The Salt Palace in Grand Saline, TX

As you travel along the historic U.S. Highway 80 through sleepy Grand Saline, TX, you'll want to stop at the intersection with Main Street and visit the Grand Saline Salt Palace. The one room museum run by local volunteers is a depository for over 100 years of history in the town that Morton Salt built.

The first Salt Palace was built in 1936 to commemorate the Texas Centennial celebration. Its design was based on the Alamo in San Antonio and it was constructed entirely from salt rocks taken from the mine located just south of town. The Salt Palace has since been rebuilt three times, most recently in 1993, and is covered to slow down the effects of weather on the salt.

Inside, visitors will find photographs taken deep inside the mine, as well as tools and machinery used to mine the salt going back as far as Civil War days when the Confederate Army first began mining salt on a large scale. There is also a collection of Morton Salt memorabilia and other historic artifacts. Although public tours of the mining operation are no longer conducted, there is a documentary produced by local historians which takes museum guests a mile underground into the enormous caverns of pure rock salt.

Jason Walker

When your museum visit is over, be sure to take the half-mile detour off Highway 80 on Farm Road 857 to view the salt flats (or, salt prairie). This amazing geological feature marks the location where the underground salt dome comes to the surface. Don't worry, that's not all there is. There is enough salt beneath your feet to last 20,000 years.

The Salt Prairie is a featured stop on the Little Sandy Loop of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Prairies and Piney Woods Wildlife Trail.

Jason Walker is a life-long resident of East Texas. He is a local historian, blogger, and English teacher.