Thursday, December 30, 2010

Serrano Tanning Vats

June 23, 1993 Riverside County
The fourth in a series of nine northbound landmarks seen that day was a twofer…two landmarks at the same site. This one has the state plaque and the Third Serrano Adobe has a local marker. There was a third landmark of some kind in the middle separating the other two, a fancy stone tablet that could have been something important, calling out to those who pass. But when one is on a quest, one stays on theme. Besides, the better half taking the photo was hungry and it didn’t look like the concrete pipe factory was serving tea and sandwiches.
Update: It turns out the good folks amid the halls and corridors of the Temescal Valley Press know what the mystery third landmark is all about. Turns out the Boy Scouts did the good deed of placing a plaque of their own design in 1962…later to be restored in 1981 by those Boy Scouts with beer, E Clampus Vitus.

Tanning in this case does not mean these were little spas for sun bathing. No, they were used for soaking cow hides in lime or lye solutions for separation, or tannin, that alters the structure of the skins into something that doesn’t deteriorate. Nowhere does any information on these vats say exactly what steps in the process of leather making these vats were used for, but for tanning then they used a solution made from oak bark. Tannenbaum is German for oak tree, and derived the word.’ tannin’ from. Or, you could use a lot of red wine.

Plaque inscription: NO. 186 SERRANO TANNING VATS - Nearby, two vats were built in 1819 by the Luiseño Indians under the direction of Leandro Serrano, first non-Indian settler in what is now Riverside County. The vats were used in making leather from cow hides. In 1981 the vats were restored and placed here by the Billy Holcomb Chapter of E Clampus Vitus.
Location: NW corner of I-15 and
Old Temescal Rd
, 8 mi SE of Corona
Google maps: 33.777863,-117.486119

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