This Day in Texas History: Fort Worth Stockyards Incorporated
This Day in Texas History:
Fort Worth Stockyards Incorporated
March 23, 1893
On this day in 1893, the Fort Worth Stock Yards were officially incorporated. The Fort Worth livestock market became the largest in Texas and the Southwest, the biggest market south of Kansas City, and consistently ranked between third and fourth among the nation’s large terminal livestock markets for five decades, from about 1905 to the mid-1950s.
When the Texas and Pacific Railway arrived in Fort Worth in 1876, promoters built pens to hold cattle, but business leaders were already dreaming of packing plants and stockyards to make their community a permanent focus of the cattle industry. By 1886 four stockyards had been built near the railroads.
Boston capitalist Greenleif W. Simpson, with a half dozen Boston and Chicago associates, incorporated the Fort Worth Stock Yards Company and purchased the Union Stock Yards and the Fort Worth Packing Company in 1893. In 1896 the company began a fat-stock show that has survived to the present as one of the largest livestock shows in the nation, the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.
An agreement with Armour and Swift brought in two of the nation’s largest meatpackers, who constructed modern plants adjacent to the stockyards. By 1936 Texas had become the largest-producing state for both cattle and sheep, with Fort Worth as the industry’s hub.
The stockyards began to decline in the 1950s as the industry became more decentralized, and today the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is primarily a tourist attraction.