The Union Stock Yards close
Photo: Chicago Tribune

July 30, 1971

For more than a century, the yards were the reeking, roiling heart of working Chicago, employing tens of thousands of packers and slaughterhouse workers. By 1924, the 475-acre site and its related packinghouses processed more meat than any other place in the world. “The closing of the stockyards was the first taste of deindustrialization,” said historian Dominic Pacyga, who worked in the yards as a college student, in an interview. Like it or not, Chicago was becoming a white-collar city.