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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • VOLUNTEER FOR VICTORY

Cow Town: 1906

Cow Town: 1906

Kansas City, Missouri, circa 1906. "Kansas City livestock exchange." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

They moved across the river

Nowadays the stockyards are in Kansas, you drive right past them on your way to the bridge to MO.

Childhood Reference Point

When I was a child my father, who grew up in Kansas City, used to say, every time we went past something that smelled bad, "reminds me of the Kansas City stockyards."

Now I know what they looked like (if not smelled like).

A Big Yard

I remember when my dad first took me to the stockyards I was probably 7 or 8 years old (in the 1960s) and he said he was about my age when his father first took him. So the pic holds nostalgia value for me personally. I remember I was in total awe. Everything looks bigger when you're a kid, but I remember the place being massive. I'm not sure this picture adequately represents how vast the operation was. For exmaple, most of the livestock was transported by rail, and I don't see the rail lines.

I just did a quick Google search and found some history on the stockyards if anyone is interested:

http://livestockexchangebldg.com/history.php

Elizabeth, in this scene you'll be eating a big candy bar

Years ago I worked for a chocolate company in Pennsylvania that wanted to add chocolate aromas to its visitor center which (still) features chocolate pretending to be made. One idea was to pipe the real smells from the real factory, down the road. But apparently the sweet scents, the company's experts decided, would have dissipated too much during their pipeline journey. I forget how this was resolved but I do know that the liquid chocolate being stirred in several of the center's simulated production is (or was) paint, to prevent problems of spoilage and insect attraction.

Odor and bricks

There is still a pile of bricks from the old stockyards (red bricks used for roads back in the day) piled up near Kemper Arena, wich was built on this location. [Kemper was the home of the American Royal rodeo until this past week, when it was announced that the new sprint center will be hosting it.]

They are yours for the taking, but they hold an odor of a cowpie from years gone by. Needless to say, that pile of bricks remains today.....seems the price of a new odorless one at the lawn and garden store beats a free stinky one from the West Bottoms!

The Smell of Money

I'll bet that would open your sinuses if you lived downwind from that place. A lot of eyewatering also.

The smell

One of the bridges between KC, Missouri and KC, Kansas passed over this facility. I'll never forget that smell!

Impressive

I am amazed at this photo's depth of field, especially for a large format negative. Great photo.

Odorous

While we're on the subject of odors. In 1960 Mike Todd produced a film called "The Scent Of Mystery" that featured his then wife Elizabeth Taylor in an uncredited role, and the title song was sung by her next husband Eddie Fisher. It featured a process, to go along with the beautiful Todd AO Projection system called "Smell-O-Vision". Pipes running alongside the seats delivered aromas like burning pipe tobacco, perfume, bread and wine, among others during the film. It only showed at one theatre in the Times Square Area, I believe it was the Warner. Needless to say the film and its Smell-O-Vision feature bombed. Henny Youngman joked "I didn't understand the picture, I had a cold."

[In 1960, Mike Todd had been dead for two years. - Dave]
You're right Dave. It was Mike Todd Jr who produced the film. That made him Elizabeth Taylor's stepson.

Building weight

That is a massive amount of weight elevated above the ground. Is the building still there or is it long since gone?

[The building is not "elevated." - Dave]

Glad for the restricted technology

People are hard at work on scent synthesizers/generators; I read one proposal about billboards that would advertise hamburgers and also put burger smell in the air. This is one photo where I am happy I can't also smell the scene.

Must be a Sunday

Most of the cattle seem to have the day off.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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