Bethlehem in Northampton County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
“...16 of our Brethren, who are to go to Upper Places[?] to peel bark for our tanner, had lovefeast.”
Single Brethren's Diary
April 16, 1757
The large forest located north of early Bethlehem contained great quantities of bark needed to produce the tannic acid used in tanning leather. While colonial tanners preferred black oak and hemlock bark, records show that the Moravians used mostly oak which gave the leather its distinctive reddish-brown color.
The Moravians chopped down the trees in the spring. They stripped off the bark, dried it, and hauled it back to Bethlehem where they stored it in bark sheds. These sheds were made of timber construction like the one pictured here built near this location around 1766. Inventories state that about 100 cords of bark were on hand at one time.
The bark was then ground fine using very large stones turned by animal power. In 1765, a water-powered bark grinding mill was included in the design of the new oil mill, a technological advance in the tanning process.
[The Bark Shed has not been reconstructed as of early 2010]
[Marker is damaged and defaced]
Erected by Historic Bethlehem, HistoryWorks!, and Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Location. Click for map. Marker is in the Colonial Industrial Quarter of Historic Bethlehem, about 100 feet NNW of the Old Waterworks and about 150 feet NNW of the Main Street Bridge over the Monocacy Creek. Marker is in this post office area: Bethlehem PA 18018, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Oil Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Old Waterworks (within shouting distance of this marker); Waterworks (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonial Industrial Quarter (within shouting distance of this marker); Tawery (within shouting distance of this marker); Pottery (within shouting distance of this marker); Smith Complex (within shouting distance of this marker); Springhouse (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Bethlehem.
Also see . . . Colonial Industrial Quarter. (Submitted on January 27, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Colonial Era • Environment • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Natural Resources • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 685 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on , by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.