History Technology

  • Small Stockyard development

    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.
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    History Technology

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  • The Beginning of Chicago Union Stockyards

    In order to build the new centralized stockyard, a consortium of nine railroad companies purchased a 320-acre area of swampy land in southwest Chicago for $100,000 in 1864. Using Chicago as a hub, this new stockyard would serve as a commercial link between America's East and West.
  • Chicago's Union Stock Yard and Transit Company

    The stockyards' ultimate boundaries were Pershing Avenue, Halsted Street, 47th Street, and Ashland Avenue. Civil engineer Octave Chanute designed the plan and Chicago's Union Stock Yard and Transit Company officially opened on Christmas Day 1865.
  • Meatpacking Technology

    Soon after the creation of the Union Stock Yards, various meatpacking companies established operations around the yards. One of the earliest to move into the area was the Armour plant in 1867. Armour, along with several other large meatpacking firms, including Swift, Morris, and Hammond, came to dominate the industry. At the turn of the century, Chicago's meatpacking industry employed more than 25,000 people and produced 82 percent of the meat consumed in the United States. In addition to proces
  • Meatpacking Technology Breakthrough

    Technological breakthroughs dramatically altered work in the meatpacking plants. In 1872, packers began using newly invented ice-cooled units to preserve meat. With this technology, meatpacking was no longer limited to cold weather months; it could continue year-round.
  • Gustavus Swift

    Gustavus Swift developed the first refrigerated railroad car, thus making it possible to ship processed meat instead of live animals to America's eastern markets.
  • Slaughterhouse Jobs

    Workers went on strike and attempted to unionize in an effort to improve their harsh working conditions, however the early attempts were relatively unsuccessful. Two significant efforts were made in 1894 and 1904, but both failed due to strikers' inability to form a cohesive, effectual group.
  • Slaghterhouse Jobs Attempt of Strike #2

    This Attempt of Workers going on strike aslo failed along with 1894 attempts due to strikers' inability to form a cohesive, effectual group.
  • Ethnic groups Continue Comming together

    Saul Alinsky and Joseph Meegan took community reform one step further and united the various ethnic groups into one community via the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council. Alinsky and Meegan adopted the commonly used moniker, Back of the Yards, and made it the official neighborhood name, thus encouraging unity and community identity among its residents. Relying upon their visions of community reform as well as their ability to organize people, Alinsky and Meegan worked with the city government

    The Death of the Stockyards Wrecking a Swift Company building in the Union Stock Yards.
    (CHS ICHi-24563) New technology, which helped build the Chicago stockyards and packinghouses, ironically led to their demise. After World War II, the rapid growth of the federal highway system and the development of the refrigerated truck allowed packinghouses to move out of the expensive urban areas they had depended upon for railroad access. Competition in the meatpacking business led to the building o