Skippack Historical Society

Tannery of Michael Ziegler, Jr.

Researched and written by Mike Dickey
Member of Skippack Historical Society

The Ziegler land extended along Tannery Todaythe southern side of Skippack Pike from Rt. 113 to Cressman Rd. In 1727, Michael Ziegler, Sr. purchased a 100 acre farm from Andrew and Barbara Schrager, along the opposite side of Skippack Pike from Rt.113 to Cressman Rd. The Schrager's bought the land from Van Bebber in 1709.

At this Cressman Road intersection, northeast corner, you can see the old schoolhouse that was operating in the 1800's, as part of a network on schoolhouses in the township. It was named "Ziegler's School". (Read more in the "Schoolhouse" section.)

The northwest corner of Skippack Pike and Cressman Rd. was also owned by Michael Ziegler through the purchase of the Schrager farm. On this corner, the narrow 2-story house of stucco over stone may have been built in the early 1700's. This small structure housed a successful tannery business that Michael Ziegler, Jr. started in 1747. It was a tannery and curried shop. In 1896, author Heckler wrote, here was "the tannery and the buildings- bark sheds, bark-mill, vats, and hide vats, belonging to it." He indicates that the shop was a tenant house that was converted and added onto, "being made ready for use as a tannery." It appears to have been quite a prosperous business. A great-granddaughter of Michael Ziegler, Jr., Mrs. William F. Hallman, allowed Heckler to review ledger books of the tannery, written in German and started in 1747 until 1840 when it may have been closed. (a Mr. and Mrs. Hallman had the Victorian built at Store Rd. and Skippack Pike, in 1873) The tannery may have been the first in the community. The finished product was used for apparel or furnishings. Undoubtedly, the tannery provided a welcomed service to early residents.

Presently, 2002, there is a local resident who has told us of her memories living in this house during the 1940's, and of a small stone outbuilding. Her father used to describe the full, stone wall fireplace that existed on the first floor. ("History of Skippack", James Heckler, 1896)

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