Zirkle's Tanyard

Location: Three miles west of Mount Jackson, Virginia, on Orkney Grade.

Built: prior to 1837


17 Jun 1837: John Overholser and Barbare (sic) R. to Edward Walton.

Samuel Walton by division

22 Sep 1857: Moses Zirkle

9 Sep 1875: Moses Zirkle and Lydia, his wife, to James A. Zirkle.

1912 - 1936: Bernie Zirkle by will.

Physical Description

This tanyard was run until 1920. The owners tanned all kinds of leather; harness, sole and shoe. The skins mostly tanned were calf, kid for soles and uppers. The industry worked from three to five men a day. Chestnut oak, black oak, but mostly chestnut oak was used to make the tanning extracts.

Physical Description

There is only one of the original buildings in use now, and it is used only as a storage building. The dwelling was originally only four rooms, but has been added to until now it is a large size building. It has large windows and fancy wood-framed fireplaces. The overshot water wheel was used for power and the water came through a sluice from Stony Creek.

Feed was ground for home consumption here.

The owner tanned about one thousand hides a year. In 1937, Mr. Bernie Zirkle (the owner at that time) had in his possession two pieces of human hide which he tanned for a young doctor; these are very interesting, especially since the Negro's hide of much finer quality than that of a white man. The pieces of hide were taken from a white man and a Negro man who were dissected at one of the Medical Universities.

Sources: Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project, 1937

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Created November 15 2001