The book, Pride in the Past Faith in the Future, was written by Carl E. Kramer. It is a history of the Michigan Livestock Exchange, and the livestock market in general. These exchanges existed all over the country. For instance, The Bourbon Stock Yards in Louisville opened in 1834. The book does an interesting job of creating a comprehensive picture of how ranchers, farmers, middle men, and buyers worked together. As the book mentions, when Christopher Columbus arrived in the Caribbean Island of Dominica, the ships carried cattle, pigs, goats, horses, and chickens. This is an industry with an amazing history.
People unfamiliar with this business will be pleased to see a bird’s eye view of what goes into how their steaks, pork chops, and lamb arrive at the market place. Farmers and ranchers bring animals ready for market on the appointed day. At the Michigan Livestock Exchange, market day was Monday. The Michigan Livestock Exchange acted as a middle man to the sales process. Market day is very exciting, because that is when all of your past work yields a profit.
According to the book, the first recorded stockyard in Michigan was established in 1854, on Grosse Ile. It was known as the Michigan Central Stock Yards. This yards remained in place, until it moved in 1860 to Twentieth Street, in Detroit. Another location was called King’s Cattle Yards. It was located at Fourteenth Street and the Grand Trunk Railroad, in Detroit. The Stock Yards moved, in 1882, to Dix Avenue in Detroit, where it remained for many profitable years. There were two companies located in the Detroit Stock Yards. Ridley and the Michigan Livestock Exchange. Though they were competitors, there were many friendships among the men working there, to supply meat to our area.
The book discusses the “Big Five.” These packing companies were Swift, Armour, Morris, Wilson, and Cudahy. They were the primier companies in the nation’s meatpacking industry. Another packing company leader was George H. Hammond, who controlled plants in Omaha, Nebraska, and Hammond, Indiana. This book covers a variety of topics related to the meat industry. There were many many men involved in the Michigan Livestock Exchange. Some names from the past are Ike Walton, Art Ingold, Joe McCrum, Jack Pascoe, Ray Montague, Jim McCrum, Clayton Johnson, John Miller, John Schorenack, Art Bickford, and Norb Seeley. These men were hard working, and tirelessly dedicated themselves to being team players, at the Michigan Livestock Exchange.
This book should be dedicated to everyone who played a part in this very effective operation. UPI United Producers Incorporated purchased Michigan Livestock among others, and now operates everything. The Detroit Michigan Livestock Exchange moved to Manchester, Michigan, where it operates to this day.
If you are looking for obscure and interesting Detroit history, please consider locating this book. You can still find it on Ebay. It is a concise documentation of an era, which is of great importance to this country. If you like steak, pork, and/or lamb, you will enjoy knowing all about the history of how and why it finally appears upon your plate.