Retsoff, New York to Springboro, Pennsylvania: 1888. Envelope or Cover. This grouping contains a March 10th, 1888, bill of lading from the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad Company and a shipping notice from Foster & Brown, agents of the “Retsof Mining Co., Miners and Shippers of Salt,” dated March 14, 1888 along with the two-cent green stamped envelope used for mailing. All in nice shape. Very good. Item #009681
Until the late 1800s, the need for salt in New York was met primarily by using brine springs near Syracuse. However, in 1882, an amateur geologist named Carroll Cocher predicted that there were vast underground deposits of salt in Livingston County. He obtained funding from several New York City investors and dug test wells that discovered a massive vein of salt 1,000 feet below the surface. The principal investor, William Foster, became president of the mining company which he named Retsof, i.e. Foster spelled backwards. Foster and the Retsof Mining Company built a company village, Retsof, near the mine to house managers and workers. Most of the workers were recent Italian immigrants and the village became well-known as “Little Italy.” The operation quickly be came the largest salt mine in North America and the second largest in the world. It continued in operation until a 1994 earthquake caused a partial collapse and the tunnels filled with water. The Powell Brothers operated an immense stock farm of national renown in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. The Shadeland farm more than 1,000 acres of choice land, located a mile north from Spring Borough. It included over 50 large stone barns, stables and outbuildings where its corps of employees bred Clydesdale and trotting horses as well as Holstein and Devon cattle.