The Samuel Smith Tannery

Samuel Smith built a primitive tannery on Main St (Jefferson St) on the banks of Paint Creek. Tannin or tannic acid from the bark of the oak tree and fish oil were indispensible for tanning hides. Fish oil was not readily available, but Smith found a substitute in coon, bear, possum and other oils from the native animals. Even unsalted butter was used.

The stone structure was built in 1821 and the building is listed as an Historic Site. It is the oldest existing tannery building in Ohio and was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. It is currently used to display vintage clothing, a pump organ, shoes and other memorabilia from the Greenfield shoe factory, and other household items.

The Greenfield Historical Society
PO Box 266
Greenfield, Ohio 45123