Steven Ahlgren

S. St. Paul Stockyards


In 1988 and 1989 I photographed the stockyards of South St. Paul. Begun in 1886, the South St. Paul Union Stockyards were once one of the largest stockyards in the world, employing several thousand workers, and containing vast holding pens, an auction barn, and two meatpacking plants.  Changes in the marketplace eventually caused business to decline. As a result the two meatpacking plants relocated and finally the remaining stockyard facilities closed in April, 2008. These photographs were thus taken in the twilight years of its operation, when many areas were unused, and one of the former meatpacking plants was in the process of being torn down. The site of the South St. Paul Stockyards is today an office park.