Tanning, or the process of converting animal skins to finished leather, is one of the oldest known crafts. The tanning process required large quantities of both water and hemlock bark, and much of New York State had both.
Sullivan County in the Catskills had thirty-nine tanneries by 1860.
Men with vision, and the resources, purchased thousands of acres of forested land and built tanneries near the seemingly unlimited supply of water, which quickly became polluted by the tanning process. Prosperity came with the tanneries, in the form of turnpikes, villages and sawmills.
The Time and the Valleys Museum in the Catskills will host a virtual program about a unique Sullivan County tannery story, “Tannery Hides and the Beaverkill Bridge,” set for Sunday, February 28th at 2 pm.
Town of Rockland Historian Dr. Joyce Conroy will tell the story of how one hundred year old tanned hides were found in the Beaverkill Bridge in Roscoe, Sullivan County.
Dr. Conroy is a retired Crisis Clinician from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, NJ with a doctorate from Drew University. Since retiring to Sullivan County 14 years ago, she has served as the Director of the Roscoe Free Library and Historian for the Town of Rockland.
To register to the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, call (845) 985-7700 or email email@example.com.
Photos, from above: Beaverkill Covered Bridge; and Tanned Hides from the Beaverkill Bridge provided.