Underground Salt Museum – Hutchinson, Kansas

Apr 29, 2013 by

Kansas City Salt Museum (2)

3504 E. Ave G.
Hutchinson, Kansas 67501
(620) 662-1425

Kansas City Salt Museum (3)

Salt was discovered in Reno County September 27, 1887, approximately 90 rods to the west.

Erected by Uvedale Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

The Barton Salt Co.
The Carey Salt Co.
The Morton Salt Co.
May 6, 1939.

In 1939, the Uvedale Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) along with the Barton, Carey, and Morton salt companies erected this marker to honor the discovery of salt in Reno County. It was originally located in South Hutchinson, south of Highway 50 right along Main Street. A road widening project later sent the marker into storage, and then it was displayed intermittently until excavation in a field north of Highway 50 revealed the actual location of the salt discovery well in 1999.

At that time, plans were made for a permanent historical marker that showcased the well and a new plaque similar to this one was erected at the site when it opened in 2009.

The Uvedale DAR entrusted this original plaque with the Reno County Historical Society, where it was placed near the entrance of the Kansas Underground Salt Museum to honor the area’s salt history in 2011.

Kansas City Salt Museum (4)

Old Number 2
Switch engine number 2 was built by General Electric in 1919. Only three like it were ever built. Originally purchased from the Illinois Electric Railway in 1928 by the Carey Salt Co. It was placed in service by the H & N Railway. “Old Number 2” was taken out of service in 1963 and sold for scrap to the Midwest Iron and Metal Co. here in Hutchinson. In 1989, the metal company donated the locomotive to the city of Hutchinson for renovation and display. Out of the original three engines built, the whereabouts of only Number 2 and Number 1 are known. The restored Number 1 is currently on display in Perris, California. To complete this display, the caboose vintage 1954, was donated by the Union Pacific Railroad to the city of Hutchinson in 1989. It was set in place by the Scott Construction Co. of S. Hutchinson.

In 2000 the Reno County Historical Society reached an agreement with the city of Hutchinson to take over the care of the engine and it was moved to the Reno County Museum. H & N No. 2 found its way home to this location in July 2008. This final resting place is located 650 feet above the same mine which was originally owned by the Carey Salt Company and the creator of the Hutchinson & Northern Railway. The granite marker entitled “Old Number 2” accompanied the engine while it was located in Carey Park. The Union Pacific Caboose was donated by the Historical Society to the Inman Museum in 2008.

Kansas City Salt Museum (5) Kansas City Salt Museum (6)

The Hutchinson & Northern Railroad

After achieving successs as a brining operation, the Carey Salt Company began to mine salt from this location in 1922. Not long afterward the company’s proprietor, Emerson Carey, decided that a railway should be built to connect the salt plant to the three railroads that were already in operation a short distance from the plant. Built in 1922 and only three miles long, the Hutchinson & Northern Railroad (H & N) was the shortest railroad in the United States. In 1942, the H & N acquired a mile of track from the Arkansas Valley Interurban and was eventually made to be six miles long. Not only was this railroad one of the shortest in the world, it was also one of the last electric lines when it was finally converted to diesel in the 1970s.

Kansas City Salt Museum (7) Kansas City Salt Museum (8)

6000 lb block of salt.Kansas City Salt Museum (9)

Vernon Horton, Willie Thrift, William Gillock, John Thiessen, Bob Rodrquez, and Rudy Philbrick. Rudy Philbrick drove the locomotives for many years.

Kansas City Salt Museum (10) Kansas City Salt Museum (11)

What goes down in the mine, stays in the mine.Kansas City Salt Museum (12)

Everything that goes down in the mind has to be carried in an elevator that is about 6 feet by 5 feet so everything has to be broken into pieces to fit in the elevator and reassembled at the bottom.Kansas City Salt Museum (13) Kansas City Salt Museum (14)

It is kind of scary knowing that you are 650 feet underground with millions of pounds on top of you that could give away at any moment.Kansas City Salt Museum (15) Kansas City Salt Museum (16)

The museum stores many of Hollywoods movie costumes.Kansas City Salt Museum (17)

Kansas City Salt Museum (1)


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