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Armour Meatpacking Plant
National City, Illinois

Three ruinous sites bear witness to the former role of East St. Louis and its surrounding towns as a pivitol center for meatpacking, as well as the tens of thousands of jobs that were lost as industry and transportation evolved beyond the facilities that operated here. Chief among them is the Armour Meatpacking Plant, abandoned for over fifty years. Its stands in utter ruin; it is legendary in urban exploration circles as the most spectacular wreck in the entire region, a mecca for those who visit abandoned buildings.

In its heyday, Armour employed 4,500 people, slaughtering and butchering the cows and pigs that came through the nearby stockyards. The plant offered guided tours of its slaughterhouse and processing lines to curious visitors.

But industry needs changed, and faced with both the demands of an organized labor force, an increasingly aged facility, and an industry moving towards decentralization, Armour chose to relocate to elsewhere in the Midwest. The plant was closed in 1959 and "donated" to the city of East St. Louis. Since then, entire buildings have collapsed, brick has crumbled, roofs rotted away, and a forest has grown up around the plant. No efforts have been made to clear the land for any reuse; it remains an icon of the area's deteroration and a beacon for explorers of ruins.

If you go, do not try to climb the smokestacks!!

August 2001

November 2006

Seriously. Don't even think about it.

Interior photographs, July 2009

Rooftop photographs, July 2009

And just what can you see from the top of this massive pile of ruin? Quite a bit, especially with a strong zoom lens.

Downtown skyline

Midtown skyline - St. Xavier Church at left, Continental Building in the center, St. Stanislaus Kostka at right

Granite City Steel

Spivey Building, downtown East St. Louis

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