The Union Stock Yards -Lancaster, PA (circa 1930)

The extent of the Lancaster stockyards was apparent to anyone who traveled to Lancaster by train from Philadelphia through the 1970’s.

As the train slowed in approaching the station on McGovern Avenue, passengers would see a long stream of white fences that seemed to stretch a very long distance.

Billed as the “largest stockyards east of Chicago”, the stockyards were built in 1895.

The fortunes of the Lancaster stockyards mirrored that of the railroads.

By the end of the 1960’s, cattle trucks were replacing railroad cattle cars, and the stockyards began an irreversible decline.

(Very few persons younger than 30 have ever seen a railroad cattle car.)

The stockyards contracted throughout the 1980’s, and Animal Cruelty charges in the 1990’s accelerated the decline.

The stockyard complex was largely abandoned and in ruins when finally torn down in 2008.

This postcard photograph, not mailed, was made some time between 1925 and 1940.  

This white-border style card is difficult to date precisely; someone who knows railroad cars may be more precise.

I did not know that the stockyards existed on both sides of the railroad tracks; I recall seeing them only on the north side of the Amtrak line.

(Knowledgeable readers inform me that there was a tunnel beneath the railroad tracks which allowed animals and people to pass from the main stockyard operation to the holding pens on the south side of the railroad line.)


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