River Ran Black
Lehigh Tannery Historic Site
"Trees one after another were...constantly heard falling. In a century, the noble forests around should exist no more."
John J. Audubon
In the woods next to the river are the ruins of the Lehigh Tannery and a village named Lehigh Tannery. Over 100 families lived here. Two railroads ran through town. An ice house, steam saw mill, hotel and school clung to the river's edge.
Bark from the valley's giant hemlocks was the ingredient essential to the town's success. Hemlock bark provided the tannic acid used to cure as many as 50,000 hides a year, making this the second largest tannery in America during this era.
The river and the forest paid an enormous price for the Tannery's good fortune. Wastes dumped into the river turned it black. Logging created a landscape littered with the debris of abandoned trees cut only for their bark. In 1875, an uncontrollable fire ignited and swept across the forest floor, engulfing and forever destroying the Tannery.
Only decades before, naturalist and artist John James Audubon visited here and sketched a variety of native birds.
Today, industry is largely gone. Instead, rejuvenated
forests again shelter native birds and welcome modern-
Erected by Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1875.
Location. 41° 2.3′ N, 75° 45.617′ W. Marker is in White Haven, Pennsylvania, in Carbon County. Marker is on Tannery Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: White Haven PA 18661, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named River Ran Black (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Workers From All Nations (approx. one mile away); Exploring The Corridor (approx. 1.4 miles away); Thank Josiah White (approx. 1.4 miles away); White Haven (approx. 1.7 miles away); Disaster at Mud Run (approx. 4.2 miles away); A Revolution in Canal Technology (approx. 4.2 miles away); Engineering Marvel (approx. 4.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in White Haven.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 30, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 28, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 168 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 28, 2020, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.