Salt making was an important industry due to the close connection of salt with fishing. The first salt produced on Cape Cod was made by evaporating sea water placed in large boilers over fire. This was the process during the Revolutionary War, but the quantity obtained was not very large and used a great deal of wood for the constant fires. The salt works that were built after the war consisted of large wooden “vats” for solar evaporation of sea water. Each vat could be entirely covered by a movable hipped-roof as protection from dews and rains.
Salt was made in various places along the shores of Buzzards Bay, the first one by Caleb Perry on the southwest side of a large salt pond known as Eel Pond in Monument Beach. The most extensive works were on Mashnee Island, built in the early 1800’s but destroyed by the hurricane of 1835. The last of the salt works were at Back River, Monument Beach, and owned by Reuben Collins.
A replica of the salt works was originally built in 1967, then rebuilt in 2000, by the students at the Upper Cape Regional Technical School.
In the spring of 2014 John York and his volunteer crew revitalized the salt works and it can be seen anytime.