Union Stock Yards
The Union Stock Yard & Transit Co., or The Yards, was the meatpacking district in Chicago for more than a century, starting in 1865. The district was operated by a group of railroad companies that acquired swampland and turned it to a centralized processing area. By the 1890s, the railroad money behind the Union Stockyards was Vanderbilt money. The Union Stock Yards operated in the New City Community Area 61 for 106 years, helping Chicago become known as "hog butcher for the world" and the center of the American meatpacking industry for decades.
The stockyards became the focal point of the rise of some of the earliest international companies. These companies refined novel industrial innovations and influenced financial markets. Both the rise and fall of the district owe their fortunes to the evolution of transportation services and technology in America. The stockyards have become an integral part of the popular culture of Chicago's history.
From the Civil War until the 1920s and peaking in 1924, more meat was processed in Chicago than in any other place in the world. Construction began in June 1865 with an opening on Christmas Day in 1865. The Yards closed at midnight on Friday, July 30, 1971, after several decades of decline during the decentralization of the meatpacking industry. The Union Stock Yard Gate was designated a Chicago Landmark on Thursday, February 24, 1972, and a National Historic Landmark on Friday, May 29, 1981.