Bethlehem in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
"The Tannery is one of our most paying and indispensable trades. It supplies all our shoemaking trades in Bethlehem. Nazareth, Friedrichstal and Gnadenhuetten and all our people with leather."
Bishop John Cammerhof
Colonial Bethlehem had an ideal location for a tannery, the industry in which animal hides are processed into leather. The Monocacy Creek provided water to wash the hides before, during and after tanning. The adjacent butchery provided a large supply of animal hides. The forests surrounding Bethlehem provided large quantities of oak and hemlock trees to supply the bark which produced the tannic acid used in the tanning process.
Bethlehem's first tannery was a small log structure built in 1743 which stood on the opposite side of the raceway. The second, larger tannery was constructed in 1761. Here Moravian tanners worked about 3,000 hide each year. During the years of the American Revolution, their output rose to about 6,000 hides annually to help supply leather to the Continental Army.
In the late 1800s, the tannery was used as a multi-family dwelling.
Erected by Historic Bethlehem Museums and Historic Sites; DCNR; Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1761.
Location. 40° 37.2′ N, 75° 23.009′ W. Marker is in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in Lehigh County. Marker can be reached from Ohio Road just east of Old York Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 145 Ohio Rd, Bethlehem PA 18018, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Springhouse (a few steps from this marker); Tawery (a few steps from this marker); Butchery (within shouting distance of this marker); Luckenbach Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Miller's House (within shouting distance of this marker); Dye House (within shouting distance of this marker); Bark Shed (within shouting distance of this marker); Colonial Industrial Quarter (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bethlehem.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.