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A Walking Tour of Syracuse, New York

a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from

by Doug Gelbert

published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or

transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including

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without permission in writing from the Publisher.

The salt springs that would come to define Syracuse were first discovered by Jesuit missionaries back in the 1650s. But it was not a pretty sight. For as far as the eye could see was dark, impenetrable swampland. Ephraim Webster was the first settler of European descent to try and make a go of it here, establishing a trading post near the mouth of the Onondaga Creek in 1786. James Geddes dug the first salt well in 1794 and ten years later, as a member of the State legislature, he obtained funds to build a 10-mile corduroy road across the marshy land to get the salt out to market and kick-start development in the region. Gradually the swamp was drained and soon the Erie Canal arrived. The canal not only facilitated the shipment of salt from the Onondaga Valley but caused farmers to shift production from wheat to more profitable pork and curing pork required salt. Until the brine fields and wells shut down in the early 1900s, almost all of the salt used in the United States came from “The Salt City.”

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