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Salt Lake Union Stock Yards

This page was last updated on December 31, 2017.

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The Salt Lake stock yards were first built in 1891 near Beck's Hot Springs (just south of today's Chevron oil refinery), and expanded in 1896 when they were purchased by the Kansas City Stock Yards company. In 1901 the stockyards were moved about two miles north, across the Salt Lake-Davis county line to a 300-acre plot that was served by OSL, RGW and Bamberger by way of a joint trackage agreement. The existing railroad siding was known as St. Joseph.

The site was adjacent to a point that OSL and RGW tracks were very close to each other (today's Center Street in North Salt Lake) and was already served by a Bamberger spur because it was the site of the first Salt Lake City dump. Bamberger provided service to the city dump as a shuttle from a wagon dump at 1000 North in Salt Lake City, adjacent to its tracks that also served the city gravel beds.

The Salt Lake Union Stockyards was one of two locations in Utah (Ogden was the other) that originated large-scale livestock movements in Utah. Cedar City was the only other location in Utah with 20 or more pens for stock loading. Salt Lake City had 168 pens, and Ogden had 570 pens.


October 17, 1890
The first Salt Lake Union Stock Yards company was incorporated. To be located 1-1/4 mile north of Beck's Hot Springs. The corporation was filed on January 22, 1891. (Salt Lake Herald, January 2, 1891; January 23, 1891, "yesterday")

The first commercial stock yards in Salt Lake City were built. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 6, 1916)

May 11, 1895
The assets and property of the Salt Lake Union Stock Yards company were sold at sheriff's forclosure auction. (Salt Lake Herald, May 12, 1895, "yesterday")

June 7, 1896
"The live-stock industries have an interesting history and will sooner or later command much more of a commercial rating than they do today. The chief industry of her rural inhabitants has been, and necessarily will be for some time to come, live-stock. A goodly percentage of the live-stock is grown in small herds, especially the cattle. A prominent buyer told me that every small farmer produced a few head of well bred cattle. This means more for the general prosperity of the State than the maintenance of big ranches. One noticeable feature in the live-stock industry is swine-breeding. Enough hogs are grown here now to supply the State with fresh and cured meats. Local packers at Salt Lake City have practically shut out the Eastern packers. The Utah Packing company quotes locally beef steers, cows, sheep and hogs." (Salt Lake Tribune, June 7, 1896)

March 14, 1906
A new Union Stock Yards company was organized to build adjacent to the new Utah Packing company's plant north of the Davis County line. (Salt Lake Telegram, March 14, 1906)

May 7, 1916
The new Salt Lake Stock Yards company was located on 246 acres just north of the Davis County line, and had been receiving and handling 100 railroad cars of sheep daily. "During the present season, we have handled 1500 cars of hogs." (Salt Lake Telegram, May 7, 1916)

October 1, 1916
Salt Lake Union Stock Yards completed a new stock yards on or about October 1, 1916. The old stock yards were closed "about a year ago" and construction started on the new stock yards in April 1916.

November 15, 1916
The name of Salt Lake Stock Yards company was changed to Salt Lake Union Stock Yards company. (Ogden Standard, November 16, 1916, "yesterday")

December 12, 1916
"The Salt Lake Union Stock Yards have just recently announced the completion of their new stock yards at Salt Lake City, with a capacity of 20,000 sheep; 2,000 cattle and 5,000 hogs. Patrons of the yards and stockmen from the east pronounce them the most complete in every respect ever built. Concrete floors throughout the pens and alleyways, concrete (car level) unloading dock, artesian water in all pens, covered sheep and hog pens are the main features." (Logan Republican, December 12, 1916)

In 1925, the Salt Lake Union Stockyards held the eighth annual Intermountain Livestock Show. (Iron County Record, April 10, 1925, page 7, "News Notes From All Parts of Utah")

Back in 1989 a co-worker overheard some comments I made about my interest in Utah railroads, and related to me his own experiences. The following is the result. (Information from Glen D. Lowe, July 12, 1989. Glen worked in the stockyards during the summers of 1952 and 1953.):

Glen Lowe's uncle Joe Magelby, with his son "Bud" (real name Gale?) had a contract for cleaning and sanding of stock cars at Salt Lake Union Stockyards until the stockyards were closed in 1976. Then Bud Magelby moved to Las Vegas and took the contract for watering at Dry Lake, Nevada.

  • 15 to 20 cars were sanded per day
  • One to three cars per day were cleaned and disinfected
  • Two to three inches of sand was added each time until six to eight inches had accumulated, then car was cleaned
  • Two tracks were used as sand tracks, with piles of sand between them
  • Most cars were two decks, the three deck cars were just starting to be used
  • Glen's dad worked for UP at Salt Lake City as a hostler helper from about 1941/1942 to his death in 1962

UP's movement of hogs is covered in the June 1988 issue of CTC Board magazine, called "All Aboard Hamtrak" by Mark Wayman.

Other Information

The following information comes from abstract searches in the Davis County Recorder's Office.

-- Union Stock Yards Company, July 1906

-- Utah Packing Company, February 1907 -- located in T1N, R1W, section 11

-- Cudahy Packing Company of Nebraska, October 1916 -- located in T1N, R1W, sections 2 and 11; Book of Deeds, pages C302, E101, 292

-- Salt Lake Union Stock Yards, Nov 1916 -- located in T2N, R1W, section 26, SE quarter; Book of Deeds, page E113

-- Salt Lake Union Stock Yards to Cudahay, May 1917 -- located in T1N, R1W, section 2, SE quarter; Book of Deeds, page C302