The Moser Leather Company was one of New Albany, Indiana’s five leather companies during the early-20th century. By the beginning of the 21st, it was the lone survivor.

The Moser Leather Company was founded in 1878, and produced high grade leather for harnesses and collar manufacturers. Moser was attracted to New Albany due to the abundance of native chestnut trees, which have a natural tannin in the bark and nuts that were useful in the tanning process. The natural materials used resulted in a vegetative tanning process, which would take four weeks to complete from start to finish. The hide would be treated to a solution of water and tree bark, which resulted in higher quality, leather that lasted longer and a process that was not environmentally damaging.

Moser later expanded into the wholesale leather business, and bought out Caldwell Leather Company in 1985. By the 1990s, leather from Moser was used by Harley-Davidson and Bass shoes. But cheaper leather processes in Mexico and overseas, nearly all of which used chemical-based processes, produced a cheaper product that led Moser to shut down in 2002.

Not long after Moser closed its doors, it was proposed that the site be renovated into a senior citizen housing complex. But a partial collapse of a roof in one building has led to a setback to the redevelopment proposal.

Read more about Moser Leather Company’s history, and view 15 photographs from a mid-summer excursion to the site »