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Bringing Out the Dead: The Great Stockyard Fire of 1917

curiousKC Inspires a Delicate Question

The aftermath of the West Bottoms stockyard fire of 1917.
The aftermath of the West Bottoms stockyard fire of 1917.
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One of the biggest agricultural disasters in Kansas City history occurred in 1917, when a fire scorched the stockyard in the West Bottoms, leaving thousands of dead cattle and hogs charred in its wake.

Consider it an industrial-scale barbecue.

William Wheeler, a cattle farmer from near Grain Valley, saw a photo of the carnage caused by the fire on the wall of his local livestock auction house. The picture prompted Wheeler to ask the following question for curiousKC: “How did they handle that? How did they clean it up.”

No doubt, it was tough duty. Learn how they cleaned it up in this week’s curiousKC video.

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