could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Kearney Stock Yards

A Request for Information

Answered a request for info on UP depot 1890

Found this item:
July 2, 1890 - [City Council meeting]
The matter of vacating First ave. for the new depot came up next.
[Discussion, motion, and proposed amendments followed. One to require the depot be finished by Dec. 1, 1890 passed. The ordinance for vacating the street passed.]
Johnson moved that the council on bended knee implore the U. P. to move its stock yard.

A stock yards in Kearney??? Where??

Back to the beginning of the story –

Why would there be a stock yards in Kearney?

Railroad construction
    UP & B&MR both land grant railroads

    US owned all the land west of the Missouri so they could give alternating sections in 20-mile path with exception of military reservations

        Those living there were squatters
        Nutter hurried to GI to file on his land when homesteaders started moving in

    Railroads Finances
        Raised money for construction from 2 sources
        1. Sell land to settlers – encouraged homesteaders
        2. Sell Bonds
    Financed operations by moving freight
        3. Transport settlers’ crops and livestock to eastern markets

    Placed depots – include grain elevators and stock yards to hold farm produce for shipment

Area Stock yards – Others Mentioned in Buffalo County
    Up the Kearney &Black Hills RR – Glenwood, Riverdale, Amherst, Miller
    On the Union Pacific –Shelton (sheep), Gibbon, Optic, Buda, Odessa, Elm Creek
    Others mentioned - Pool Siding, Grand Island, Darr

[No cattle trucks]

Kearney Stock Yards
    Two or one? –
        Union Pacific Stock yards

        Burlington Stock yards

    Referred to separately at first, then together
        Maybe one combined or two side by side??

Complaints about the Stock Yards
From as early as 1885 on

Lots of complaints to city council – every spring and summer
    Action might be started, cold weather came, smell disappeared, complaints stopped,
    Action dropped to be started all over again the next spring

Moving the Stock Yards

Lot of talk of moving in Jan. 1890, mid-Boom Period.

(Jan 24, 1890)

A group of Kearney bankers went to Omaha for a Bankers’ State association meeting
They went to the U. P. headquarters and, among other things,
stated that the stock yards were a nuisance and should be moved.
The UP agreed to do that.
Later the same request was made of the Burlington railroad

(Feb. 1890)
    UP said a move was unreasonable,

        both railroad companies promised to clean up their yards and keep them that way.

Over the next 10 years bridge gangs for both companies would periodically be in Kearney for a few days to make repairs at the stock yards.

1900 – Definite plans to move


--The U. P. stock yards will undergo some changes and improvements and will be moved to another location.
--The Union Pacific stock yards will be moved east of the freight depot.
Surveyors have mapped out the land for the stock yards. The yards will be moved east of the freight depot and will be one of the largest this side of Omaha.


--A petition asking the city council to prohibit the Union Pacific railroad moving its stock yards east of the U. P. passenger depot is being circulated by east side citizens.

Clues about New Location

(June 6, 1905)
[at City Council meeting] Mr. Shaw from the First Ward [southeast Kearney] complained of a hole east of the U. P. stock yards, which has become a nuisance. [The street &sidewalk committee were delegated to deal with both railroads] “and instruct them that they must have their stock yards drained and that they must clean no more stock yards in the city without hauling the cleanings outside the city limits.”

(July 22, 1905)

Wood Olinger Injured

Wood Olinger suffered a rather severe and painful accident at the Burlington stock yards Saturday morning. [He entered a shed and hit his head on the end of a 2x4 giving himself a gash which bled profusely.] …and after the injured man had been brought to town in an automobile, Dr. Basten took five stitches in the cut.

(Dec. 5, 1905)
[At city council meeting they spent most of their time discussing the water sanitation conditions] in the southeastern part of the city, [where there was fear of a typhoid epidemic. One council member attributed a case of typhoid to water contaminated by the Burlington stock yards and their lack of drainage.]

(April 1908)
[A for rent ad ran during the month for potato land “near the stock yard; east part of town.”]

Bums were a problem at the stock yards

(July 1898)

[A gang of bums at the B & M stock yards made a fire from a bunch of materials there, then drained the water tank putting out the fire.]

(July 1904)

[A case of beer was stolen from the Storz Brewing company beer vault.
The empty case was found near “the old stock yards in the western part of the city.”
The Dawson Co. sheriff in Lexington called the Kearney Chief of Police to see if any beer had been stolen.
He said 5 bums had been in town and who said “they had drank a case of beer, just before leaving Kearney.”
When told there had, the Lex. Sheriff took the train for North Platte hoping to find them and return them to Kearney to be charged with burglary.]

(July 1904)

A Bad Gang of Bums

A motley gang of bums and drunks was picked up by the police at the stock yards.  Complaint had been sent in, that a tough crowd was making its headquarters there, so the officers went down with a dray and rounded the fellows up.   There were a half dozen of them and they were a fierce looking outfit.  All were drunk and dirty and two of them had but one leg each.  They were locked up until Saturday morning when they were drilled out of town


Source:  Kearney Daily Hub, June 1889 through April 1908

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Revised: 02/06/2018