The Salt Kettle Tourist Information Center was named after the iron kettle, which was a monument on route 150 until the rest area was built. In the early 1800s, iron kettles were used for the commercial
production of salt at the old salt works, known as the Vermilion Salines. Salt springs were first utilized by the Kickapoo and Piankeshaw tribes. Later, settlers dug wells 50 feet deep and the salt water was boiled in large iron kettles which produced one bushel per 100 gallons of water. In a good week between 60 and 80 bushels of salt were produced. The kettle became a symbol of progress. The official shield of Vermilion County displays a silhouette of a salt kettle and the motto “ye are the salt of the earth.” The salt works became the area’s first industry.