Architectural Remains, Unit B, Sub-unit 76, Jamestown, James City County, VA
Significance: Structure 16 had a long rectangular footprint measuring 34' x 12' with framed side walls and north gable end. The walls rested on sills underpinned by a single row of brick footings. The south gable was defined by the chimney; the hearth was laid on mortar applied to the clay sub-floor. Two brick vats were found near the hearth, suggesting a commercial or industrial use that called for a source of heat. The shape and finish of the vats indicate they were made to hold liquid. The most likely use of the building was as a tannery.
The utilitarian structure stood through the American Revolutionary War, and its proximity to the Travis house site (HABS No. VA-28) suggests tanning was part of that plantation's economy.
Legal records suggest Structure 16 could have been a public tannery. Legislation ordered each county to have "tan-house" as early as 1662 and was renewed in the 1680s, 1733 and 1752.
Survey number: HABS VA-30
Building/structure dates: ca. 1700 Initial Construction