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Adirondack timber was used only for building until the1870s; after that time it was also used for papermaking pulp. As white pine and spruce became scarce at the end of the nineteenth century, hemlock was more widely harvested. Hemlock was cut in the summer since it was necessary to remove the bark before it could be floated downstream, and peeling bark was done while the sap flowed. The bark was pried off with a tool called a spud.

Click on the image to see a larger versionHemlock bark was used for tanning. Tanning is the process that transforms raw animal hides into leather. Tanneries in the Adirondack region processed cattle hides into leather for the soles and uppers of shoes and boots. The raw hides were shipped from the western United States and from South and Central America. Tanneries were located on the outer edges of the present-day Adirondack Park - close to abundant sources of hemlock bark. In the decades between 1860 to 1880 there were more than 150 tanneries of various sizes in operation.

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