Union Stock Yard Gate
Old Stone Gate, Chicago Union Stock Yards
The entry to the Union Stock Yards c. 1910
|Location||Exchange Ave., Chicago, Illinois|
|Area||less than one acre|
|Architect||Burnham & Root|
|NRHP Reference #||72000451|
|Added to NRHP||December 27, 1972|
|Designated NHL||May 29, 1981|
|Designated CL||February 24, 1972|
The Union Stock Yard Gate, located on Exchange Avenue at Peoria Street, was the entrance to the famous Union Stock Yards in Chicago. The gate was probably designed by John Wellborn Root of Burnham and Root around 1875, and is the only significant structural element of the stock yards to survive. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1981. The plaza surrounding the gate also includes the city's principal memorial to its firefighters.
The Union Stock Yard Gate is located on Chicago's South Side, on a plaza in the center of Exchange Avenue at its junction with Peoria Street. This position marked the principal eastern entrance to the stock yards, which occupied several hundred acres to the west. It is a limestone construction with a central main arch flanked by two smaller arches. The main arch is 16 feet (4.9 m) wide and 17 feet (5.2 m) high, with the surmounting truncated hip roof giving the structure a total height of 32 feet (9.8 m). The piers of the central arch are topped by conical limestone turrets. The smaller side arches are asymmetrical (one is 6 feet (1.8 m) wide, the other 7.5 feet (2.3 m)), but are similarly styled on a smaller scale. One of the side arches retains an iron grillwork gate, of a style that both would have originally had. The main gate at one time had an iron portcullis.
The Union Stock Yard was established in 1865, as a place to centralize the city's growing meatpacking industry. Its early facilities were constructed out of wood, with some elements later rebuilt in stone. This gate was built in 1879, and was probably designed by Daniel Burnham and John W. Root, who were responsible for the design of other structures in the yards. The gate and an accompanying gatehouse (since demolished), were the only substantial buildings to survive a fire that leveled the yards in 1934. Restored in the 1970s, the limestone gate now stands as one of the few reminders of Chicago's past dominance in the meat packing industry. Over the arch of the gate, Root included a now famous bust of "Sherman," the favorite prize-winning bull of John B. Sherman. The gate was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 27, 1972. It was then designated a National Historic Landmark on May 29, 1981. The gate was designated an official Chicago Landmark on February 24, 1972. Directly behind the gate is a memorial statue for Chicago firefighters. The statue is located there because of the Chicago Union Stock Yards Fire, and around the base are engraved the names of all Chicago firefighters ever killed in the line of duty.
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Illinois
- National Register of Historic Places listings in South Side Chicago
- National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Old Stone Gate, Chicago Union Stockyards". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "NHL nomination for Union Stock Yard Gate" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-04-23.
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