Salt Lake Union Stock Yards
This page was last updated on November 22, 2019.
Research suggests that there were three locations of what was known as the "Union Stock Yards." From 1891 to 1906, the site was "1-1/4 mile north of the Hot Springs," putting them about where today's I-215 crosses the Union Pacific tracks, with the hot springs being under the west approach of the Beck Street overpass of I-15. The exact east-west site is not known, but being adjacent to the railroad mainlines is not mentioned.
From 1906 to 1916, the site was "3-3/4 miles north of the central depots," and adjacent to the railroad mainlines, putting them at the site of today's Big West Oil/Flying J refinery.
From 1916, until the closing of the yards in 1976, the site was a half mile farther north, north of today's Center Street. This third location was at the existing railroad siding known as St. Joseph, and the yards themselves were served by OSL, RGW and Bamberger by way of a joint trackage agreement.
The site was adjacent to a point where OSL (UP) 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 spur 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. 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.
September 25, 1890
The "Union Stock Yards Company of Salt Lake City" was organized and its articles of incorporation were approved. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 26, 1890, "last evening")
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 with the Salt Lake County Clerk on October 17, 1890, and again on January 22, 1891. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1891; Salt Lake Herald, January 2, 1891; January 23, 1891)
The directors of the company included R. C. Chambers, J. E. Dooly, George A. Lowe, H. S. Woolley, and J. W. Rodefer, who also held controlling majority of the shares of the company as trustee. The principal place of business "is just over the line in Davis county," on 205 acres already owned by the company. (Salt Lake Herald, October 18, 1890, "yesterday")
November 22, 1890
The following comes from the November 22, 1890 issue of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper:
The Salt Lake Stock Yards. -- The stock yards scheme for Salt Lake city bids fair to be consummated and is being pushed with commendable enterprise. There are over one hundred and twenty incorporators, including major Omaha, Kansas City and Chicago capitalists, as well as Salt Lake business men. The plans for the new yards have been prepared by Superintendent Childs, of the Kansas City Union stock yards, and cover about twenty-five acres, including buildings, stables, yards and sheds for the handling of cattle, sheep, hogs and horses. The exchange building, which includes the office of the stock yard company, offices for the various commission firms, probably a bank, etc., has a frontage of about one hundred and thirty feet, is two stories in height and has a depth of fifty feet. The present plan also contemplates a hotel and restaurant separate from the exchange building. No reason exists why a large and profitable cattle trade should not be built up at Sait Lake, where the business of Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah can be concentrated.— Denver News.
The first commercial stock yards in Salt Lake City were built. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 6, 1916)
January 2, 1891
The site selected for the new union stock yards was on 300 acres located 1-1/4 mile north of Beck's Hot Springs. (Salt Lake Herald, January 2, 1891; February 8, 1891)
September 13, 1891
There was a bit of protesting because the contractor hired to complete the grading for the new stock yards, had completed the work, had received a check for the completed work, then promptly left town without paying his 33 workers. (Salt Lake Herald, September 13, 1891)
November 20, 1891
Due to financial difficulties, the Kansas City Stock Yards company rescued the Salt Lake City company's original stockholders, by coming forward with sufficient funds to pay the first interest payment due on the latter company's bonds, in the amount of $47,000. The Kansas City company was already involved by its superintendent, H. P. Childs, having provided the plans for the Salt Lake City company's stock yards. Contracts had been entered into between the stock yards company and the railroads for the construction of the needed tracks serving the stock yards. (Salt Lake Herald, November 20, 1891)
November 29, 1891
Land for the stockyrads had been cleared, and over 3,000 feet of railroad track had been laid. Lumber for the construction was to begin arriving "this week." (Salt Lake Tribune, November 29, 1891)
December 10, 1891
Forty men were at work on the new stock yards, and $9,000 had been spent in the previous month. (Salt Lake Herald, December 10, 1891)
June 1, 1892
The Union Stock Yards were announced as being completed and open for business. (Salt Lake Herald, June 1, 1892)
June 4, 1892
The first shipment of cattle passed through the Salt Lake stock yards, in the form of 20 cars on the Rio Grande Western, loaded at Green River and en route to Halleck, Nevada. (Deseret Weekly, June 4, 1892)
August 20, 1892
Union Pacific and Rio Grande Western issued their first joint traffic circular for cattle shipments to and from Salt Lake City Union Stock Yards, announcing that the stock yards were open for business. (Salt Lake Times, August 20, 1892)
The Union Stockyards and the Utah Slaughtering company were operating in a close and adjoining relationship, with carloads of cattle and hogs being shipped to the stockyards, consigned to Utah Salughtering company.
May 11, 1895
The assets and property of the Salt Lake Union Stock Yards company were sold at sheriff's forclosure auction. The sale was to satisfy the unpaid interest from the 1891 $50,000 mortgage and funding provided by Morse and Richardson, who were also principals of the Kansas City Stock Yards company. The interest had been due on January 1, 1893. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 13, 1895; 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)
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.
February 12, 1906
The following comes from the February 10, 1906 issue of Deseret Evening News:
The Union Stock Yards company was organized in 1901 (sic: 1891), capitalized at $250,000. R. C. Chambers was its first president. One hundred and fifty thousand dollars of the capital was paid in, and a site of 300 acres in Davis county, just outside the Salt Lake City boundary line, was acquired at a cost of $80,000. the sum of $75,000 was spent additionally in the construction of yards, having capacity and facilities for feeding and watering 5,000 cattle and 1,000 horses daily; and sheds for about the same number of sheep and hogs were also built on plans furnished by the Kansas City Stock Yards company. teh shedded yards were floored, and the whole plant drained with a 16-inch sewer system, as well as piped for water supplied by a series of strong artesian wells developed adjacent to its property by the yards company.
The plant as built about 15 years ago was one of the most complete, capacious and convenient for arrangement, as well as capably constructed, to be found west of the Missouri river, but its location lacked convenience from the killer's point of view and the former owners have found it impossible to assemble about the old location the slaughtering interests of the city, or induce the erection of a packing plant in the absense of desirable transportation facilities.
Leary and Warren have conducted the property as public stock yards for 11 years [since 1895], on lease with an option of purchase, and within the past week have taken up this option, buying the yards and entire property outright from the Kansas City Stock Yards company into whos possession it passed 10 years ago through foreclosure proceedings under deed of trust.
The new owners will remove the yards to adjoin the site of the new packing house, bringing them a mile and a half nearer town and directly upon the main lines of the D.&R.G., O.S.L and Bamberger railways.
The removal of the yards to the new site will commence as soon as the packing house construction is well under way, and the enlargements and improvements planned by Leary and Warren, will involve an expenditure of $150,000." "Within the next 60 days a stock yards company will be incorporated which will take over the Leary and Warren interests, the latter retaining control of ownership and continuing the conduct of the business.
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. 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. (Information from Glen D. Lowe, July 12, 1989. Glen worked in the stockyards during the summers of 1952 and 1953.).
- 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
June 9, 1967
The Salt Lake Union Stock Yards was reorganized as the North Salt Lake Livestock Company. The new company was a "feed-in-transit business, continuing what had been the operation of the Salt Lake Union Stock Yards Co." (Davis County Clipper, June 9, 1967)
Salt Lake Union Stock Yards were closed, although direct feedlot sales continued at North Salt Lake until after the end of 1977.
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