Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Detroit Salt Mines


I love this post from io9 about the Detroit Salt Mines and I had to look around for other articles about them as well. Either 50 miles or 100 miles of roadway (depending which of those articles is accurate) through some 1,500 acres of solid salt deposits, nearly 1,200 feet underground, beneath even the rock that forms the bed for the Great Lakes. Now I love lost/abandoned type places in general--like Seattle's underground ghost town that Lauren told me about a year or two ago--but I practically lived right above these. The northwest edge of the mines came within about a mile of where I lived for four years, within a few blocks of the hospital where my son was born. And I never knew. Granted, it's far below ground, so why should I know? And they'd stopped doing tours two decades prior to that, but still...

I love the fact that the huge tractors and other equipment are all still down there, since it isn't worth taking them apart to bring them up. And that there was a machine shop down there for putting the equipment together in the first place. The fact of the mules living their entire lives down there is a sadder one (is there a mule cemetery down there in the salt?), but fascinating as well. It makes me wonder about the logistics of that. How many mules did they have at any given time? What kind of paddock did they have for them, and who was in charge of their care? Makes me want to write a story about the salt mine's mule tender...

2 comments:

Erica said...

I believe old fashioned coal mines had pit ponies and burros who also never saw the light of day. It must have been a rough life for animals that are adapted to life in the open :(

I'm with you on your love of abandoned, underground places. They have some places like that in Old Sacramento, and I went on a tour of an underground street called Mary King Close in Edinburgh once. It was fascinating.

Daniel Ausema said...

Yeah, I had no idea about the life sentence given to animals.

I just googled Mary King Close--very cool images. The Sacremento one reminds me of the Seattle one I mentioned. Also fascinating.