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. Over the years he as well as many other paranormal investigators have researched and documented the strange occurrences of spiritual activity that are prevalent there. 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 there.
The goal of this fundraiser is multi-pronged in that it endeavors to preserve and document the historical significance of the leather tanning past for current and future generations through recreations and interactive displays. In addition to its historical significance; we seek to educate and document the paranormal happenings that occur there in great frequency by creating a museum as well as placing high tech cameras and other ghost detection technology in all of the rooms and halls of the over 75,000 square foot facility. What has been captured in photo and video is only a small percentage of the paranormal activity that has occurred there and continues to occur. And although Hoppa has kept the building’s facilities in great condition over the years; money is needed in order to update the buildings restrooms, elevators, and to make the complex wheelchair and differently abled accessible so it can be accessed by all people with an interest in history and the paranormal.
The Berlin Tannery is a treasure trove in furthering the understanding of the spirit realm. By donating you will help ensure that this great historic and paranormal treasure continues to survive the ages as an educational center that helps not just understand where we have been but what lies beyond as well. I thank you for taking the time to read about the Berlin Tannery and I hope through my words I have imparted upon you the value in supporting our endeavor to solidify its future and make sure what it has to offer is not lost to the history books.
A picture of the front facade of the Tannery.
A Picture of the interior of one of the many out-buildings on the property.
A catwalk in one of the larger rooms of the Tannery.
A cavernous room nicknamed "The Train Station" by several mediums and empaths that have visited because it is said that this room is the site of a portal between our world and the next. There are two videos posted below of anomalies recorded in this room.
A picture of the interior of one of the outbuildings on the property.
A staircase into the bowels of the Tannery.
A photo one of our investigators took of a mirror inside the Tannery. In the lower left portion of the mirror their appears to be a face.
A blurry photo of a hall within the Tannery. There appears to be a white anomaly on the right side of the photo. A subsequent photo taken of the same hallway produced no such anomaly.
A video recording taken inside the room nicknamed the "Train Station". The room was pitch black. The following recording was captured with a night vision capable camera. An unexplained anomaly shoots across the lower half of the frame and then disappears. One of our investigators can be heard saying "yup", while reviewing the footage. What follows is believed to be an EVP that was captured.
Another video recorded with night vision in the room nicknamed the "Train Station". One of our investigator is seated in the dark on the lower right side of the frame. In the background an anomaly appears from out of the limestone wall, floats into the air illuminating itself, before disappearing into the ceiling.
The Berlin Tannery's owner, Dan Hoppa, tells a story of one of the tales of the hauntings at the facility.
A video of one of our investigators using an Ovulis (A Ghost Detection Tool) in the lower level of the Tannery.
A promotional video that our investigator Michael Gall made advertising the paranormal tours offered at the Tannery.
- Radhika Puvvula
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