When people talk about salt lakes, they may think of the salt lake in Utah. However, many miles southeast of Utah near Edinburg, a salt lake known as El Sal del Rey holds a rich history of trade, settlers and mineral rights. Joe Vidales, a Weslaco museum volunteer and local historian, will discuss the historical significance of this salt lake during “El Sal del Rey,” a Sunday Speaker Series presentation, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Museum of South Texas History.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “El Sal Del Rey was acquired in 1992 for inclusion in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge. The land was purchased to protect the main geologic feature, a 530 acre salt lake and its surrounding Tamaulipan thornscrub and grasslands.” Besides its beautiful landscape, there’s an interesting history attached to it (click here to view a video about the salt lake produced by MOSTHistory). Vidales will explain how native people used the salt lake to hunt, trade and collect salt for treating hides and preserving meat, and Spanish explorers and settlers traded or sold salt to the southern areas of Nuevo Santander and Europe—a commodity that was taxed by the Spanish king. Decades later, salt also become an important part of the U.S. Civil War. Learn more about the importance of this historic South Texas landmark during Vidales’ presentation.

Sunday Speaker Series is included in the fee for regular museum admission. FRIENDS of the MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship and must present their FRIENDship card at the Admissions Desk.

This program is made possible with generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was deeply committed to supporting educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created at the museum by her family to honor her memory and to continue her commitment to providing opportunities for education to the community.

About Museum of South Texas History
The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are from 1 p.m.–5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday. Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit MOSTHistory.org, like us on Facebook, follow on Twitter, find on Google+ or call +1-956-383-6911.