(This page printed from UtahRails.net, Copyright 2000-2017 Don Strack)

Ogden Stockyards and Meat Packing Industry

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on October 7, 2017.

(Return to Livestock Industry Index Page)


The Ogden Stockyards had its beginning on the east bank of the Weber River, north of 24th Street in Ogden, Utah. Ogden Packing Company was organized in February 1906 and a small stockyard was built to the south of the packing house. This yard was used by local farmers to sell and trade their livestock. This is also where the Ogden Packing Company purchased a good part of their slaughter livestock. In the year 1916 or 1917 there was so much of a demand for stockyard facilities that it was moved across the Weber River to the west where there was enough room for expansion. The year 1917 was the first year the Ogden Livestock Show was held.

April 3, 1917
The official opening of Ogden Union Stockyards was on April 3, 1917, with a reported cost of $50,000. At that time, the stockyards had the capacity of 280 carloads of livestock. (Wasatch Wave, April 6, 1917)

July 5, 1924
Tthe Ogden Packing and Provisioning Company became the American Packing and Provisioning Company. At the same time they obtained control of the Ogden Stockyards and held control until Congress passed a law in 1935 prohibiting a packing house from owning or having an interest in stockyards. In January 1936, the stockyard was sold to the Denver Union Stockyard Company and was operated by them until January 31, 1971, when the Ogden stock yards were closed.

To increase activities in the cattle sales the Ogden Union Stock Yards found an interested party that would operate a cattle auction at the stockyards. This action was started in 1939 and thereby offered the consignors of cattle an option of selling their cattle by private treaty through a commission firm or through the auction. The Ogden Stockyards is probably the first terminal livestock market in the United States to have a cattle auction along with private treaty sales. In the last few years of operation cattle, hogs, and sheep were sold by auction exclusively.

February 1947
During February 1947, American Packing and Provisioning Company received the approval of the federal Civilian Production Administration (CPA) for the erection of a $115,000 addition to their present plant. The new building was to be four stories high, all-brick structure with four stories and a basement. The proposed addition was notable because it would be built without the use of wood or "other critical materials." The new addition would allow "at least double our capacity." The total cost was said to be at least $250,000, with an additional $50,000 on machinery alone. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 1947, p.6)

The new addition was to cost $300,000 and be used as a sheep unit, to increase the slaughter of sheep from 1,000 a week to 10,000 a week, and would increase the storage of supplies, cans, boxes, casings, and labels. The main purpose of the new unit was to allow the local slaughter of locally produced lambs, taking away the need to transport local lambs to other locations for slaughter, during which they lose weight. Ogden was number three in the number of lambs handled by stockyards in the nation. The new addition would double the slaughter of both hogs and cattle (for the company's markets in seven western states), as well as lambs, which will shipped to eastern markets. (Deseret News, February 13, 1947)

The American Packing Company was sold to Swift & Company on June 24, 1949 and they continued to operate until November 14, 1970, at which time the plant was closed down.

May 5, 1952
The Weber River flooded, and forced Ogden Union Stock Yards to close temporarily. The river overflowed its banks and flooded about 50 acres of the stock yards. About 500 head of cattle was moved to safe ground. (Ogden Standard Examiner, May 5, 1972, "20 Years Ago")

Ogden Union Stock Yards had a major impact on the local economy. The exchange or handling of money in the local banks due to the selling of livestock amounted to over $60 Million a year. Cattle were generally figured as being worth $200.00 each, hogs were $75.00 each, and sheep were $15.00 each.

Adding to this the stock yard, including the marketing agencies, had about 100 steady employees and the three packing houses had over 150 employees, which added to the economic strength of this area.

(Read the Ogden Union Stock Yards section from the book, "Ogden Rails," by Don Strack)

W. C. Parke & Sons

Started by William C. Parke in 1926 with the purchase of Fox & Keller Dressed Meat Company, where Mr. Parke had been an employee. He operated the company at the Fox & Keller facility on 17th Street until 1928. The new plant was constructed at 724 West 21st Street in 1928 at a cost of $40,000.

The Parke company owned a feed lot, which held 500 to 1,500 head of cattle. The company used 2 million pounds of grain and 1,000 tons of hay in its feed lot operation. The hay was grown on a 1,900 acre ranch owned by the company in Huntsville.

The company produced wholesale dressed meat and sausage for local distribution. The company's annual kill was 5,000 head of cattle, 6,000 to 8,000 head of hogs, 3,000 head of sheep and 1,500 head of veal. ("Do Tell", Ogden Chamber of Commerce newsletter, Volume 2, number 1, October 1945)

Joe Simpson says that W. C. Parke purchased the Wilson & Company operation in about 1942-1943. (Interview with Joseph G. Simpson, July 14, 1996)

Number of Cars of Livestock Unloaded and Reloaded



1945 (peak)




19,000 cars

2,060 cars



6,000 cars

2,528 cars



20,000 cars

730 cars


13,298 (in)




13,531 (out)

45,000 cars

5,319 cars

Cars, Daily

38 (calculated)



Source: Kenneth Knowles

Commission Firms Operating At The Stockyards

Merrion and Wilkins


W. R. Smith and Son


Lowell and Miller


Peck Brothers

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

John Clay

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

Producers Livestock Marketing Association

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

L. L. Keller

Cattle, Sheep

Farmers Union

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

Ogden Auction


Alex Patterson Commission Company

Cattle, Hogs, Sheep

Ogden Stockyards Statistics









1970 (final)

Cattle (head)









Hog (head)









Sheep and Lambs (head)









Horses and Mules (head)









Total (head)









A. Figures for 1930 from "Ogden - The Gateway to the Intermountain West"

B. Figures for 1943 from "Do Tell", Volume 1, number 1, October 1944.

C. Figures for 1944 from "Do Tell", Volume 1, number 12, September 1945.


"Ogden - Gateway to the Intermountain West" Ogden Chamber of Commerce, 1930

"A Brief History Of The Ogden Stockyards", by Kenneth R. Knowles, circa 1972.

Mr. Knowles was the last Secretary-Treasurer of the Ogden Union Stock Yards Company at the time of its shut-down in January 1972. This four page monograph was obtained from Mrs. Kenneth (Doris) Knowles on July 16, 1996.

Kenneth R. (Roberton) Knowles was born on April 26, 1916. He worked at Ogden Union Stockyards for 36-1/2 years (from about 1936), until the stockyards closed in 1972, then he worked for the Utah State Department of Agrculture for five years. He passed away on January 6, 1992 at age 75.

His brother, Charles Rowland Knowles, was born May 6, 1907 and worked for Ogden Union Stockyards beginning in 1933, starting out as a clerk. By 1949 he was traffic manager of the stockyards. By October 1956, he was manager of the stockyards company. At the time of his death on August 21, 1962, at age 55, he was vice president of Ogden Union Stockyards Company.

More Information

Historic American Landscapes Survey, Ogden Union Stock Yards (HALS UT-5), completed 2014 (14 drawings, one 45-page PDF with photos)

Ogden Packing & Provisioning -- Digital images of newspaper articles covering the history of the company; became American Packing & Provisioning in 1923, and Swift in 1949.

Ogden Union Stockyards -- Photos and digital images of newspaper articles covering the history of the company.