The city of Detroit in Michigan has been through many changes over its long history. From being the centre of the US automobile industry and the birthplace of Motown, it is now a troubled place associated mostly with urban decline, poverty and high crime rates. However, there is another side to Detroit that not many people know about, and it lies 1,200 feet under the ground. This is the incredible story of a vast, 1,500 acre salt mine that lies right beneath the feet of the citizens of the Motor City.

Detroit Was Once A Lake

Millions of years before the city of Detroit existed, the area was a huge saltwater lake. Over the centuries, millions of tonnes of salt were deposited in layers in the lake’s bed. This formed the basis of a rich seam of salt that would eventually be discovered and mined by natives of the city many, many years later.

The First Salt Company

For thousands of years, the Native American tribes who lived in the area gathered water from the area and filtered it for the valuable salt it contained. Salt was always known to be somewhere under the surface, but it wasn’t until 1895 that it was discovered just how much salt lay underground. The Detroit Salt and Manufacturing Company was formed to exploit this valuable resource.