Cowtown Yoostabes: Fertilizer, Feathers, and the Fifth Ward (Part 3)

Part 3 (see Part 1 and Part 2) is a Cowtown yoostabe two-fer: Billy Bob’s and Mount Manure.

This recent aerial photo shows the Stockyards area. Labeled are Billy Bob’s Texas honky tonk and the Fiesta supermarket in a shopping center just north of the Stockyards.

This aerial photo shows the Stockyards area in 1952. Labeled are what the Billy Bob’s Texas and the Fiesta supermarket sites yoostabe. The Billy Bob’s Texas building was built in 1910 as an open-air livestock barn (with a sloping floor for easier cleaning). In 1936 the building was enclosed by the city and used to house cattle for the Stock Show. Livestock events were held in the barn until the Stock Show moved to Will Rogers Memorial Complex in 1943. During World War II the building housed Globe Aircraft Corporation, which built AT-10 trainer airplanes. Later the building housed a Clark’s discount department store. I remember buying some lawn furniture there, about where the mechanical bull would later be. The bull has held up better than the lawn furniture did. With three acres of floor space, Clark’s was so big that the stock boys got around on roller skates. Billy Bob’s opened in 1981.

Now let’s move north and climb Mount Manure. The 1952 aerial photo shows the Stockyards when it stretched from North Main Street east to the packing plants and from Northeast 23rd Street north to Northeast 28th Street. It was a vast labyrinth of wooden pens and chutes holding hundreds of animals. That many animals generated a lot of manure. That manure was removed from the pens and chutes and trucked across Northeast 28th Street to land that had once been the site of the Stockyards water plant. There truckload after truckload of manure was dumped, eventually rising to form a mountain of manure. Little went to waste at the Stockyards and packing plants. The manure was sold as fertilizer. I remember going to Mount Manure with my father, who worked at the Stockyards, and helping him load his pickup truck bed with manure to spread on his garden. He’d back up to the big brown mountain, then we’d grab shovels and serve ourselves. I was not very tall at the time, but I remember Mount Manure as being about twenty feet high and two hundred feet in diameter—about the size of the Fiesta supermarket.

In the aerial photo the darker area at the summit of Mount Manure was the fresher, undried manure.

By the 1960s Mount Manure was gone, as were many of the Stockyards pens. In the 1990s the Fiesta store was built on the site of Mount Manure. The site’s rich past may or may not have been featured in the brochure presented to the supermarket’s potential investors.

Tomorrow: Something that has nothing at all to do with animal digestion. I promise.

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