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National Stockyards

National City is barely a town at all. The village was essentially incorporated by the Stockyards company itself -- a common event a hundred years ago, used to avoid paying corporate taxes to the city of East St. Louis. Similar tactics produced Sauget, Illinois on the other side of town. The National City Stockyards were once one of the biggest employers in the area and among the largest stockyards in the nation, handling thousands of heads of cattle and other livestock daily in their heyday.

Today, National City is a ghost town. The yards closed many years ago, leaving these enigmatic concrete ruins behind. The site which once teamed with livestock now consists mostly empty fields and vacant concrete frames. The National Hotel on the site burned in the 1980s. A 1999 fire -- possibly intentional -- destroyed the 19th century Exchange Building on the grounds. A replacement building still conducts some business on the grounds, though livestock no longer passes through.

Most of the stockyard's remains were demolished in 2009.

The stockyards are bracketed by the spectacular ruins of two abandoned meat packing complexes -- Hunter to the south, Armour to the north

For more on the Stockyards, see East St. Louis, Illinois: "Hog Capital of the Nation", a lengthy and in-depth history of the Stockyards at Ecology of Absence.

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