Skip to main content

tv   American History TV  CSPAN  November 21, 2015 9:42pm-10:01pm EST

9:42 pm
saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. classrooms we enter to hear about topics ranging from the civil war to 9/11. visit our website, c-span.org/history/podcasts, or download them from itunes. long, american history tv is joining our time warner cable partners to work -- to showcase the history of syracuse, new york. to hear more about the cities on our tour, visit c-span.org/citiestour. we continue our work now looking at the history of syracuse.
9:43 pm
>> we are standing in a salt boiling brock. -- boiling block. this area was very important ,hroughout the colonial period because it was the center of what we know today as the uruguay confederacy. -- iroquois confederacy. there were various missionaries, explorers, soldiers coming into this area. they were the first to notice the salt brine as far as europeans. the significance of salt brining around the lake was noted very early on during the colonial period. it did not get a chance to be exploited until after the
9:44 pm
american revolution, when a variety of different treaties concentrated local native people to territory south of the lake. the state took ownership of the shore around the lake, so that it could be developed commercially for salt production. the state-controlled the land, they controlled the sources of brine through the drilling of ells and so forth. manufacturing was actually in the hands of private individuals. it started into the early 19th century. the biggest problem they had was transportation, getting this out to market. it would eventually lead to the completion and construction of the canal. the people who were involved in salt manufacturing here in the syracuse area realized that a canal would be a real boon to the salt industry here. in as early as 1807, a man from the syracuse area represented --
9:45 pm
area, who represented the area in the state legislature, called for a survey to see the potential in this canal. to survey attempted it, it was over 360 miles across the state. it eventually -- led to a survey being done. even want to see thomas jefferson and pitched this idea of a canal across the state. he thought he could get the federal government to fund this canal. jefferson of all people said that is a crazy idea, that will never happen, you are way ahead of your time. some of the others in new york state said, well, if the federal government won't do it, we will get the state to do it. eventually that did lead to the pushing through of the construction of the canal. the syracuse area really owes
9:46 pm
its existence to the salt industry. syracuse itself, what is now the city -- the center of the city, was not a particularly attractive place. it was kind of low and swampy. it was not the place you would normally take to create a settlement. but salt was nearby, and it was a valuable chronology -- commodity. that is what drove some of the settlement. -- whathe generation generated the initial wealth of the community. you know how to enough money for people to contribute to building a church. the people working in the salt industry needed storage, so you get other things spinning off of that industry economically. there was something we refer to as the related industry. you are producing at peak years nine bushels of salt, that's all test be packed for shipment. they needed tens of thousands of barrels made.
9:47 pm
there were a lot of barrel making shops that were set up. the salt kettles needed to be manufactured, so there were factories develop. this gave syracuse a unique identity. it is hard to imagine why a whole industry would be centered around manufacturing salt. people today tend to think, well, i have a salt shaker on my kitchen counter. i can take a pound of salt and it will last me for an entire year. why were people buying so much salt back then? the lackry reason is of refrigeration, which did not really exist for much of the 19th century. thene ate a lot of me back -- meet back then. back then. salting it was one of the ways to preserve it. somebodyexample is, if
9:48 pm
said what was the peak year of manufacturing salt, when was the most salt made around here he echoed that year -- were around here? that year is 1862. what was going on in 1862? that was the middle of the civil war. you had this army that needed huge quantities of preserved food for their soldiers, salt pork being one of the basic commodities. the federal government was ordering huge quantities of salt from the salt reservation during the civil war. , if you look closely at the civil war, you will see that salt became a military strategy, because not only did the union needs salt, but so did the confederacy. of course, the confederacy was not going to get salt for many northern manufacturers, they had to try to get it from their own sources. general grant and others knew right off the bat, if we can cut off the supply of salt to the
9:49 pm
southern forces, that is going to be a major detriment to their supplies. few salte manufacturing places that existed in the south were regularly attacked by union forces. operation of a boiling block was very basic. it was a large wooden cistern that held a supply of brine, which was supplied by the state. they would let brine into the kettles through a system of lot pipes. the lock pipe ran down the middle of the block, with of big ironw kettles on each side. over each kettle, there was a wooden stick it that allowed the into theflow
9:50 pm
individual kettles. when they wanted to stop the flow of brine, they would use these wooden plugs and stick it into the opening of the spigot. s wereason that the log made out of wood, or the piping system was made out of wood, was and salt waterne was very corrosive. if they were using iron pipes, eventually those pipes would rest, the rust impurities would get into the water. pipesy tended to use long throughout the manufacturing process. they used it to distribute the brine to the solar evaporating shed as well. once the brine was loaded into the kettle, a fire would start and the heat ran under the kettle down to the chimney at the end. the tall chimney created quite a bit of draft to pull that heat
9:51 pm
down underneath the kettles to aid in the process so the boiling would be consistent from kettle the kettle. the thicker, heavier kettles were closer to the firing pit, and as we went further down the kettles would get center and smaller, so as the heat dissipated down at the end, the boiling would stay consistent throughout the boiling block. of these fired one boiling blocks up, they kept it going for 24 hours or more straight. they really needed to build that -- build thatk heat up. to make the most efficient use of the heat, they kept that boiling as long as they could. eventually, a couple of things had to take place. the brine was not pure naturally. on,he boiling process went
9:52 pm
the impurities tended to settle at the bottom of the kettle, and they use what they referred to as "better." -- "bitter." they would use the bettering pan to lift out the and. he's an sort of throw them away. impuritiese -- the and sort of throw them away. eventually, as the boiling salt crystalsued, would start to form on the surface of the water, and they coop tose a large s skip the crystals out, and they would dump them into baskets. each kettle had a basket that was suspended over it. because the salt was still sort of moist, droopy, and wet, the allowed thataskets excess moisture to drain off back into the kettle. eventually you would get a basket that would be mounted up with salt crystals.
9:53 pm
they were still at that point somewhat damp, so the worker of saltke the basket and throw it in these bins on the side of the salt lock and line the salt block all the way down. probably for a period of another two weeks, the salt would sit in that bed, continuing to dry out. workwas particularly hot because you are talking about a three or -- 300 or 400 gallon kettle of boiling brine, and multiply that by 50 times inside this particular building. there is a victorian description of a visit to a salt boiling block. the flowery victorian language, the writer talks about how it was sort of like another world they were entering that they would come in here and it would be filled with steam, the
9:54 pm
men would be sort of working around, sometimes shirtless, sort of visions of dante's inferno were somewhat the association that these writers would make of what it looks like to be inside of a salt boiling block. way of getting the salt early on was the boiling method. that stayed in existence for many years. early on, the manufacturers in the syracuse area started to look at other methods of producing salt that they knew existed. this is sort of a model of that process, referred to as the solar evaporation process. eventually they worked their way into these more shallow solar evaporating sheds, where the actual formation of the salt crystals will take place in the
9:55 pm
front area here. there were literally thousands of these scattered around the southern shore of the lake. got into this level, it was sort of supersaturated in terms of the amount of salt content in it. with the sun shining on it in it, thatowing across exacerbated the evaporation process and salt crystals started to form. one of the things about the solar sheds is that they had these little rooms that can be rolled over the top. that was a consideration borrowed from the technology on werecod, because if you devoting a couple of weeks of time to let the salt evaporate and let the sun and the wind work on it, obviously the last thing you would want is a rainstorm, because that was going to dilute your brine and you would lose the evaporation process, and you would have to start all over again. people visiting this museum can the process of how salt
9:56 pm
was made in the 19th century, which is kind of an interesting technologyerms of for much of the 19th century and how basic it was at that particular time. it also kind of explained to people how natural -- the impact that natural resources can have on economic development and the creation of a community. in other cities, there are other that createdrces the cities, and this is a part of what created syracuse. announcer: throughout the weekend, american history tv is featuring syracuse, new york. we traveled there to learn about its rich history.
9:57 pm
learn about syracuse and other stops on our tour at c-span.org/citiestour., americanatching history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. kennedyr: during the administration, the white house naval photographic center produced a variety of short films recording the activities of the president. next on real america, "the last few days," a film about president kennedy's fateful trip to texas in november 1963. ♪ >> the vice president and texas governor john connally applauds president kennedy's entrance as he returns to his hotel for a breakfast with the fourth -- fort worth chamber of commerce. the breakfast party awaits the arrival of mrs. kennedy.
9:58 pm
>> years ago, i introduced myself in paris by saying i was the man who accompanied mrs. kennedy to paris. i'm getting that same sensation as i travel around in texas. [applause] president kennedy: nobody wonders what lyndon and i wear. [laughter] [applause] announcer: on a more serious note, the president's last words , reflections of his hope for the future. pres. kennedy: this is a very
9:59 pm
dangerous and uncertain world. history will not permit it. the balance of power is still in the side of freedom, we are still the keystone of freedom, i think we will continue to do as we have done our past, our duty. i'm confident as i look to the future that our chances for security, our chances for peace are better than they have been in the past. and the reason is because we are stronger. and with that strength is a determination to not only maintain the peace, but also the vital interests of the united states. ♪ announcer: friday morning, 11:00. the presidential jet leaves ft. worth for the short flight to dallas, where the president has a scheduled luncheon address. harrycer: coming up next,
10:00 pm
jones of the african american civil war memorial and museum takes an in-depth look at the actions and strategies employed by african americans in their struggle for freedom, from slavery billions in the 1830's to black enlistment in the union army during the civil war, the national civil war museum hosted this hour and 45 minute event. >> good morning. i'd like to thank the national civil war museum for hosting this. i'd like to give a special thanks to the commissioner for making this possible, sponsoring this program, allowing me to share this american story not only with the good folk of harrisburg, but thanks to c-span and the good folks of the country.

16 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on