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Stockyard Visit

Ft. Worth's Heritage

semi-overcast 94 °F


A little history lesson before I get into the Stockyards. Texas territory first came under Spanish rule in 1519. Then France assumed control in 1685, followed by Mexico in 1821. Sam Houston declared independence in 1836 to become the Republic of Texas. This Republic sided with the Confederate States during the Civil War and officially became a State in 1865.

Texas Longhorn cattle are a specific breed introduced to North America by the Spanish in the 1500's. Their adaptability to the hot, dry climate and their source of meat made them desirable. Fast-forward. During the Civil War the cattle herds were left unattended and unmanaged due to the shortage of cowboys who were drafted into the Confederate army. They roamed freely during this period and their numbers doubled. After the war and Statehood there became a market in the north for beef. Huge cattle drives were organized in Ft. Worth, the site of a Cattle Exchange where steers were bought/sold. The cattle were driven northward to Abeline, KS on an overland trail, called the 'Chisholm Trail' to stockyards there. They were then loaded on railroad cattle cars for shipment to Kansas City and Chicago slaughterhouses/ meat packers, such as Swift and Armour. These cattle drives moved as many as a million bovines, usually in herds of 2,500, 450 miles by cowboys, a trip that took up to 2 months. During this period millions were herded there before the railroads replaced the cowboys in the journey. While operating, more than 160 million head of livestock were sold through the Exchange. In addition to beef cattle, horses, mules, hogs, and sheep were commodities at the market. During WWI the US Army's demand for horses and mules was so great that the Ft. Worth Exchange became #1 in the world.

Ft. Worth today in preserving its unique heritage has set aside the Stockyard Exchange area, named a National Historic District. with the Old West flavor of 'cowboy times'. Each day at 11:30 am and 4:00 pm cowboys herd Longhorns (a couple dozen) down Main Street to/from the cattle pens as was done years ago. Tourists-like me, of course, line the streets to witness the spectacle. The brick-covered streets are lined with shops, restaurants, saloons -all with the Western theme.

From here its on to Oklahoma!

Posted by dixter 07:06 Archived in USA

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Great history lesson, as usual. Keep it up. We'll share a stake when you get home.

by kafera

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