The Old West is not just something that Hollywood created, it really existed. The cowboy lifestyle helps give Texas a bit of mystique and is a big part of the state’s culture. I recently visited the Fort Worth Stockyards with my mom so we could learn more about what that way of life was really like.
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Historical Tour of the Fort Worth Stockyards
To learn about the history of the area, you should take the 90 minute guided walking tour of the Stockyards. Tours leave from the Visitors Center at 130 East Exchange Avenue three times a day. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $5 for children. Before leaving on our tour, we watched the “Spirit of The West” video to get a little historical background.
At the end of the American Civil War, cattle were everywhere in Texas and no one had money to pay for them. People realized they could get a lot of money for the cattle if they could just get them up north. Moving cattle 800 miles was not easy then. The Fort Worth Stockyards developed as the place to rest before heading north.
Years later businessmen realized that it would be more efficient if the meat packing plants came to Fort Worth instead of transporting the cattle up North. So in 1903, two large meat processing plants, Swift and Armour opened. The Stockyards were thriving.
After World War II, the trucking industry developed. Transporting livestock by road quickly became more flexible and cost-efficient than the railroad. This meant the market favored the shipper, not the meat packer, and smaller operations were taking business away from central locations like the Stockyards. (more…)