Meat Packing Industry in Ogden
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This page was last updated on May 14, 2020.
Ogden was where UP, SP, and D&RGW interchanged livestock shipments, and was where the first large meat packing house was built. Before 1898, the meat packing facilities were small, matching the size and scale of the adjacent livestock handling facilities. The first stock pens in Ogden were jointly owned by two railroads, Oregon Short Line and Rio Grande Western. In 1898, it continued to grow until it was competing for space among the roundhouses and car shops of Union Pacific and Southern Pacific. In April 1917, a new Ogden Union Stock Yards was opened for business. Located across the Weber River west of the old stock yard, it was owned by Ogden Packing & Provision Co., which was purchased in 1924 by American Packing & Provision Co., a large interstate corporation that controlled the slaughter and sale of livestock products, mostly beef and sheep. In 1935, a federal court ordered the breakup of this monopoly, and in 1936 Ogden Union Stock yards was sold to Denver Union Stock Yards. The facility grew and continued in operation throughout the late 1950s and 1960s as trucks took over the transportation of livestock. Ogden Union Stock Yards finally closed in 1970.
In 1901, a group of smaller packing companies controlled by Lars Hansen were consolidated as the Ogden Packing company, which was reorganized in 1906 as the Ogden Packing & Provision company.
The following comes from September 20, 1916 issue of Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper
The record of other meat-packing industries located at various times in the state of Utah has been such as to show that other cities are not properly located as meat-packing centers. many of these companies have gone into bankruptcy, others have been near the verge of bankruptcy, some have voluntarily retired from the business. Plants of various kinds devoted at one time to the meat-packing business are now idle, while the Ogden Packing & Provision company's development has been constant.
The Ogden Packing & Provision company was incorporated in 1901, being a consolidation of the business conducted by Lars Hansen, now president of the large corporation, and the Ogden Packing company. S. S. Jensen, secretary and manager of the Ogden Packing & Provision company, was one of the original incorporators. Later, in 1906, the company was reorganized as the Ogden Packing & Provision company, its first building was constructed for permanent use, and the development of the industry in Utah really started.
The following comes from "The Rise and Fall of Ogden's Packing Industry" in the June 1996 issue of History Blazer, by Miriam B. Murphy:
In 1901 a group of men organized the Ogden Packing Company with a capital investment of $7,500. In 1906 the first packing plant was built. During the next decade the facility was constantly expanded until by 1917 the Ogden Packing & Provision Company, as it was then called, encompassed almost six acres or 240,650 square feet. It was reportedly the largest meat packing plant west of the Missouri River and comparable to large eastern plants in its output. The development of the packing industry in Ogden was a direct outgrowth of the Junction City's prominence as "the livestock capital of the Intermountain West. Millions of head of cattle, sheep, and hogs were bought and sold annually at the bustling Ogden Livestock Yards and processed by local slaughterhouses and packing plants."
Located at the west end of the 24th Street viaduct, Ogden Packing & Provision Company had a daily capacity in 1917 of 1,250 hogs, 1,500 sheep, and 300 cattle, numbers that could be increased with the addition of refrigeration space. The manufacturing or processing divisions of the company could handle twice that amount. In addition to fresh pork, beef, mutton, veal, and lamb, the company also produced ham, bacon, sausage, cooking compounds, lard, tallow, and by-products, including fertilizer. These products were shipped throughout the Intermountain Area and into all regions of the United States and abroad. During World War I exports to Great Britain and France enhanced company profits. In addition to its main plant in Ogden the company had [cold storage] branches in Salt Lake City, Price, Butte, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The two California facilities were new, having been completed in 1917.
To keep the operation running at capacity the company's officers worked with representatives of the livestock industry in the West and urged stock raisers to increase their herd size--especially the number of hogs. To that end they "brought brood sows into the country for distribution among the farmers and their boys." Their slogan in Utah was "Raise a Pig."
Ogden Packing & Provision claimed to employ the largest number of men and women in any single factory in Utah. Indeed, the company had expanded during World War I at a pace that R. & L. Polk's Ogden City Directory for 1917 called breathtaking. At war's end Utah's booming canneries and meat packing plants were forced to cut production as demand dropped. Not only was the government not buying as much canned goods and meat for the troops, but postwar recession was causing the average family to cut back on its purchases as well. By 1920 Ogden Packing & Provision was unable to pay its creditors. Officers and board members of the company were forced to resign and a committee of stockholders took over in an attempt to salvage the business.
The industry did recover, in part because of the continuing success of the Ogden Livestock Yards--at one time the 12th largest livestock yard in the United States. "The annual Golden Spike National Livestock Show drew so many visitors to Ogden that the Golden Spike Coliseum was constructed in 1926 at a cost of $100,000 to house it and other industry events," Murray M. Moler wrote. That same year the stockyards handled almost 1.5 million head of livestock, including sheep, hogs, cattle, and horses, and Utah packing plants produced 22 million pounds of fresh meat and meat products valued at $4 million. Some 75 carloads of meat and meat products were sent to southern California alone.
But the trucking of livestock directly from farms and ranches to feedlots and slaughter houses greatly affected Ogden's stockyards and major packing plant. The Ogden livestock yards were reduced to a weekly auction and the city's packing houses to small operations. In that they followed a nationwide trend, according to Moler. Even the fabled Chicago stockyards closed as did those in many large metropolitan centers.
Sources: "Utah's Packing Industry," Utah Payroll Builder, November 1917; Jesse S. Richards, "Ogden: Industrial, Agricultural and Livestock Center, Utah Payroll Builder, July 1927; Ogden Packing & Provision Co. Creditor's Agreement, Dated February 24, 1920, pamphlet in Utah State Historical Society collections; Murray M. Moler, "A Century in the Livestock Trade," Ogden: Junction City, ed. Richard C. Roberts and Richard W. Sadler.
"In 1901 the business interests of Lars Hansen of the Ogden Packing company were consolidated and the Ogden Packing company was incorporated with a capital of $7500. The company had no buildings and did no meat packing. It simply rented a slaughter house and did a fresh meat business. In 1906 the business had grown to such a size that a reorganization was warranted, the capital was increased, a two-story building 80 by 100 feet was erected, and the packing of hogs was commenced. It was then that the problem of getting enough hogs developed. There were only a few hogs in the local country available and hogs had to be shipped in from Nebraska regularly. This was unprofitable business, however, for hogs cost 81 cents per hundred pounds from Nebraska to Ogden, although they could be sent from the same place to Portland, Ore., for 85 cents. In 1915 ten hogs were handled to every one handled in 1907, and with the completion of the recent additions to the immense plant on lower Twenty-fourth street, the capacity for handling hogs was raised to 1250 per day, or 70 hogs now to every one killed in 1907. This capacity of 1250 has almost been reached upon several occasions in the past few months." (Ogden Standard, February 9, 1918)
December 3, 1901
Ogden Packing Company was incorporated in Weber County. Officers and directors were Frederick E. Schlageter (president, director, general manager, 56 shares); William Beckman (vice president, director, 36 shares); Lars Hansen (36 shares); Frederick Schlageter as trustee for E. Schlageter (20 shares). (Deseret Evening News, December 3, 1901)
Fred E. Schlageter was shown in an 1887 city directory of Leadville, Colorado, as owner/operator of a grocer and meat market.
January 24, 1902
Frederick E. Schlageter, president, director, general manager of Ogden Packing Company, was leading a petition drive to force strict licensing of all butchers in Ogden, especially those operating from peddling wagons. (Ogden Standard Examiner, January 24, 1902)
May 9, 1902
Ogden Packing Company was to move soon from its original location at 2245 Washington Avenue, to its new location at 300 24th Street (about midway between today's Washington Boulevard and Wall Avenue). The company was originally known as Schlageter & Beckman, and was recently incorporated as Ogden Packing Company, with members of the old firm as the largest stockholders. (Ogden Standard, May 9, 1902)
December 20, 1902
The Ogden Packing Company had its beginning in 1892, and was started by F. E. Schlageter. By December 1902, the company was established in their new location with its four-story building on 24th Street. The company shipped meats to Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Colorado. They had their own stock yard to furnish their winter supply, including keeping 1,000 head at the Logan sugar factory where the animals feed on beet pulp, stored for the purpose from each season's sugar beet harvest. (Ogden Standard, December 20, 1902)
April 10, 1903
The feed lot operation at the Logan sugar factory was being run by Lars Hansen, vice president and director of Ogden Packing Co. In addition to furnishing livestock to the packing company, Hansen also sold livestock, and had recently shipped two trainloads of live cattle to Portland. (Ogden Standard, April 10, 1903)
August 22, 1903
The shipment dressed meat in railroad refrigerator cars is considerably more cost effective than shipping live animals. It takes three railroad stock cars to ship 750 head of sheep, but only one railroad refrigerator car to ship 750 dressed carcasses. "In shipping them alive, there are larger losses and heavy expenses, such as commission, stock yard charges, feed in transit, heavy shrinkage, and also the uncertainties of the market." (Ogden Standard, August 22, 1903)
December 19, 1903
"Ogden Packing Company -- This well known firm is now entering upon its tenth year of business. It started on a capital of nearly nothing, but through careful management they have succeeded in building up one of the largest enterprises of its kind in the State. The past year they have slaughtered over 8,000 head of beef cattle besides a corresponding number of hogs, sheep and calves. A large proportion of this has been shipped to various parts of Utah and to Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. They have some large contracts for meat supplies for railway construction companies, notably the Central Pacific Reconstruction company and the Utah Construction company. The C. P. Reconstruction Co. have been and are at the present time purchasing their meats from them for their work as far west as Fenelon, Nev. At the present time they are supplying the Utah Construction Co. with their meats for their contract in southern Nevada on the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railroad. These two companies are paying them thousands of dollars each month, which in return is paid out to the farmers and stock men in this region, leaving the money at home and helping to build up the country." (Ogden Standard, December 19, 1903)
February 10, 1906
The Ogden Packing & Provision Company filed its articles of incorporation with the Secretary of State on "Saturday." (February 10). The company's president, F. E. Schlageter, had gone to Los Angeles to inspect the operations of the Cudahy plant to determine the plans and designs that would be needed for a new plant in Ogden. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 12, 1906)
February 13, 1906
The Ogden Packing & Provision Company formally took over the assets and property of the previous Ogden Packing Company. (Deseret Evening News, February 13, 1906)
Ogden Packing Co. purchased eight acres south of 30th Street, at Pacific Avenue, opposite of the shops of Utah Construction Company. The site was to be used for new building and stock yard for the company. Railroad spurs would be built by Union Pacific and Oregon Short Line to serve the new building, which would have a capacity to slaughter, dress and store 700 head of cattle, 4,000 head of sheep, and 5,000 hogs each month. Refrigeration facilities would be provided to store the product for up to 90 days. A fleet of railroad refrigerator cars would be leased from the Harriman lines to move the finished product to Western and Eastern markets. Transporting dressed meat was to be considerably cheaper than shipping live animals, with three carloads of live sheep and lambs being reduced to just one carload of dressed mutton. (Ogden Standard, February 3, 1906)
February 21, 1906
The plans for a new location at 30th Street and Pacific Avenue were apparently set aside because Ogden Packing company was unable to persuade the railroads to move their stock yards from the west end of 24th Street, to the company's planned site on 30th Street. Such a move would have ensured the packing company of a monopoly by default for the movement of all livestock from the north and west of Ogden, with large numbers being slaughtered and dressed for shipment to the east in railroad refrigerator cars, rather than as livestock in railroad stock cars. The company planned on contracting the service of a contractor by the name of Page, who had considerable experience in building packing houses. But Page was busy with a Los Angeles contract and would not be available in time to start the new facility for the new Ogden Packing & Provision company. (Ogden Standard, February 21, 1906)
April 20, 1906
Excavation for the foundation of the new Ogden Packing & Provision building had started. The new three-story building was being built north of 24th Street and west of the stockyards. The plans were drawn up by Wilder and Davis of Chicago. (Ogden Standard, April 19, 1906)
October 22, 1906
The Ogden Packing & Provision building was completed and the first lot of cattle and sheep had been butchered as a test of the new facility. Production would not begin until the federal inspector arrived. (Ogden Standard, October 22, 1906; "this morning")
October 23, 1906
The federal inspector arrived and began his arrangements to inspect the production of Ogden Packing & Provision. Production was expected to start "this week." (Ogden Standard, October 25, 1906)
Ogden Packing company started operations at its plant at Ogden. (Salt Lake Herald, December 27, 1908, "a year and a half ago")
The following comes from the September 27, 1907 issue of the Salt Lake Tribune:
There is but one packing house in Utah now running that has government inspectors inspect and pass upon the product of the establishment. This is the Ogden Packing and Provision company in Ogden. When the new plant in Davis county, just over the line from Salt Lake county, begins work it no doubt will use government inspectors, as it will do an interstate business.
The plant of the Ogden company is the largest of its kind in Utah, or in the surrounding States except Colorado. The plant has a capital of $250,000. The capacity is 1000 hogs, 250 cattle, 500 sheep, and 3000 pounds of lard daily. Of the product, two cars a week are sent to Salt Lake. The remainder goes to Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho points. The trade with the last named State is increasing rapidly. This plant, one of the big industries of the State, is equipped with all modern conveniences for the quick handling of meat and meat products. Its cold storage plant provides for storing 750 cattle, 100 hogs, and 500 sheep.
The bulk of the hogs come from Utah and Idaho. F. E. Schlageter, manager of the plant, is authority for the statement that the States named, Utah and Idaho, will soon be a great hog country. This statement sounds odd in view that most people regard Utah in particular as a mining State, and yet Utah was the first State to turn the waters of the mountain streams and lakes upon the sandy waste through irrigating flumes and ditches and make of the fertile valleys vast gardens. Of coarse Utah and Idaho hogs will not be corn fed hogs, but what is better and which gives the meat a better flavor while the fat will equal that of corn, the swine will be pea fed. Peas grow to perfection in both States and the swine not only eat the pea but also the vine or bush. Colorado now fattens all her swine upon peas grown in the southern portion of the State.
Utah raises hogs now, as does Idaho. On January 1 of this year Utah had 58,984 head of hogs, with a farm value of $442,380, an average of $7.50 per head, while Idaho had 122,950 head worth $983.488, or an average of $8 per head. Few persons know that the two States contained hogs worth one and a half million dollars. From now on the receipts of hogs at the packing plant will be heavier and with the new plants erected, and to be erected, in Utah the raising of hogs will constantly grow and Mr. Schlageter will no doubt live to see his prophesy come true that this will he a hog producing State.
Cattle for the packing plants come from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming. and some from Nevada. The Hanier Live Stock company, of Logan, which feeds 10,000 head every year, is drawn upon largely for cattle.
April 11, 1909
The previous manager and president and majority stockholder of Ogden Packing Co., and manager of Ogden Packing & Provision Co., F. E. Schlageter, had just returned from an extended stay in Southern California. He had sold his stock and interest in Ogden Packing & Provision to James Pingree "some time ago," and had returned to the Salt Lake City and Ogden area. There were rumors that he would start a new packing company. (Ogden Morning Examiner, April11, 1909) (In January 1913, Schlageter was shown as having moved to Los Angeles, and being connected with the Union Stock yards in Los Angeles.)
January 22, 1911
Due to a shortage of hogs in Utah, Ogden Packing & Provision was buying hogs in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska and shipping them to Ogden. (Des Moines Register, January 22, 1911)
(The Inter-Mountain Packing Co. at the Salt Lake Union Stock Yards in North Salt, was forced to close in May 1910 due to the shortage of hogs. The plant remained closed until it was sold to Cudahy in 1916, remodeled and reopened in April 1917.)
April 23, 1914
Ogden Packing & Provision started excavation work for an addition to its Ogden packing plant. The company had announced its plans to double the size of its operations in January. (Ogden Standard, April 24, 1914, "yesterday")
Men and teams began excavating yesterday for a building 80 by 100 feet to be erected by the Ogden Packing & Provision company as an annex to the present packing plant, across the viaduct on West Twenty-fourth street.
The structure will be between 50 and 60 feet high, which is the height of an ordinary four-story building, but there will be only two floors, the top to be devoted to killing and the first floor to refrigeration. In the basement will be the pickling vats.
New machinery is to be placed, including a hog scraper, casing machine, and oleo stock equipment.
When completed, the annex will double the capacity of the packing plant and permit of the handling of 250 beeves, or 1500 sheep, or 1000 hogs daily.
The building is to be erected on the river side of the present establishment and calls for an outlay of $25.000 to $30.000. Concrete and brick will be used.
June 5, 1914
The contract for the new building structure of Ogden Packing company had been awarded to Villadson Brothers Construction of Salt Lake City. (Ogden Standard, June 5, 1914)
March 7, 1916
Ogden Packing & Provision announced that it would add an addition to its building, measuring 100 feet by 100 feet, larger than its existing plant. (Logan Republican, March 9, 1916)
Modern stock yards will be built on the 70 acres of ground west of the company's plant, across Weber river. Additions to the local plant include an "L" building 100 feet by 100 feet, which will be larger than the present building. The capacity of the plant be increased three fold in the output of pork products.
It is expected that an architect will be here from Chicago sometime this week to plan the new building Work on the stockyards is to begin before the end of the week. The entire area will be covered with concrete floors as a sanitary measure and the latest improvements will be made part of the enclosures.
When completed the packing houses and yards will give employment to 500 persons, preparing meats for the market. Stock buyers, representing all the large packers in the United States, will make this their headquarters. It is anticipated that within the next two years 1000 persons will be employed and street cars will be run in the district of the plant.
The plant's capacity will be increased to provide for the slaughtering and dressing of 1000 hogs, 1500 sheep and 300 cattle each working duty. This amount of stock means that 47 cars will be required daily and a corresponding amount of dressed meats will be sent out. The new building will have five stories with annexes. One department will be devoted entirely to hogs.
March 27, 1916
A separate Union Stock Yards company was incorporated to build the stock yards across the river (west) from the existing packing plant. (Ogden Standard, March 27, 1916)
May 13, 1916
Plans for the new addition to the packing plant of Ogden Packing & Provision had been received and approved by the company's board of directors. Work was to start as soon as possible, and was to be completed by October 1st. (Ogden Standard, May 13, 1916, with illustration of new plant)
(A large photo of the under-construction addition was published in the September 18, 1916 issue of Ogden Standard)
(Several photos on two pages were published in the September 20, 1916 issue of Ogden Standard)
October 10, 1916
Work was well under way on the new addition for the Ogden Packing & Provision packing plant. The new tank house was completed, allowing the old tank house to be demolished and new construction to be started on that part of the site. Completion was planned for November 1st. The concrete piers for the bridge were almost completed across the Weber River, connecting the new stock yards with the packing plant. (Ogden Standard, October 10, 1916)
February 12, 1917
The corporation papers are to be amended to increase the capital stock from $1 million to $2 million, so that the company "may engage in various industrial lines allied with the packing business, including the operation of railroad facilities and refrigerator cars. These changes in the incorporation papers foreshadow the eventual development of several by-products industries." "During the past year, the Ogden Packing & Provision company has built and equipped additions which more than double the previous capacity of the packing house. This increase is such that the plant will have a daily capacity for handling 300 bead of cattle, 1500 head of sheep and 1,260 hogs." "Portions of the addition have already been occupied by the company, and the remainder will be put into use during February." (Ogden Standard, February 12, 1917)
April 13, 1917
The new addition, with its 130,000 square feet of space, was dedicated solely to the pork division of the company. The older sections of the plant were turned over to the cattle (beef) and sheep (mutton) divisions, and the first pork production were begun "today." "With the completion of the pork packing building, the Ogden Packing & Provision company is now operating the largest meat packing house west of Omaha with a capacity for handling 1,250 hogs, 1,600 sheep and 300 cattle." (Ogden Standard, April 13, 1917)
January 2, 1923
Ogden Packing & Provision Company controlled 5/6 (83 percent) of the stock of Ogden Union Stock Yards company. (Ogden Standard, January 2, 1923)
February 20, 1923
The Ogden Packing & Provision Company was reorganized as the American Packing & Provision Company, and the new corporation was filed with the Secretary of State of Utah on February 20, 1923. The reorganization was approved by a meeting of the stockholders on January 25, 1923. (Ogden Standard, January 26, 1923; February 21, 1923)
February 28, 1923
During 1922, the Ogden Packing & Provision company produced 25 million pounds of meat. A total of 14,000 head of cattle, 68,000 head of hogs and 10,000 head of sheep were killed during the year. There were five divisions within the company: cold storage and shipping; fresh meat; pork packing; stock yards; and fertilizer. The pork packing division is the largest in the company, producing hams, bacon, lard, sausages, frankfurters, and salted and pickled meats. Cured meats and lard comprise about 50 percent of the total production. Of the fresh meats, about 75 percent is sold throughout the Intermountain territory. In spite of the company's efforts to encourage the local raising of hogs, more than half of the hogs killed at the plant are shipped in from eastern states. (Ogden Standard, February 28, 1923)
July 15, 1924
To satisfy a suit filed in federal court by a committee of creditors, the American Packing & Provision company was sold to a syndicate of eight Ogden businessmen, as the result of a plan to refinance the company. The reported price paid included $300,000 in cash and $600,000 in bonds. Included in the assets of the company were the entire property where the packing plant was located in West Ogden, along with the entire capitol stock of the Ogden Union Stock Yards company, and two parcels of land in Los Angeles and San Francisco purchased as the result of a failed planned expansion into the West Coast markets. (Ogden Standard, July 15, 1924, "today")
January 13, 1928
"Between 65,000 and 70,000 hogs are slaughtered at the plant each year, of which 80 per cent are shipped in from other parts of the country. Upwards of 50,000 head of cattle, lambs and veal were butchered and shipped to the western and eastern parts of the United States. The major portion of the meats that are packed at the plant are consumed in the Intermountain territory. This company does a strictly wholesale business." (Ogden Standard Examiner, January 13, 1928)
May 12, 1929
"The annual volume of business of this company is between $3,500,000 and $4,000,000. About 15,000 head of cattle, 70,000 hogs and 8,000 sheep are slaughtered each year to create this volume. Of the finished products two and a half to three tons of sausage and about five tons of smoked meats are produced every working day, and the lard department produces about 100 tons of lard and other cooking fats each month." (Ogden Standard Examiner, May 12, 1929)
During the early 1940s, the "Big Four" of meat packing in the nation were Swift & Company, Armour & Company, Wilson & Company, and Cudahy Packing Company. The government's Office of Price Administration issued an order to 115 meat packing companies to prevent evasion of forthcoming price regulations. (Ogden Standard Examiner, September 4, 1942)
February 13, 1947
American Packing & Provision company announced a new four-story addition measuring 40 feet by 100 feet, to be devoted almost solely to cooling facilities. The addition was reported as costing $115,000. (Ogden Standard Examiner, February 13, 1947)
"Approval by the Civilian Production Administration of an application by the American Packing and Provision Co. for erection of a $115,000 addition to the present plant was hailed Wednesday by Ernie W. Fallentine, general manager, as the forerunner of great expansion of the packing industry in Ogden. The new building, of brick structure, will consist of four stories and a basement. The full construction program, which will be spread over one or two years, according to how rapidly permission for building can be obtained, probably will cost $250,000, with an additional $50,000 or more for equipment and machinery." (Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 1947)
"A $300,000 expansion program at the Ogden plant of the American Packing & Provision Co. today was announced by E. W. Fallentine, vice president and general manager. The company's new building program calls for additional cooler space to increase the efficiency of the present plant and to increase the number of animal units handled; the building of a sheep unit, which will increase the slaughter of lambs from 1000 to 10,000 a week, and construction of a storage unit for handling supplies, cans, boxes, casings and labels used at the plant." (Deseret News, February 13, 1947)
June 27, 1949
The lease of the packing plant of American Packing & Provision company, by Swift & Company, took effect. (Ogden Standard Examiner, June 26, 1949)
March 4, 1970
During 1969 Swift & Company had 375 employees at its Ogden location. The local wages and local expenditures by Swift pumped $34 million into the local economy. Beef and pork produced by Swift was used locally, while the lamb products were shipped to the east and west coast markets. The Ogden location was also the only facility between Omaha and the West coast that produced adhesives. (Ogden Standard Examiner, March 4, 1970; April 26, 1970)
May 17, 1970
Swift announced that it would close its packing plant and adhesive manufacturing operation on November 14, 1970. The Ogden closure was one of 40 plant closures as Swift & Company consolidated its meat processing operations down to what the company called its modern and streamlined, and centrally located "meat factories," and away from the wide variety of meat packing locations closer to the producers in the rural areas. In the case of Swift in Ogden, the nearest and new meat processing site was the recently opened location in Stockton, California, which was accepting livestock shipments by rail and by truck from all over the West. (Ogden Standard Examiner, May 17, 1970; May 18, 1970)
November 14, 1970
Swift & Company closed its Ogden plant on November 14, 1970.
December 18, 1970
After the local Chamber of Commerce was unable to find a buyer for the Swift plant that would carry on the meat packing business, Swift shut off the power and the heat, and notified other Swift locations to begin removal of needed equipment. (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 18, 1970)
January 29, 1971
The Ogden Union Stock Yards, located adjacent to the Swift & Company packing plant, shut down its operations, in part due to the closure of the Swift plant the previous November. (Ogden Standard Examiner, January 18, 1971)
February 17, 1971
"An Ogden businessman has purchased the Swift & Co. packing facilities in West Ogden. Bert Smith, operator of Smith & Edwards Co. in Pleasant View, purchased the 52-year-old plant for a price reportedly less than $250,000. Mr. Smith said he is seeking a new tenant for the building, primarily a light manufacturing firm. He said he also will "exhaust all possibilities" of getting a meat packing operation in the facility but considered this only a dim possibility. "The strict federal government regulations almost precludes continuing a meat packing operation in the plant," Mr. Smith said. Mr. Smit also considers the facility ideal for cold storage but prefers a light manufacturing operation because it will create more jobs. The plant is located on a 7.5 acre site in West Ogden alongside the river. The building has one six-story wing and a five-story section covering a total of about 2.5 acres. Swift & Co. discontinued operating the plant last Nov. 14." (Ogden Standard Examiner, February 17, 1971)
(Albert Newell "Bert" Smith, died on March 31, 2016, at age 95.)
The Swift building and surrounding other buildings were used to store a wide variety of war surplus items, along with providing storage as a commercial business. After many years of partial vacancy and slow deterioration, the former Swift & Company plant in Ogden was sold to Ogden City in late 2017. Demolition of the building, at a reported cost of over $800,000, began in December 2019, and continued through May 2020.
"The city bought the Swift property in 2017 from Utah-Smith, an business entity connected to Bert Smith, the late founder of local retailer Smith and Edwards Co. The city has long sought to redevelop the land, but the work was delayed after the discovery of a large quantity of chemical materials stored inside the building. The Environmental Protection Agency began cleaning the site in late March and wrapped up the project a little more than a month ago." (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 20, 2019)
By the end of its life in the 1990s as a storage building, the Swift building became an environmental nightmare. After Ogden City purchased the property in 2017, an inspection soon found many, many "Yikes" situations throughout the structure and the site itself. The federal EPA was called in and their assessment teams found over 98,000 containers of unknown materials, from small pint-sized containers to thousands of 55-gallon drums of a wide variety of chemicals that should not have been stored in close proximity to each other. There was lots of really scary stuff, just sitting there, leaking all over the floors of the five-story building. In March 2019 the federal EPA began its cleanup, which was completed in November 2019. There are several web pages at EPA.gov documenting what was done. It's a good thing that the place was cleaned up and made safe, and is now being demolished. Bert Smith, of Smith & Edwards, bought the building in 1971. Smith was a strong "Constitutionalist" and was very leery of anyone showing any interest in what he saw as his property and his business, and strongly discouraged any questions or research concerning the building. The time for historical documentation is long gone.
The following comes from the federal EPA's description of the site of the Swift building:
The Ogden Swift Building sits on the banks of the Weber River in Ogden, Utah. The facility was formerly a meat packing plant. It was eventually sold to a private business which used it to store surplus military items (including chemicals). A portion of the building was also leased to a chemical manufacturer which went bankrupt, leaving its inventory behind. The Site is currently owned by the City of Ogden and is being considered for re-development.
In 2018, an EPA Targeted Brownfields Assessment was conducted on behalf of the City of Ogden at the Site. This assessment documented more than 40,000 abandoned containers of chemicals including flammables, corrosives, toxic substances, water reactives, potential explosives and other dangerous chemicals.
The Site was referred to EPA's Emergency Response Unit. The City of Ogden granted EPA access to the property on March 19, 2019 and EPA initiated response operations on March 29, 2019.
During the EPA cleanup, and to allow safe access for disposal of the hazardous materials, approximately 4,000 cubic yards of non-hazardous debris and metal scrap were removed and disposed of by Ogden City.
Although not specifically a customer of railroads, the Utah By-Products plant in Ogden was a major presence in the Ogden yards, due mostly to the strong smell that always lingered in the air. The plant was originally located adjacent to Ogden Union Stock Yards, on the east side of the Weber River, just north of American Packing & Provision's plant, which became Swift in 1949. The company later moved to occupy the plant of the former Utah Canning Company, just south of Union Pacific's roundhouse. The company's business was the rendering [processing] of animal hides, pelts and furs, as well as sheep wool. The company also advertised the prompt removal of dead animals.
Utah By-Products was originally known as Colorado Animal By-Products of Utah, which changed its name to Utah By-Products Company in January 1945. At the time, their main office was in Salt Lake City at 463 South 3rd West, but they had locations in Ogden, Spanish Fork, Heber, Garland and Logan. The Ogden location was immediately north of American Packing & Provision's plant. (Ogden Standard Examiner, January 1, 1945, ad; Salt Lake Tribune, January 2, 1945, "announced Monday")
The location in Ogden for Colorado Animal By-Products north of American Packing & Provision (Swift after 1949) was shown in newspaper advertisements as early as June 1930, but not as early as October 1929. (Davis County Clipper, October 25, 1929; Salt Lake Telegram, June 4, 1930)
Utah By-Products moved from its location north of the Swift plant, to a new site at 2915 Pacific Avenue, just south of the Union Pacific roundhouse, following a building permit being issued for that location in July 1965. The permit was reported as having a value of $76,000 ($588,000 in 2017 dollars). (Ogden Standard Examiner, July 13, 1965)
The move to 2915 Pacific Avenue was complete by early August 1966, when complaints started before the Ogden City Council concerning the strong and obnoxious odors coming from the plant. (Ogden Standard Examiner, August 7, 1966, "Odor Causes Big Stink")
Aerial photos of the period show that by April 1966, the large warehouse with "Utah Canning Co." lettered across the top of its east face, was demolished and removed at about this same time.
By July 1973, Utah Animal By-Products Co., already a division of Beatrice Foods, had become Colorado-Utah-Idaho International (CUI International). (Ogden Standard Examiner, July 5, 1973)
In August 1977, just as the company and Ogden City were working toward an out-of-court settlement concerning complaints of obnoxious odors and public nuisance, CUI International advised Ogden City that within a week it would submit "a plan of orderly withdrawal" from Ogden City, and "move out." (Provo Daily Herald, August 26, 1977)