Before coal, before oil, even before corn, the biggest and busiest industry in Illinois was salt.
This once-booming enterprise was located just southeast of Equality, in southern Illinois’ Gallatin County. The heavily brined water was pulled from springs, boiled down and the salt laid out to dry. Native Americans did this for generations, then they taught the process to the French. In 1763, after the French and Indian War, control of the salt springs went to the British.