To Meade County

Meade's Salt Well

A Historical Spot in Western Kansas


      The stories about the old Salt Well have been many and varied, but in the file of March 12, 1938, published by John D. Wherle, is an account which some old timers state is reasonably accurate according to their memory. Several of them now living in Meade went swimming in this salt hole in the early 1900s, and it still was so salty they would not sink. Chas. K. Sourbier was editor of the Pearlette Call at the time the Salt Well was discovered. Below is an account in the Meade County News from 30 years ago.
 
      Considerable interest has always been taken in the Salt Well, located about one and one half miles south of Meade, Different ideas prevail as to the depth of the well, also to its origin. We publish a few extracts from the Pearlette Call, a paper published in Meade County about the time the well was discovered, which was on the 26th of March 1879. The exact date of its caving in is not know, but was between the 3rd and 26th of March 1879. The depth at that time was from 30 to 75 feet. It has been filling up until at present is only about five feet deep on the average. Prof. Johnson of the U.S. Geological Department pronounced it a sink hole which had penetrated a bed of salt, and filled up with water, probably from the sheet water.
 
      From the Call of May 15, 1879: "Considerable excitment has been created in this section of late over the discovery of a salt well, about 12 miles southwest of Pearlette. Since the 3rd of March a piece of ground some 175 feet in diameter has sunk, and the hole is now filled with salt water to a point 14 feet below the surface. It is about 75 feet deep. On the 3rd of March a wagon passed over the spot where the well now is, and the ground was then hard and firm. The track made by the wagon at that time is plainly visible on each side of the well. On the 26th of March when it was discovered, it was in its present shape. The water was so salty that a gallon of it boiled down produced 2 quarts of salt."
 
From
Pioneer Stories of Meade County
1985
Republished with the permission and cooperation of
The Meade County Historical Society
 
Meade County small diamond Kansas History

November 18, 2001 / John & Susan Howell / Wichita, Kansas / howell@kotn.org

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