Fort Worth: The Legendary History of the Stockyards
Now people may tell you the Fort Worth Stockyards are only for tourists, but really, they are so much more. The Stockyards have a great history behind them and have been instrumental to growth of Fort Worth. This is just a brief story, on Fort Worth's most historic part of town.
You may wonder how Dallas and Fort Worth are such two major cities and ended up so close together. Well your answer is the Chisholm Trail. In the 1800's cowboys herded more than 4 million cattle through Fort Worth, making it a big destination to stop and soon earned them the title of "Cowtown."
When the railroad arrived in the south, Fort Worth became a major shipping point and the City created the Union Stockyards just outside downtown. Though it was never once profitable until they invited a wealthy, Boston capitalist to invest. He ended up buying the stockyards from the city for a whopping $133,333.33. And soon he invited his wealthy friends and meatpacking extraordinaire and together they decided to not only keep cattle, but it would be easier and more cost effective to pack them on site to ship them. And the Fort Worth Stockyards Company was born.
The stockyards became so popular for ranchers that they soon needed an indoor show facility and in 1907 construction began on Cowtown Coliseum. It was completed in 88 days and became the very first indoor rodeo!
After the War however business declined when shipping turned to trucks and no longer the railroad and all the meat packing and ranchers slowly left. And by 1971 the Stockyards meat packing buildings sat empty and in the 80's the cattle sales were dismal. But in 1976 Fort Worth locals started the North Fort Worth Historical Society and soon set out to preserve the Stockyards as a historical district. They preserved and restored it to it's former beauty and became a registered historical site.
Today they sit as Fort Worth memorial towards their rich history in cattle and every day host the worlds only cattle drive and are currently expanding with the add-on of Mule Alley. They offer a museum, bars/restaurants, shopping and up until recently hosted the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo.
The Stockyards really are the reason Fort Worth grew into the city it is today and is also the reason Fort Worth holds the official name as "Cowtown." The Stockyards are one-of-a-kind!