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Livestock markets for the sale and distribution of meat developed as early as the days of colonial America. In the mid-nineteenth century, as westward expansion increased and railroads developed, stockyard companies formed in order to meet the demand of a growing nation. Contrary to markets, these companies were centrally organized and managed by a select few principal partners. America’s Historic Stockyards: Livestock Hotels is an examination of such stockyards, from their early beginnings to their eventual decline.
Stockyards helped to establish some of America’s greatest cities. Early on the scene were stockyards in cities such as Cincinnati, otherwise known as Porkopolis,” and meat stockyards and packing powerhouse Chicago, which was considered the number one livestock market in the nation. Markets soon opened in the Midwest and eventually expanded further westward to California and Oregon.
Other smaller markets made large contributions to the industry. The cow towns of Fort Worth and Wichita never reached the status of Chicago but did have large livestock receipts. Fort Worth, for instance, became the largest horse and mule market in 1915, as World War I produced an increased demand for these animals.
Meatpacking moguls known as the Big Four Phillip Armour, Gustavus Swift, Nelson Morris, and Edward Cudahy usually financed these growing markets, controlled the meatpacking business and, in turn, the stockyards companies. Although the members changed, this oligopoly remained intact for much of the duration of the stockyards industry. However, as railways gave way to highways, the markets declined and so too did these moguls. By the end of the twentieth century, almost every major market closed, bringing an end to the stockyard era.
J’Nell Pate’s examination of this era, the people, and the markets themselves recounts a significant part of the history of America’s meat industry.
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J'Nell L. Pate holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Texas. Her dissertation became Livestock Legacy: The Fort Worth Stockyards, 1887-1987. Now retired from Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, she is also the author of North of the River: A Brief History of North Fort Worth, Hazel Vaughn Leigh and the Fort Worth Boys' Club, Ranald Slidell Mackenzie: Brave Cavalry Colonel, written for juveniles, and Document Sets for Texas and the Southwest in U.S. History, a primary source reader which she edited. She makes her home in Fort Worth.Review:
"J'Nell Pate provides a comprehensive look at America's stockyards between 1865 and the 1980s . . . marvelous telling of this fascinating story." -- Review of Texas Books
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Book Description TCU Press, 2005. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. Not ex-library. New, in shrinkwrap. Seller Inventory # ABE-1523544467458
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STR-0875653049