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Significant dates

1918-1919: Construction of the Midland Meat Packing Plant, at 2001 Leach Ave., in the Sioux City Stockyards, with major additions made in 1931, 1950, 1954 and 1975-76. The building was designed by the nationally prominent architectural firm of Gardner and Lindberg of Chicago.

1920: Plant went into receivership and closed.

1921: Wilson and Company of Chicago, a big packer, took an option on the plant, which continued to sit idle into 1924.

1924: The plant was auctioned off to the highest bidder, the architect, Horace Gardner of Chicago for $622,500, who served as an agent for Swift and Company, who reopened the plant on March 17. At the time, Swift was the largest packer in the world.

1938-39: A 119-day strike that shut down the plant, followed by a 67-day strike in 1948.

1949: On Dec. 14 an underground national gas leak caused an explosion, killing 21 employees and injuring 91. It was the city's worst industrial accident in terms of loss of life and property damage of $1 million.

1950: Plant remodeling began, which was completed in 1952.

1953: Plant and the area hit by a Floyd River flood on June 8, which also destroyed the railroad yards, acres of livestock pens and causing extensive damage to the Cudahy, Armour and Swift packing plants. Swift and Armour remodeled their plants. Cudahy closed the next year.

1973: Swift and Company organized as Esmark, a national holding company. Swift Fresh Meats was formed to retain control of the meat packing interests.

1974: Midland/Swift plant closed late this year, mostly because the plant's design did not meet modern packing standards and moved to the Bridgeport Industrial Park; Swift closed for good in 1985..

1975: Kermit Lohry, who co-owned Kay Dee Feed Co., bought the building and converted it into a shopping center and recreation complex. He renamed the building the KD Stockyards Station, which opened in 1976. At the high point, almost 50 retail shops and restaurants called KD home, including a bowling alley, artists and antiques.

1979: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2004: After a 2004 fire, the complex was forced to close and city inspectors declared the building unfit for occupancy..

2006: An arson fire further damaged the structure.

2007: The City Council accepted a quit claim deed to obtain ownership, paving the way for demolition.

2009: The council awarded a contract to Dore & Associates Contracting Inc. of Bay City, Mich., to remove the asbestos and demolish the building for $3.156 million.

2010: Dore beats it June 30 demolition deadline. The land has been seeded and is for sale.

Sources: Sioux City Journal archives, Pearl Street Research Center and "The History of the Midland Swift Meat Packing Plant."

-- Lynn Zerschling

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