Kearney Stock Yards, Part 2
Not listed in early City Directories
Couldn’t find exact location, only clues
During the Boom Period
(Dec 1889) --"The stock yards are
still in the heart of the city...."
(May 1890) --"W. T. Scott is building
a two story carpenter shop down near the stock yards."
1892 directory - Wm. T. Scott, contractor, office 17 W 22nd, but this was
not the carpenter shop.
(March 1891) --"A child in a family
named Kelly, living near the B & M stock yard died of scarlet fever."
1892 directory - Kelly, James E, Eva, res 1323 ave E [14th & E, south side
of B & M tracks]
Drive to move them outside city
Early June 1906
Citizens were complaining about the stockyards, again.
At city council meeting 2 citizens brought a petition asking that the
railroads be prevented from keeping and feeding stock in their stockyards.
Apparently there were two uses for the pens – short term holding of stock
until they could be loaded out and longer term during which the sock was
kept and fed.
This second use was the source of complaint.
The city attorney was instructed to draft an ordinance requiring the
railroad companies to move the stock yards at least ten blocks east.
Two B & M officials were in town and said they would put the yards in good
order and keep them that way.
City council meeting 3 days later
Lots of discussion
City Council tabled the ordinance for the present upon the promise of the B
& M official that they would keep the yards clean and not use them as a feed
Whenever the board of health said they were a nuisance, the ordinance could
be brought up for third reading and passed.
But the following spring
--Petitions are being circulated to have the stock yards, feed yards and
“bull pens” removed from the First Ward [southeast quarter of town probably
still about Ave E]
They were a public nuisance too close to the residential portion of the
City council considered but decided not to revive the ordinance to move the
stock yards at least 10 blocks east [to Ave Q], which had been tabled the
An ordinance was drawn up prohibiting stock yards within city limits of
Limits were described as: [start at 11th & Q]
South - 11th street
West - 10th Ave
North - 31st St
East - From 31st & Q south to the Union Pacific
Then west to Ave K
Then south to the Burlington
Then east back to Q
Then south to 11th
July 31, 1907
The Union Pacific agreed to move their stock yards to a location in that jog
between the two main railroad tracks, east of Ave K, south of their main
There was a delay because that property was leased and planted to corn.
The UP had to cancel the lease and get an appraisal of damages.
In the meantime they promised to keep the present yards clean and not hold
livestock for “any length of time” before shipping.
This ordinance also affected anyone who had feed lots within city limits
They were to be notified “to abate
A complaint was filed against a man
for keeping a horse yards near the Burlington at 19th St.
The man appeared in court and denied ownership of the yard so a new warrant
was issued to John Doe.
Also a complaint was filed against
the Smith Bros who operate a slaughter house south of town.
Nov 1907 – The other side of the story
Burlington superintendent appeared before the City council
said railroads are obligated to operate stock yards at shipping points for
the convenience of the public.
They needed assurance that as the city expanded people who would be living
near the new location would not complain as the people near the present
However, he said they were willing to move if the other railroad was
Since the railroad owned practically all the property in the proposed stock
yards area, the council did not believe there would be much complaint.
Stock yards had not been moved yet
Then the court proceedings began
June 23 complaint against Burlington was heard in police court and
the date for trial set for the following week
June 30 - The judge found the
railroad guilty and fined the company $25 and costs of $5.15, with orders to
remove the stock yards according to the provision of the city ordinance,
within the next ten days.
The case was appealed to the district
court to be heard at the beginning of the first session of that tribunal.
December 8 - The two stock yard cases for refusal to move their stock
yards was to be heard but the cases were continued until
December 16 --- Finally
Jury was waived; heard by a judge
UP presented their case & Burlington
agreed to abide by the decision in the UP case.
Judge took the case under advisement.
Each side could present briefs, the city in 15 days and the railroad 10 days
The judge would give his decision at the January term which began on the
Aug 29, 1911
[city council – citizens from the
south side near the Burlington stock yards appeared to object saying the
stock yards was not being moved far enough east, the vicinity of Ave K would
be okay with them.]
10 Years later – 1921
Feb 17 & 21, 1921
Manure Your Garden or Truck Farm
There is a large quantity of manure and
cleanings from stock cars and stock pens at the Union Pacific stock yards,
south of the tracks, east of Ave H to be had for the hauling. If you want to
hire teams and wagon call W. S. Dow or Pete Shields.
Annual protest to city hall about odor at stock yards.
Protestors suggested: “To totally eliminate
all possibility of future complaint can be accomplished only by abolition of
all stock yards facilities in the city.
UP said: That is out of the question,
especially in Kearney, a city ranking high as a live stock shipping center
Compromise location: The loading pen would
stay at its present location.
Move the feeding yards further east,
possibly beyond the oil tanks.
[It was the holding pens where hogs were fed that people were complaining
Beyond all range of residential encroachment for many years to come,
One RR official said: “and if Kearney ever grows that far out of its present
residential bounds we’ll willingly pack up and move again,”
1930 - Major Change
July 6, 1930
Use of Truck for Marketing Shows Constant Increase
Number in Use in County is Growing Gradually
The business of shipping livestock to
Omaha stock yards by truck increased by leaps and bounds during the first
six months of 1930.... [This included cattle, sheep and hogs from up to 100
or 200 miles away.]
….Several men are engaged in trucking
from Callaway and points as far west as Gothenburg on the main line,
carrying live stock to the Omaha markets and picking up such return loads as
may be available. Those engaged in collecting poultry and other farm
products are also developing sidelines in the way of carrying general
merchandise, thus making the operation of their trucks more profitable. In
many instances truckers not only have regular routes which they serve, but
also have designated depots where merchandise is delivered and collected for
Some Incidents at the Stock Yards
(Sept 1893) "--A party from the west has been
camping near the stockyards today with a drove of nearly a hundred burros.
He is selling them along the route and says he has disposed of thirteen here
in Kearney. If he has, the citizens in neighborhoods where they are owned,
will probably be treated to nightly serenades."
(Dec 1896) A dog ran an errand home bringing a note from Mr. Ormsby [manager
of the stock yards] to his wife to tie the stockyards key to the dog and
send him back. The dog brought the key to him.