Prior to our tour, I had never heard of an ashery and couldn't have guessed all that it did. During the early to mid 1800's, all towns in the US had an ashery. Towns people would sell their hardwood ashes at the ashery. Then the ashery would process the ashes to create lye for soap, and also create potash (for gun powder) and pearl ash (used for soap and glass production).
After it was discovered that you could easily mine these products, all of the asheries in the US shut down and eventually were destroyed.
The Kirtland Ashery was restored and is now the only ashery in the US.
We really enjoyed learning learning the history of asheries and seeing how they worked.