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1761 Tannery

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11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

All Site Hours

The Tannery was constructed in 1761 in the Colonial Industrial Quarter to tan hides into leather. It was built next to the butchery, which no longer exists. Moravian tanners produced about 3,000 hides a year for use by the community and as a product to raise funds to support the community.

Here the craftsmen created a variety of leather goods such as clothing, shoes, harnesses, and machinery parts. The Monocacy creek was used as a washing station for cleaning the hides.

The hides were then soaked in lime juice and water in wooden vats. This process took up to three months to complete!

Although the Moravian Church sold the tannery and its operations in 1830, tanning continued until the building was converted into a multi-family residence in 1873. The building was restored 1968-71, and an archaeological report, pieces of the original vats, and tools are in the Historic Bethlehem collection.

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