The Berlin Tannery represents one of the few remaining vestiges of the expansion westward in early American history. The settling of the Midwest was spurred on by the market for animal furs. Fur trapping being a lucrative business in the Wisconsin territory resulted in the construction of tanneries throughout the region which attracted homesteaders and allowed for family supporting jobs that over time grew the population exponentially. Immigrants from across eastern and western Europe flocked to the territory of Wisconsin in search of a better life and a new beginning.
Few of these tanneries exist today as the fur trade through the years died down and was replaced with other industries that continued the settling of the state. As a result of the dwindling fur trade as well as the more cost effective processing capabilities overseas in foreign countries; the tanneries too faded into history. But its lasting impression on the state as well as other Midwestern states is still felt today.
The city of Berlin was founded in 1847 due to its location along the fox river and its abundance of natural resources. Later the railroad would come to town giving rise to the establishment of three leather tanning facilities. Through the years the tanneries of Berlin exchanged hands many times and also were befallen with accidental fires that destroyed them. The Berlin Tannery started out as a cranberry storage facility. Wisconsin’s western cranberry marshes back then as well as today produce the most cranberries in the United States. The Berlin Tannery was reformatted in the 1870’s and transformed into a leather tanning facility after all the other tanneries in town had been wiped out by fire. Additions were made to the original structure expanding its footprint significantly. In the 1920’s the Berlin Tannery too suffered a fire loss, gutting most of the building and leaving only the limestone foundation intact. It was soon rebuilt and continued operation as a tannery through to the 1990s before finally shuttering its doors.
And although the industrial activity at the Berlin Tannery ceased; the paranormal activity was just getting started..
In the year 2000 the current owner of the Berlin Tannery, Dan Hoppa, purchased the complex. Hoppa had worked within the Tannery in the 80’s and 90’s as a plumbing contractor. That is when he became aware of the paranormal happenings there. His purchase of the Tannery was the actualization of his desire to not just see the historic landmark with importance in the founding and settling of Wisconsin preserved, but also to further the understanding of the paranormal activity there. Hoppa's purchase of the Tannery likely saved the landmark from the wrecking ball.
Many mediums have toured the facility and they have all informed that the Tannery is the site of at least three portals that join this world with the next. It is their belief that the reason for the high level of paranormal activity is because of these crossover points. The theories for why these portals exist range greatly. What is known however is that there is a strange magnetism that exists there that seems to invite other worldly entities.
-Videos filmed, produced, and edited by Michael J. Gall-
The Berlin Tannery