Henry Bretney arrived in Springfield in the 1820s from Hagerstown, Maryland and opened a general store. He then went on to open a tannery and embarked into the leather goods business in 1830.
Bretney chose his location at 218 E. Main Street because it provided access to a spring. His home was across the road and had special properties especially adapted for leather making.
His son Charles succeeded him following his death in 1869 and his son, H.V. Bretney, took over in 1893.
By 1950 the business was named the oldest continuously operated leather processing firm in the country.
This street view of East Main from the 1960s shows the longstanding business.
Today, the scene along East Main Street looks a lot different and The Bretney Co. building is a parking lot.
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