South Saint Paul Stockyards Closing After 122 Years

The South St. Paul Stockyards, which have been in existence since 1886, will close on Friday, April 11, 2008, due to high operational costs. The stockyards, which once held the title of "world's largest livestock market" from 1974 to 1981, will hold its final cattle sale on Friday.

Founded as the South St Paul Union Stockyards Co in 1886, Central Livestock Association purchased it in 2003. The company sold the 27.3 acre parcel in March of 2006 and has been in the process of dismantling the stockyards for the past 16 months. There are plans in the works to develop a new industrial area on the site.

When the South St. Paul Stockyards were first constructed, most livestock was transported via the railroad, which is more uncommon these days. Another aspect of the stockyards’ downfall has been the sprawl of urban development around the Twin Cities over decades of growth. Cattle and other livestock are being raised further and further from the city, making it more expensive to transport.

In addition to its final cattle sale, other events will be held at the stockyards on Friday. Governor Tim Pawlenty, a South St. Paul native, is expected to broadcast his WCCO "Good Morning Minnesota" from the stockyards. Photographs, signs, and other memorabilia sales and auctions will be held, starting at 9:00 AM. Also starting at 9:00 AM and ending at Noon will be tours of the stockyards.

The day after the last sale, an exhibit on the South St. Paul Stockyards opens at the Dakota County Historical Society Museum, which is located at 130 Third Ave. N., South St. Paul. The exhibit will remain there through 2010. A more thorough history of the Stockyards can be found here at the society’s website.

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