Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites

In association with the Smithsonian Institution


1761 Tannery

1761 Tannery © Paul S. Bartholomew 1010011

View the historical site where highly skilled master craftsmen produced a variety of leather goods.

About The Tannery

The Tannery was constructed in 1761 and resides in the Colonial Industrial Quarter next to the butchery to tan hides into leather. 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.

Tannery © Paul S. Bartholomew

Plan Your Visit


You can tour the 1761 Tannery along with multiple other historical sites in our Colonial Industrial Quarter Walking Tour.

Let our Docent lead you through the Colonial Industrial Quarter with our costumed guide and learn how it has changed throughout the centuries into the bucolic site it is today.

Sites include: The Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, the Old Chapel, God's Acre, the Sun Inn, the Colonial Industrial Quarter, and the Bell House Complex.


Thousands of people have walked these streets, farmed these lands, built these buildings and industries. Thousands of stories, thousands of lives to cherish.

Join a community of people who share our mission to preserve:

  • 20 historic structures
  • 60,000+ collections and artifacts
  • 3 centuries of rich history

Need Directions?

Start your visit by stopping by our Visitor Center.

Order your tour tickets, gather information, and shop in the museum store!

Get your Insiders Guide!

Original Cover Historic Moravian Bethlehem Book

Everything you need you know about the Tannery and more!

Want to see more of what Historic Bethlehem has to offer?

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74 West Broad Street, Suite 310, Bethlehem, PA 18018 | Phone: 610-882-0450 | FAX: 610-882-0460 | info@historicbethlehem.org

Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Registration and financial information about Historic Bethlehem Partnership, Inc. may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999, or on the web at www.dos.state.pa.us. Registration does not imply endorsement.