Salt Bed, Grand Saline, Texas
Salt Bed, Grand Saline, Texas | Photo Credit: Violet Sky Adventures
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Just a short drive south of Grand Saline, Texas lies the largest salt dome in the United States. The salt in this prairie has been harvested for hundreds of years and is home to Morton Salt Company. Visitors today can still view the old salt bed and the famous salt mine in the distance.

About

The Great Salt Bed was created millions of years ago when the Gulf of Mexico once reached the area leaving behind plenty of salt deposits. Over the years as soil levels raised due to volcanic eruptions and other events the salt bed was buried. Evaporated salt made this visible salt bed. It was in this area that tribes of the Cherokee and Caddo Indians had settlements. They found the salt beds useful for various purposes in their communities. Sometimes the salt would even be gathered and traded with other neighboring tribes in exchange for their goods.

As settlers began pushing into the area, they also found uses for the salt bed. Aside from cooking, the salt was seen as a potential business venture. A man by the name of John Jordan established a small salt works operation and recruited employees to help with the harvesting near the salt bed. This area grew to be known as Jordan’s Saline. It’s salt bed had grown to produce so much product and interest that a stop along the Texas and Pacific Railroad was made with a small depot. By the 1890s, the area was producing 17,000 pounds of salt a day.

As many people began moving into the region near the salt bed, there came a need for a city to be founded in 1895. About a mile north of the salt bed a city called Grand Saline was founded. The name Grand Saline actually means “Large Salt”.

Grand Saline soon grew to become home to several “firsts” in the salt mining industry. It was home to the first salt well and the first steam powered salt plant. The Grand Saline Salt Company quickly grew to be the largest producer. Over time it purchased many other small companies in the area. The Grand Saline Salt Company renamed itself to Morton Salt, which is still in business today.

Morton Salt began mining salt underground to increase production. In 1931, at about 700 feet below the surface salt mining commenced. It was estimated that at least 20,000 feet below surface the salt reserves extend.

Today, the Morton Salt Mine is the cities largest employer. The mine is currently operating at 57 stories underground and is the largest salt dome in the United States. The current dome is about a mile in diameter. In fact, there is still enough salt underground to supply the United States for centuries.

How to Visit

The Great Salt Bed of Grand Saline is available for viewing from the road. It is located south of the city on Farm to Market 857. The bed lies near the first bridge past the railroad tracks. Heading south, look to your left about 3/4 of a mile from the baseball diamonds. You will notice a giant white field of salt. There is also some deposits on the right side of the road. Be sure to pull off the road and watch for traffic as you view the Great Salt Bed.

The actual salt bed is located on private property and is not open to visitors. Across the salt bed you will see the Morton Salt Mine and facility. Although tours used to be available of the Morton Salt Mine, this is no longer an option.

If you enjoyed reading this post or have visited Grand Saline or the salt bed before, leave a comment below or share this post on your favorite social media!

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