid-1800s.
Grand Saline sits on top of a massive deposit of natural salt, which is estimated to run more than 15,000 feet deep. Geologists theorize that this area was once part of the Gulf of Mexico. At some point, the ocean water dried up, leaving layers of salt that were then covered as the earth’s layers shifted and changed. Volcanic activity later likely melted the salt, burning up any other minerals or fossils. Pressure then caused the molten salt to push near the surface.
The area was originally used as a source of salt by the Caddo Indians as early as 800 AD and then by the Cherokee Indians until about 1840. Commercial mining of the salt began in 1845. Today, the mine operates more than 50 stories below the surface. At this depth, the temperature is near 80 degrees all the time. Most of the equipment used in the mine is brought down in pieces in an elevator and then reassembled, including massive front-end loaders and trucks. The network into which it descends is a labyrinth of breathtaking tunnels and cathedral-like caverns, rarely seen by the public. In some places, the ceilings are up to 85 feet high, with walls of white salt rising in silent grandeur.
About 10% of the plant’s 200 employees toil underground. Their days are spent drilling, harvesting, and transporting the rock salt that will later become table salt and salt substitutes or be used to make items like animal feed, cowlicks, laundry care products, or pharmaceutical supplements.
Morton Salt once offered public tours of the mine, but those were discontinued in the 1960s as stricter OSHA regulations evolved. So the town of Grand Saline built the Salt Palace, a small, one-story building in downtown Grand Saline that is the only building in the world made of pure rock salt. In 1995, a small museum was created inside the Salt Palace, exhibiting salt mining artifacts and memorabilia. Every Salt Palace visitor takes home a souvenir salt crystal, perhaps to discourage them from licking the building walls (which is reported to be not all that uncommon)!
Please feel free to e-mail us or call us at 903-530-2488 if you have any questions or need more information about Roadrunner Acres RV Ranch. We look forward to hopefully welcoming you as one of our new residents soon!