Reproduction of Union Stock Yards arch, 1888. Terracotta. Designed by Burnham and Root and created by the Northwestern Terra Cotta Works, Chicago, Illinois. Gift of U.S.Y. & T. Industries, Inc., Prince Charitable Trust. 1984.726.1
THE/ NORTH WESTERN/ TERRACOTTA CO.; THE/ NORTH WESTERN/ TERRACOTTA CO.
The archway originally stood at the National Live Stock Bank, designed by the architecture firm of Burnham and Root, from 1888-1934. After the stockyards fire in 1934, the arch was installed at the Stock Yards Inn and remained there until the Inn was demolished in 1976. The arch was then reconstructed around one of the International Amphitheatre entrances and remained until 1984. Today, the arch is a main feature in the Chicago History Museum's cafe on the first floor. The donor, U. S. Y. & T. Industries, Inc. is affiliated with and/or the same company/organization as the Prince Charitable Trusts, which was established in 1947 from the bequests of Frederick Henry Prince (1859-1953), owner of the Union Stockyards in Chicago.
Depicted on the lower left is a cowboy and on the lower right is John D. Gillett (1819-1888). John D. Gillett of Logan County, IL, owned and operated 18,000 acres of prairie land and he became one of the largest and most highly regarded cattle ranchers in the Midwest. He exhibited the first champion steer at the International in 1878. The cows, bulls, sheep, horses, and pig featured on the arch represent the kinds of livestock that were the lifeblood of the stock yards.
Picturing livestock handlers in high relief, this terra cotta arch first stood at the entrance of the National Live Stock Bank and then moved to the Stock Yards Inn, both at the Union Stock Yard. The Union Stock Yard, which opened for business in 1865, was the world's largest stockyard. This arch is one of the few extant physical Objects that can remind us of the lively history of this industry that was an important employer of thousands of Chicago residents.