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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 27, 1908)
SOUTH OMAHA SECTIOII
PACE8 1 TO 8.
THE OMAHA DEC
VOL. XXXVI 1 1 NO. 15.
OMA1IA, SUNDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 27, 1908.
SINGLE COPY FIVE CENTS.
SOUTH OMAHA GREAT MEAT PACKING INDUSTRY CENTER
Where Many Millions of Dollars Are Annually Paid to the Live Stock Raisers of Quivera's Kingdom
1 , p.. . -
4 k , A.4l.a.Mav,A.-. rfC.4V J I "
GENERAL VIEW OP THE UNION STOCK YARDS AT SOUTH OMAHA, WITH THE PACKING HOUSES IN THE BACKOROUNIX
WHEN the wealth of Omaha It computed conservatively
It Is found that South Omaha produces one-fifth or
more of It and, property values Considered, about the
same proportion must be credited to the city on the
' , south. ' w'
Mutual interests of the two cities In their manufacturing indus
tries, public utilities and railroads bind them closer together than
even some suburbs of Omaha are bound to the parent city. They are
literally bound with "hoops of steel," since the railroads make little
or no distinction in their yards, and when an industry locates '"In
Omaha" it makes no difference whether It is on trackage within the
'limits of the cfty on the south or in Omaha proper.
But South Omaha is a separate corporation, maintaining its own
city government, which is somewhat different from the government
of Omaha, and this individuality Sonth Omaha guards jealously. '
With the mention of the packing industry Omaha points with
pride to the rapidly growing city, the big smokestacks and buildings
which proclaim South Omaha's push and 'Industry. On the other
band. South Omaha leans up against Omaha for the entertatnment of
the throngs of people who dally visit the home of the packing indus
try.' Everyone hurries up to Omaha for hotel accommodations, to do
a part of their trading, to attend the ball games, the theaters and to
Although South Omaha has its excellent social circle, and men of
ability in every line, Omaha has been the mothering place of all
these, and a condition in South Omaha prevails whlh would not
exist it the two cities were twenty oniles apart.
When the dream of a western market for the live stock grown In
the TransmlBSOurl country first dawned in the mind of W.. A. Paxton
and his numerous 'energetic contemporaries, the present location
seemed a long way removed; but now the' two cities are heart to
heart. Twenty-five years have been sufficient to wipe out all the in
Twenty-five years ago a western market was a dream and Stouth
Omaha was a tangle of very rough hills on the banks of the Mis
souri. The site of the present buildings and stacks, with the evi
dence of their thrift about them, was a cornfield.
In the early spring of 1884 a party of men, Alex H. Swan, John
A. Crelghton, Thomas Swobe, W. A. Paxton, P. E. Her, J. A. Mc
Shane and Frank Murphy, rode out of Omaha four miles to the south
along the line of the Union Pacific right-of-way and selected the best
spot they could find, a field level enough to be farmed among a tan
gle of wild hollows filled with underbrush. Here the engineers
staked out, according to a plan, the cattle and hog yards and marked
the site of two small packing houses. Railroad yards were planned
in what was considered generous proportion even by the most san
guine promoters of the enterprise. '
In the summer of that year the company, planning a packing
plant, broke ground for the first building. In August the yards
were opened, cattle and hogs in moderate numbers begau to arrive.
'The Union Stock Yards company, Limited, was a reality; but so
small that the' older markets could scracely be brought to recognize
it in any way. They called It a water trough, or at best, a feed
The loyalty of the western cattlemen, who wanted a nearer mar
ket, assisted the new enterprise quite as much as the- enthusiasm of
the promoters. Cattle were shipped until they could not be used
and had to be reloaded for markets farther east. This did not dis
hearten the western ranchers, but they cheerfully accepted the incon
venience for the sake of assisting. This desire for a market was
soon recognised. .
O. H. Hammond, one of the few big packers of those days, first
leased the small plant which had been constructed by the Union
Stock Yards company in 1884 and later bought, and greatly enlarged
its capacity. Bhlpplng to Omaha increased greatly from the day the
Hammond house opened Us doors. Fowler Bros., one of the old
powers in the packing business, followed close behind the Hammond
company and bought the other small plant. They at once built a
big plant and called it the Anglo-American Provision company.
Later It was again enlarged and took the name of the Omaha Pack
ing company. It was opened in November, 1886. The receipt of
447,019 bead of live stock in 1886 amply Justified the erection of the
Thomas J. Llpton, one of the greatest provision dealers of Eng
land, established a plant for the production of export bacon during
the same year. It was a partial failure, because In those days the
farmers refused to sell their light hogs. The plant was bought and
enlarged to a general packing business by the Armour-Cudahy Pack
ing company. Later this plant became the Cudahy Packing company,
which has since conducted the business. 1
Swift and Company came the next year, 1887, and have since
conducted a steadily increasing business. Ten years laer, Armour
& Co.'s plant, the largest in South Omaha, was erected. Three years
ago the Omaha Packing company purchased the Hammond property,
which had for many years bet-a idle, and at present it is completely
repaired and remodeled and one of the most compact and convenient
of the packing houses.
A summary of the receipts and shipments for twenty-four years
Is also of interest, rhowlng what percentage of the total shipment
of live stock finds Its way into the dressed meat department of the
a comparative statement. The first table shows the total receipts by
years since the opening of the yards. The second shows the ship
ments' of stock on the hoof.
TOT AI KII0XXPT8 OT STOCK TOB 84 TUBS.
TEAM Osttla. Xogs. KlNp. Mul.-
18b4 88,603 3,888 6,693 . 489
lfe88 11S.983 159 624 19,484 8,027
1886 148,616 447,019 41390 8,999
18(47 83f,377 1,066,684 79,488 3,344
18SS 365,983 1,863,647 178,138 6,871
1689 473,094 1,884,891 168,517 7,650
1890 615,337 1,708,783 163,873 6,069
1891 eOl.OOa 1,637,387 169,865 8,761
1898 766,069 1,613,384 188,688 14,113
1893 858,456 1406,451 868,873 18,84a
. 1894 881,618 1,938,677 943,946 8,894
1898 686,103 1,186,788 804.870 7,077
1896 688,678 1,816,370 368,005 9,347 i
1897 810,949 1,610,981 687,160 6,678
1898 818,944 8,101,387 1,086,136 10,398
1899 837,663 8,816,488 1,086,319 34,866
1900 B88,804 8,800,986 1,876 776 69,645
, 1901. 1 818,003 . 8,414.068 1.314.841 . 36,391
' 1908 1.010,815 8,847.488 1,748,539 48,079
1903 1,071,177 8,831 067 1-863,763 68,889
1904 944,198 8,899,687 1,764,365 46,845
1905 1,088,398 8,893,956 1,970,509 45,488
1906 . ........ 1,079,373 8,393,661 8,165,118 48,869
19OT J... ..'.. lllSBJlS 8,853,658 8.038,777 44,080
T0tU .18,638,160 39,005,918 18,967,356 607,898
TOT All BHXPMEirTS OT STOCK I"0 84 TSASS.
TEAKS. Cattla. Hogs. Shaap. Mulaa.
184 ..... 83.45S 708 8.U09 "418
1885.'!!.,.,... M.S44 75,813 8,316 1,608
1886 ! .!.! . . ". 74 617 186,999 19,146 . " 1 804 :
188T ! !!!!... 166,875 164,874 - 69,468 1,835
lBb! 818 283 319,096 188,718 .4,094.
isa! . 886,757 176.818 98,558 6,850
ylS ! 889 E67 . 888 763 90,681 . 4,660
iSii .. 869,673 aaa,860 87,aaa t.isi
1898 !!!!!!!!!. v 867,468 383.M87 83,800 18,009
lo'. 0,sb9 3o3,64U 96,879 9,118
I lfc4 W4U,M6 404Jl 114,161 6,111
Ittao to,v4 14,iy DUD
1896 841.SS4 Yx.OO 1411,444 4,6iJ
19 bbo,l5 6,Uvl 800,01 8,4aJ
lowt bua,l4 " 1,044 tu,ivi V,o48
IbkV fcU,V4 Uo,8 i4u,ai4 30,lsl
1U ,ntf b,a6 Imm 44 e,o4a
luvl UobuO lu,JUl irtfc.,01 i4,od
1908 364,683 169,708 883,250 39,959
19ud 301,Jol 60,809 fa98,199 61,L0j
1904 800,770 aiO.Vb 4o,78J
laoS 314,1(73 17U.8J8 1 01o,7S4 43,878
1906 303,348 170,663 1,176,043 39,968
1907 361,bOU lli,S77 1,084,997 44,61
Totals 6,811,863 4,030,813 8,973,746 459,333
The difference between the receipts and the shipments is obvi
ously the number of animals slaughtered in Omaha. Since the pack
ing houses were established in South Omaha, 10,426,287 cattle, 35,
985,605 hogs and 9,993,610 sheep have been consumed in the pro
duction of meat products.
To accomplish this enormous conversion of live stock Into food
products the labor of from 5.000 to 6,000 men has been constantly
required. This class of labor has gone far to make up the character
istic citizens of South Omaha. These men come from twenty-seven
different countries, speaking as many languages and more dialects.
The Bohemians, the Poles and the Irish predominate of the foreign
members of a population of 35,000.
The city of South Omaha Is coincident with the establishment of
the Union Stock Yards company. It did not spring into existence as
a village until October 21, 1886, over two years after the establish
ment of the yards. In the meantime, however, many people built
residences and established small stores on lower N street. Devel
opment In this direction was rapid from the start. On the date men
tioned a village organization was effected. E. P. Savage, who was
later lieutenant governor and succeeded Charles Dietrich as governor
when the latter was elected senator, was chairman of the first vil
lage board. This board consisted of C. M. Hunt, W. O. Sloane, I.
Breyton and T. J. Sliter. Dan O'Connell was village clerk, John R.
Grlce, attorney, and M. J. DeGraff, treasurer.
In 1887 the village had grown to such proportions that It was
reorganized as a city of the second class. E. P. Savage was elected
mayor; E. K. Wells, clerk; C. M. Huntr treasurer, and J. R. Grlce,
attorney. The first city council was composed of John N. Burke, Dan
Rafferty, Thomas Geary, F. M. Smith, Bruno Strathman and Dave
Tho year following the class was again raised and the city was
granted the dignity accorded to cities above 5.000 population. At
this election W. G. Sloane was elected mayor; Thomas Geary, treas
urer; Thomas Hoctor, clerk;' E. H. , Dowd, attorney, and George
Ruther, police Judge.
The following men have in succession been mayors of South
Omaha: E. P. Savage, W. G. Sloane, C. P. Miller, O. E. Walker, Ed
Johnston, Thomas H. Ensor, A. R. Kelly, Frank Koutsky, Thomas
Hoctor and the present incumbent, Frank Koutsky, re-elected after
an interim of two years.
Every one of these names will recall to the people of South
Omaha many incidents of the time of each. The succession to the
city treasurershlp has been M. J. DeGraff, C. M. Hunt, Thomas Geary,
Thomas Hoctor, F. A. Broadwell, Frank Koutsky, E. L. Ubwe and C.
While these facts of the city's history have assumed their place,
the city itself has reached a population of 35,000, and Is clamoring
for more liberal charter privileges under the state laws. The ex
penditures for its government have reached the sum of $218,000
annually. Besides this the public Improvements have been at an ex
penditure of nearly $1,500,000. The bonded indebtedness at the
close of the last fiscal year is estimated at $1,329,488. Several
hundred thousand dollars' of the city's obligations have become due
in the last five years and have been paid. The special bonded in
debtedness is $41,045.
Some Idea of the proportions of the city of South Omaha may
be gleaned from the following table showing the actual valuation for
taxation purposes since 1903. This indicates a steady growth of
about $1,000,000 each year.
Taar. Valuation. Taar.
1903- 4 817.633,186.71 1906-7
1904-6 18,733,888.38 1907-8
1906-6 81,189,003.00 1908-8
, ... 88,066,837.34
Of the final figure, $23,636,190.84, some idea of the valuation
of the packing industry and of the public service corporation may
be gathered from their assessments, which are as follows:
tTnton Stock Tarda eompany
Cudabjr Packing company
Omaha Paokin; oompany
O. K. Hanunoad Packing- company...
Axmoa Si Oo
B wlft and Company
Omaha watar company
Omaha XUaotrio tight and Powar
Omaha a C. B. St. By. Co
Omaha Ctaa oompany
Xabraaka Talaphona oompany
BallroaOa (atata aaaaaamant) . .
JaSaUroads (prlvato llsaa)
Total 9 1,686,490 .
The valuation placed on tho city's homes and the private prop- ,
erty of individuals is therefore only a little more than $10,000,000.
This is tho report of the tax commissioner and may be read as low
To accommodate the business involved in corporations of such
magnitude, South Omaha has four national banks; the Union Stock
Yards National, the South Omaha National, the Packers National and
the Live Stock National. In the four banks $10,000,000 Is deposited.
The first one established was the Union Stock Yards bank and the
others in the order named. '
The packing plants, the Union Stock yards and the banks be
long particularly to South Omaha. All the publio service corpora
tions are Omaha institutions. South Omaha depends on Omaha for
water, light, power, gas and street railway service. Further, South
Omaha has no hotels which may compare jor compete with Omaha.
The theaters are small.
The city lately erected a good city hall at an expense of $75,000.
It boasts a strictly modern and new city Jail. It has one large ele
vator, an alfalfa food products mill, a malting plant and a brewery.
One hundred small retail stores and markets supply the city's needs.
To chronicle the works of the Individuals who have figured
prominently in the affairs of South Omaha would be to produce vol
umes of interesting history. All of the men who have been promi
nent enough to be remembered have been constant In their faith to
the city and untiring in labors in its behalf. For this reason the
city has always been mounting to a higher level, with none of the
usual ups and downs of the ordinary city.
Billions on Deposit in the Mud Banks of America
Botra 39 0)5,918
8acp Ms 3,. 46
To meet the demands of the increased shipments and the con
venience of the several plants during these years, the Union Stock
Yards company enlarged Us yards on every side until the estimated
dally capacity is 30.000 cattle, 40,000 hogs and 60,000 sheep, besides
accommodations for several thousand horses. Such a capacity has
not yet been taxed, but in sheep and hogs it has been approached on
e few dates.
Ike growth, of the packing industry might best Indicated by
NEW YORK, Sept. 26. Just why Amer
icana have not begun to ' draw upon
their reserve of $50,000,000,000 which
Ilea on deposit in mudbanks Involves .
study of the national temperament. t
Fifty years ago the peat fuel propaganda was
started in this country with the publication of a
widely circulated pamphlet by George H. Pollock
of New York, who urged that in view of the rapid
destruction of the North American forests and the
high price of coal anthracite then retailed at $8
a- ton in New York the practically inexhaustible
peat bogs should be drawn upon.
Since then the enthusiasm of scientific and en
gineering theorists on the subject has flared up on
an average about every half decade.
Just the other day a government publication
called attention to the commercial possibility of
gouging out a swamp or a mud puddle almost any
where and pioduclng limitless quantities of methyl
alcohol suitable for running automobiles. The
usual line of valuable by-products could, of course,
be predicted. During the coal strike of 1903
there was talk of digging warm comfort out of the
cold swamps of the eastern and central portions
of the country.
That was the time when experiments at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology proved the
theoretical points that had been alleged frequently
in favor of peat. About 1898-99 magazines and
newspapers published articles descriptive of peat
progress in Germany, Holland, Sweden and other
countries of Europe.
So It goes back through the memory of the
years in which there was always an Edward Atkin
son or a Thomas H. Leavltt to tell the American
people how much they were missing by preferring
to use coal at from $3 to $8 a ton when they
might Just as well have briquettes of moulded or
compressed mud that would be three-fifths as good
at certainly less than half the cost. Between
1860 and 1875 forty-elx peat fuel companies are
known to have started business.
And the stubborn fact has always remained
that Americans have not wanted something that
is three-fifths as good even at one-third the cost.
So long as there is coal, why monkey with mud?
After the cream is gone then it will be time to dis
cuss ways and means of utilizing the skimmed
mlllr. That is the attitude which has kept the
reserve of mud fuel, practically untouched in spite
of half a century of agitation in favor of drawing
immediately upon It to the saving of forests and
In Europe it is different. People have to
economize in the land of northern Europe. Con
sequently Holland scrapes annually out of its bogs
about a million tons of vegetable mould, and in-'
cldentally brings li to cultivation about 1,000
acres of new land, excellent for market gardening.
Sweden makes each year a larger draft upon
its quaking equivalent of 3,000,000,000 tons of
steam coal. About 2,000,000 tons of peat is now
consumed annually in Swedish industries.
The Irish are considering ways and means of
making a hole faster in the 33,972,000,000 tons
of Inflammable turf add mud that cover about one
ninth of the total surface of the Emerald Isle.
The whole Industrial future of Ireland may He in
the utilization of this hitherto neglected source of
The Germans, with their many Inherited uses
of the material and their continued experimenta
tion, are drawing rapidly, but not wastefully, upon
their comparatively limited supply.
The various uses of peat multiply abroad, as
Messrs. Bjorling and Glssing have noted exhaus
tively in their recent book on "Peat." About 100
factories in Germany are each producing annually
in excess of 100,000 tons of briquetted peat.' In
Bavaria for some years locomotives have burned
mud fuel. - ,
Producer gas from peat is employed' in many
Swedish metallurgical works and elsewhere. In
various quarters it has been found feasible to se
cure not only gas suitable for fuel and illumina
tion, but charcoal and such by-products as are
familiar In gas manufacture everywhere tar, il
luminating oil, paraffin, benzol, ammonia, sulphur
and all the rest.
Methylated spirits have been evoked out of
foreign bogs in salable quantities, and paper is a
possibility, although the factory established in
1903 at Cel bridge, Ireland, for making wrapping
paper from peat has not proved successful and has
been dismantled, ' Peat is coked by electricity at
Bergen, Norway and other places In the leading
Meantime American bogs; ihe deepest and
widest in the world, not even excepting those of
Ireland, some of them of a depth of eighty or
ninety feet, continue to quake undisturbed. A
good many peat fuel companies have been organ
ized in the last few years. One with an ambitious
prospectus was Incorporated In Massachusetts last
spring. Some few of these companies are going
concerns, but not many of them have gone in very
deeply unless into the pockets of Investors.
Reasons why this great fuel reserve of the
United States, whose unknown value might as
plausibly be set at $100,000,000,000 as at $50,
000,000,000, remains practically Intact after fifty
years of agitation are partly psychological, partly
mechanical. If the psychological cause were not
uppermost Yankee Ingenuity might have solved
the mechanical difficulties long ago.
Americans are not ready to burn mud yet, not
because the mud will not burn reasonably well. .
Peat fuel at its best is just something that Is
nearly as good, and the average American engi
neer grumbles if he is not supplied with the best
Peat fuel baa been used experimentally on
railroad systems of the United States. An early
experiment was In 1866, when briquetted mud
was used on the old Western railway of Massa
chusetts. It has been found to develop & good
heat, and to make.no smoke, soot, dust or clink
ers, but the engineers are accustomed to coal, the
railroads are equipped for receiving and distribu
ting coal and a complete standardization of opera
ting practice has been made possible, the use of
coal being universal.
Three years ago a New England railroad com
pany burned peat fuel for a time on some of its
shifting and suburban locomotives. The locomo
tives moved satisfactorily upon the Impulse of the
unaccustomed fuel, but the engineers and firemen
objected to the bulkiness of the big perforated
cylinders of dried mud. There were various
minor objections. A fuel, in short, which to sup
plant coal would have to show Its superiority in
practically every respect proved Inferior in so
many respects that the railroad's superintendent
of motive power, after a short trial, quickly re
stored the standard fuel on all the locomtives.
This New England railroad, operated at a dis
tance from the Pennsylvania coal fields, might
conceivably be run somewhat less expensively by
burning up the swamps adjacent to its tracks.
But It won't In all probability be so run until the
price of coal becomes absolutely prohibitive.
Even the minor Industrial usea of dried and
compressed mud, such as are common in Europe,
are hard to develop 1 nthis country, simply because
ingenuity has not yet solved the problem of get
ting the peat out in the American way. That
means on a large scale, with labor-saving machin
ery for every process and with an elaborate system
In countries where peasant labor can be em
ployed to supplement the machine briquettes and
other peat preparations in comparatively limited
quantities can be produced cheaply with machin
ery that is admittedly imperfect. But labor costs
are such in the United States that until a prac
tically perfect mechanical system has been devised
coal will not have a formidable competitor in peat.
The problem of an invention to revolutionize
American industry by utilizing the riches of the
swamps la In fact somewhat analogous to that of
aerial navigation. There are all sorts of flying
machines. Everybody knows that sooner or later
a type will be produced that will really fly, In a
Numerous processes and special types of ma
chinery have been devised to put peat econom
ically into the manufacturer's and householder's
coal bin. Some of them are already good enough
for European use. But the practically perfect
system is yet to come.
How to get peat out in commercial quantities
from the wet, quaggy bog, to drive from it the
very high percentage of moisture it contains with
out in bo doing also driving away some of Its val
uable chemical constituents which are chief fac
tors in Us heat-producing value, and bow to pre
pare it in a form such that conservative engineers
and firemen will prefer it to the convenient lump
of coal to which both they and their machinery
(Continued on Page Two.).
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