Stories of the salt mine

Much of the impact of the salt industry is documented in public records of business activities from the 1880’s to the present day.  Other information is found in the personal lives and stories of workers & families–including that of a current York student’s grandfather who was “buried alive” and lived to tell the tale.  We’re working on how to get students together with retired & current workers (some are family) and document a visit to Retsof’s Little Italy, or the memorial for accident victims at the Retsof site–or a tour of the current mine.

Then there are stories that are still a mystery, like those almost-captured in the photo with this post.  It’s a page from the Sterling Salt employee log book from Cuylerville, showing a list of employees between the dates of 1910 to 1923.  It tells quite a lot–name, age, birthplace, how long they’ve been in this country, family status, previous employer.  The last column is full of potential: it says why they were discharged from, or left working for the company.  I’m imagining students choosing a person, gathering whatever facts are known about their circumstances, and then creating “the rest of the story” from what they imagine might have happened, before or after.  (There are 600 such pages…)

Hello world!

Welcome to Buy Local/Build a Future. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Read the full article »