The Stockyards


The Birth of the Chicago Union Stock Yards

The rise and dominance of Chicago's Union Stock Yards marks a significant period in the city's economic and social history. In 1848, when Chicago was only a connection for transporting livestock from the West to the rest of the country, small stockyards such as Lake Shore Yard and Cottage Grove Yard were scattered throughout the city along various rail lines.

Union Stock Yards, 1866. (CHS ICHi-06898)

Several factors contributed to Chicago's need for a larger, more centralized, and efficient stockyard. One of these was the westward expansion of railroads, causing Chicago to evolve into a major railroad center and experience massive commercial growth. Another factor was the Mississippi River blockade during the Civil War that closed the north-south river trade route. A third factor was the influx of meatpackers and livestock to Chicago - the city's small stockyards were not equipped to manage the exponential growth of the meatpacking industry.

View of Union Stock Yards taken from 47th Street and Loomis Street, 1924. (CHS ICHi-04090)



Al Capone
Black Sox
Century of Progress
Chicago Fire
World's Columbian Expo
Parades, Protests and Politics
The Pullman Era
The Stockyards
The Stockyards Photos
The Stockyards bibliography
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The Pullman Era - The Stockyards
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