Recently I had dinner at Cattleman’s restaurant in Stockyards City.
I noticed a sign touting a centennial event for Stockyards City. I hadn’t realized that the Oklahoma National Stock Yards were celebrating 100 years in existance.
Earlier this year, I had driven along S May Avenue, where many of the old packing plants were located. The livestock holding pens are gone and the enormous meat processing buildings are empty and gathering graffitti.
I can remember, as a child, being driven past the pens, full of animals, and not realizing then what I was smelling was the odor of success. At that time, the packing plants and the adjoining Stock Yards had been in business for at least 50 years and the area was originally known as Packingtown.
In May of 1909, the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce was celebrating its success in enticing the Thomas Morris Company to build a massive plant in south Oklahoma City.
From an advertisement published in The Oklahoman Oct. 4, 1910, Morris & Company announced it was in operation as of Oct. 3 and invited the public to come “inspect our Packing Houses …”
The advertisement included an invitation from the The Oklahoma National Stock Yards Company to “visit and inspect the most perfectly arranged and modern stock yards …”
While the packing plants are abandoned or nearly so, and the Oklahoma National Stock Yards may no longer be the “worlds largest,” Stockyards City, the unique area along S Agnew still has much to offer – shops, restaurants and atomosphere galore
Join them in their centennial celebration year. As they would say, “Ya’ll come now!”
– Mary Phillips