This stone structure was built from 1820 to 1821 by Samuel Smith as his home and tannery. The tannery was in the basement. It is the oldest home structure in Greenfield and the oldest known tannery in Ohio. It was also a station on the Underground Railroad. It is now part of the historical complex of the Greenfield Historical Society and is an Ohio Historic Site.
Smith Tannery listed by the State of Ohio as an historic site.
Early view of tannery and adjacent buildings.
Current view of the Smith Tannery.
The Smith Tannery is used for various displays throughout the year.
Backstory and Context
Samuel Smith first built a primitive tannery on Jefferson Street (previously Main Street) on the banks of Paint Creek. Tannin, or tannic acid, from the bark of the oak tree and fish oil were indispensable for tanning hides. Fish oil was not readily available, but Smith found substitutes in raccoon, bear, opossum and other oils from the native animals. Even unsalted butter was used.
The Smith Tannery. Historical Society of Greenfield. . Accessed July 16, 2018. http://www.greenfieldhistoricalsociety.org/ghs-ST.html. Information and photo source.