could be Buffalo's crossing the platte

 Research Papers

Today is:

Kearney Stock Yards, Part 2

Original Location

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 limits


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.

July 1906

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 yard.

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.

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 previous summer.


An ordinance was drawn up prohibiting stock yards within city limits of Kearney.

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 line.

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 the nuisance”

        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

He 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 yards were.

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.


Feb 1908

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 heard

        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 later.
                The judge would give his decision at the January term which began on the 25th


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.


July 1924

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 about.]

        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 transit.

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.

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