Salt City (1852); Flour City (1852)

Frank Abate abatefr at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Jun 19 09:18:48 UTC 2003

What Barry P noted (cc'd below) is borne out by the facts -- western NY was
the first big center of wheat-growing and of salt-mining in the US, in terms
of their having major economic impact.  The reasons were: (1) the fertility
and flatness of the countryside S of Lake Ontario, which was planted to
wheat, largely; (2) the presence of enormous salt deposits near and under
Lake Ontario (Lake Erie has this, too, near Cleveland; both former sea
beds); (3) the Erie Canal.

So by the early 1850s, before the huge impact of railroads, "Genesee
Country" (the land in the Genesee River Valley, W and S of Syracuse, had
become a rich agricultural and mining center for the country.  The area
prospered.  The Erie Canal, and later the NY Central RR, brought the goods
to market.  When the wheat got grown further to the west, the Great Lakes
allowed shipment of it to the best flour-milling place in the country,
western NY, and they were milling wheat for nearly everybody in the
northeast and much of the country.

Today there is still evidence of all this, but one can drive through and not
see it, if not looking for it.  And the huge prosperity ceased some years
ago, though it seems there is a renaissance taking place in western NY.

Frank Abate
(recent visitor to Genesee Country)

Barry P said:


   Yesterday's NEW YORK POST, Travel section, pg. 46, has "A pinch of Salt
City."  I had written about the Syracuse "salt potato" (see DARE).

National Era (1847-1860), Washington; Aug 19, 1852; Vol. VOL. VI., Iss. 0
Letter 3 -- No Title; F. G. S.; pg. 136, 1 pgs
("We arrived at Syracuse about sundown, on a Saturday evening, and remained
over Sunday.  It would be hard to decide whether Syracuse best deserves the
title of the Salt city, or the Hotel city.")


   The DICTIONARY OF AMERICANISMS has 1859 for "Flour City," Rochester.

Author: Curtiss, Daniel S.
Title: Western portraiture, and emigrants' guide: a description of
Illinois, and Iowa; with remarks on Minnesota, and other territories. By
Daniel S. Curtiss.
Publication date: 1852.
Search results: 2 matches in full text
0001.001;view=image;seq=0028">Page xxviii</A>  - 1 term matching "flour
0001.001;view=image;seq=0043">Page 43</A>  - 1 term matching "flour city"
   ("From the large amount of excellent flour that is manufactured at
Rochester, N. Y., that place is called the 'Flour City;'...")

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