Origins of Salt Industry
Michigan's early white settlers used salt for preserving fish and other foods, curing meats, and tanning hides as well as for cooking. Prior to statehood, salt was shipped form New York. Recognizing the importance of salt resources, delegates to the May 11, 1835, state constitutional convention provided for state control of salt springs and salt lands in an article submitted to Congress with the constitution. In 1837 when the Michigan Legislature met for the first time, it established the state Geological Survey and appointed Douglass Houghton state geologist, a post he held until his death in 1845. Houghton was the first to record many of the state's geological resources, including salt, copper, iron, coal and gypsum.