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The Forgotten Civilization Near The Old SaltPool


Tony Rustad

We can only dream of the civilizations buried under thesilt and sands of time. There are many who know that Indians lived on theRed River Valley, there are a few who are acquainted with a hill along theTwo Rivers (where the Indians once lived), but there is no one who knowswhat life was really like for these Indians. The sands of time have nearlycovered that civilization. All that remains are artifacts, bones and thetheories of the men who find and study these relics.

The Old Salt Pool received its name from nearby farmerswhen they noted how the pool of water, which is located on a hill near theTwo Rivers, attracted near-by game animals. Deer, moose, fox, rabbits, andall kinds and types of animals lived in great numbers near the pool.

Old Salt Pool, like most of the land in Northwestern Minnesotawas covered by the great Lake Agassiz. As the glacier receded into the HudsonBay, water began to flow both North and South. But within a short periodof time Lake Agassiz had dropped until it could no longer flow into theRiver Warren, then it ceased to flow South. The silt and other materialswhich the river carried were deposited at the bottom of the lake, and itis said that this silt is what makes the valley so fertile. Several hundredyears later the lake area of the Agassiz dried up and began to take on itsfuture characteristics. Most people believe that it was Lake Agassiz whichdeposited the salt and alkali which is found in various parts of KittsonCounty.

The Old Salt Pool seldom gets over two feet deep beforeit drains into the valley surrounding it. Though the pool is usually dryduring the summer, animals use it after summer rains. Very seldom do farmersattempt to plant crops near the pool because the land contains too muchsalt for the plants to sustain life.

The most important characteristic which identifies theOld Salt Pool civilization is the valley which was formerly the bed of theTwo Rivers. When Lake Agassiz receded it formed many small streams as thewater flowed out. One of these so-called streams is the Two Rivers. Thisriver is characterized by the many curves and bends. Near the Old Salt Poolthe Valley was formed as the river took a side course past a few of thesebends. Now this valley has become the bed of a natural ditch that drainsthe near-by area. It is covered with marsh grasses and cattails and is anexcellent habitat for birds and wild animals.

Because of its outstanding characteristics the Old SaltHill became a natural place of the Indians to settle. This hill affordedthe Indians a tremendous view of the surrounding country side. It enabledthem to watch for enemies and also look for game in the area. The near-bysalt pool attracted game and may even have provided the Indians with salt.The river provided water, and the near plants, bushes, and trees providedthe other necessities for life. All in all the Old Salt Pool afforded oneof the best places in Kittson County that the the Indians could sustainlife from the land.


d sustainlife from the land.