The history of the Stockyards is deeply tied to Texas cattle history.
Fort Worth, Texas is known as the town “where the West begins,” and if you’re talking about the West and Texas cattle history, you couldn’t be more accurate. Fort Worth is the home of the Stockyards. Many would argue that beef cattle and cattle drives put the West on the map, and the Stockyards and Fort Worth played a pivotal role in the development of cattle history in Texas. Discover how Fort Worth’s Texas cattle history was impacted by the Stockyards, below.
Texas Cattle History and the Stockyards
Fort Worth started off as a U.S. Army post in the mid-1800s after the Mexican-American War. It quickly gained prominence as the last stop on the famous Chisholm Trail—the main trail drovers would take driving cattle from Texas heading north to Kansas rail lines. It was the last chance drovers and cowboys in Texas would have to buy supplies and enjoy “civilization” before heading into ‘Indian Territory’ and many miles of rivers and rough terrain.
According to the website of the Stockyards Museum, between 1866 and 1890 over four million head of cattle were driven through Fort Worth on Texas cattle drives. So many cattle were driven through Fort Worth that it was soon referred to as “Cowtown.”
In 1876, the railroads arrived in Fort Worth, creating a shipping point for livestock that, prior to, would have to be taken by cattle drives much further north to be shipped back East. In 1887, construction of the Union Stockyards began, and it was up and running by 1889.
By the 1900s, local cattle businessmen began to help develop the area for livestock packing plants, rather than shipping cattle elsewhere for processing. Construction on the Livestock Exchange Building started in 1902, and the ensuing lucrative livestock market that flourished there became known as “The Wall Street of the West.”
AgAmerica Lending salutes the history of beef cattle and Texas cattle history, and supports the developments that make it an ever-changing industry. If you’d like to explore what our custom cattle ranch loans can do for your cattle operation, contact us now to speak with one of our land loan experts.
Image courtesy of Mark Fisher.