The Ogden Union Stockyards were a significant part of the Ogden community during their operations. The stockyards were the feed stops for countless train cars containing cattle, sheep, and hogs. A good portion of these animals were sold or purchased at the stockyards. Some animals were even slaughtered and processed in the adjoining packing plant. The stockyards operated from 1916 to their eventual closure in 1971.
The initial construction of the stockyards in 1916-1917 was by the Ogden Packing and Provision Company which had greatly expanded since its founding in 1901. The new stockyards included a four-story building which housed offices and a pickling cellar. Plans for the building were drawn by the Packers’ Architectural & Engineering Company of Chicago.
In 1918, the stockyard managers put together a livestock show to help promote herds and to auction off livestock. In 1919, the Ogden Livestock Show became an annual event. (In 1955, the show was renamed the Golden Spike National Livestock Show.) By 1922, the expanded facilities included a coliseum used for the show and an exchange building to house staff for the stockyards and the livestock show. In 1926, an all new coliseum was built. In 1931, a new exchange building designed by Ogden architects Hodgson and McClenahan was built in the art deco style. It is currently the only building still standing at the stockyards.
The stockyards accepted every kind of livestock -- cattle, horses, hogs but more than anything else they dealt with sheep. The stockyards became the largest sheep center west of Omaha and, for a time, had the biggest lamb slaughtering industry in the country. The year 1945 saw the peak number of animals come through the stockyards. More than 300,000 cattle, 350,000 hogs, and 1.8 million sheep passed through the stockyards.
Ironically, 1945 also marked a steady decline in the number of livestock handled there. The yards were modernized in 1954 to accommodate increasing use of trucks to transport livestock. The outlook for the stockyards seemed to be improving during the 1960s. It was reported in 1966 that the stockyards were still feeding, watering and resting about 350,000 head of livestock en route by rail to other destinations.” However, the Swift & Co. meat processing plant closed in 1970 and the stockyards were sold by the Denver Union Stock Yards Co. to Ogden City in 1971