[ca. 1900]. · Kansas City
The Kansas City stock yards were established in 1871, largely by investors from Boston, who were attempting to create a rival cattle market to the one thriving in Chicago. Kansas City quickly grew a close second to Chicago through several factors, including a plethora of railroad lines, proximity to western and southwestern cattle producers, high-quality facilities, and competitive yardage fees. The stock yards were built on the Kansas side of the Kansas River south of the tracks belonging to the Union Pacific, Kansas Pacific, and Missouri Pacific railroads, but soon expanded to parts of the Missouri side as well. This helped make the Kansas City Stock Yards the premier hub for the Western cattle trade by the turn of the century.
Judging by the construction and the packing houses mentioned here, this print was produced before the calamitous 1906 fire, from which the stock yards nevertheless quickly recovered. By 1917 the influence of the stock yards and packing houses was so significant to the national food supply that they were intentionally burned, largely believed to be the work of German terrorists looking to slow down the war effort. Also helping to date the broadside is the artist's credit, belonging to Emery A. Filleau (1855- 1935), a prominent New York-born artist who lived and worked in Kansas City until about the turn of the century, when he moved to Houston, Texas. In fact, in Powers' TEXAS PAINTERS, SCULPTORS & GRAPHIC ARTISTS, the authors contend that Filleau was already in Houston "before 1900." According to Susan V. Craig's BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF KANSAS ARTISTS (ACTIVE BEFORE 1945), Filleau advertised himself in an 1894 Kansas City directory as "artist, designer, illustrator, and general sketch artist; portraits, landscapes, buildings, birds-eye views and street scenes in all materials and for all purposes." Filleau appears in OCLC as the illustrator for a handful of western-related works printed in Kansas City during his time there, including COWBOY LIFE ON THE SIDETRACK, AMONG THE OZARKS, and LAST RAID OF THE DALTONS.
This attractive view is not listed on OCLC, nor in Reps. A rare and significant view of a location vital to the cattle trade. Susan V. Craig, BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF KANSAS ARTISTS (ACTIVE BEFORE 1945), p.123. Powers, TEXAS PAINTERS, SCULPTORS & GRAPHIC ARTISTS: A BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF ARTISTS IN TEXAS BEFORE 1942, p.168. (Inventory #: WRCAM55490)