Fort Worth Stockyards
History As a drover headed cattle up the Chisholm Trail to the railheads, he had one last stop for rest and supplies: Fort Worth, Texas. Beyond Fort Worth, he’d be crossing the Red River into Indian Territory. Between 1866 and 1890, drovers trailed more than four million head of cattle through Fort Worth. The city soon became known as “Cowtown.” When the railroad arrived in 1876, Fort Worth became a major shipping point for livestock, so the city built the Union Stockyards, two and a half miles north of the Tarrant County Courthouse, in 1887. But the Union Stockyards Company lacked the funds to buy enough cattle to attract local ranchers, so President Mike C. Hurley invited wealthy Boston capitalist Greenleif Simpson to Fort Worth in hopes he would invest. A lucky fluke won the Stockyards an investor. Simpson arrived and found the pens full of cattle; he decided Fort Worth represented a good market, and made plans to invest. Little did he know, the pens didn’t normally hold that much cattle; he’d simply arrived on the heels of heavy rains and a railroad strike. On April 27, 1893, Simpson bought the Union Stockyards for $133,333.33 and changed the name to the Fort Worth Stockyards Company. Simpson invited other investors to join him, including his Boston neighbor, Louville V. Niles, whose primary business was meatpacking. They soon realized that instead of shipping the cattle off to other markets to be processed, they’d be much better off building meat packing plants nearby so they could keep the business in the city. The investors began working to attract major packers to Fort Worth, and by about 1900, they had persuaded both Armour & Co. and Swift & Co. to build plants near the Stockyards. The businessmen planned construction – by coin toss. Armour and Swift held a coin toss to decide who would get which tract of land. Armour won the toss and chose the northern site; construction began in 1902. However, Swift & Co. ended up getting the better end of the bargain with the southern site, which contained a large gravel pit that they used for the construction of their plant. They even sold some of the gravel to Armour. That same year, construction started on the pens, the barns, and the new Livestock Exchange Building, which housed the many livestock commission companies, telegraph offices, railroad offices and other support businesses. It became known as “The Wall Street of the West.” In 1976, Charlie and Sue McCafferty founded the North Fort Worth Historical Society to preserve Fort Worth's livestock heritage. This new venture helped establish the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historical District and bring about the restoration of landmarks including the Livestock Exchange Building, the Coliseum and the former Swift & Co. headquarters. In 1989, the North Fort Worth Historical Society opened the Stockyards Museum in the historic Exchange Building. Today, the museum hosts thousands of visitors from all over the world each year, and is constantly growing its facilities and its collection. True to its history, the Stockyards still hosts the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive, and every week, thousands of head of cattle are sold from the Exchange Building by satellite video. All this – plus more than a hundred new shopping, dining and entertainment venues – makes the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historical District one of Texas’ most popular tourist destinations.
What makes this business unique? World's Only Twice-Daily Cattle Drive
Stockyards Adventure Pass
- Thriving business center