C.A. Seward

1884 - 1939

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Salt was discovered in Reno County in 1888 and quickly became an important part of the local economy.  A number of salt companies sprang up quickly, and all of them used evaporation or solution mining techniques in order to create table salt.  In 1922 the Carey Salt Company, which already had an evaporation plant, added a rock salt mine in the Hutchinson area.

Divers dug the original shaft for the Carey Salt Mine, and the mine began operations in 1923.  The rock salt they produced was used in livestock feed, and later to de-ice roads.  The mine ran on electricity from the very beginning and used a rail bed system underground to move people, materials, and salt.

There are four basic steps to salt mining, which are very similar to coal mining.  These steps include undercutting, drilling, blasting, and transportation from the mine face (where the mining is happening) back to the shaft in order to go topside.  Undercutting creates a thin gash in the bottom of the salt wall, giving the salt a place to fall when it is blasted.  Holes are then drilled into the salt wall in order to place explosive powder into the wall.  The explosives are blasted at night after everyone except the powderman and one other miner have left the mine, and the next day the blasted salt is transported topside.  While these steps have been modified due to technology over the past few decades, their essence has remained the same.  For example, the Carey Salt Mine originally used dynamite to blast the salt wall; now the Hutchinson Salt Company (who purchased the original Carey mine) uses ammonium nitrate.

The mine was certainly a family affair.  Started by Emerson Carey, it passed to his son Howard upon his death in 1933.  Howard later gave the torch to his son, Howard J. “Jake” Carey.  In 1969, the Carey family sold the mine to the Interpace Corporation, and they in turn sold to Process Minerals, who sold to the North American Company.  Finally, in 1991, the Hutchinson Salt Company purchased the mine, and it continues to operate today.


Seward - Carey Salt

Images on this page were all provided by the Reno County Museum.  Jamin Ladavazo, Chief Curator at the museum provided the history of the Carey Salt Mine.  It is documented that Seward designed the Salt & Pep magazine as well as the images for Buffalo Salt.  It is assumed that some of the other advertisements and product packaging was also Seward’s design.