The Swift Butter Company

Written By: nppladmin - Mar• 05•22
Originally published to on March 4, 2022.

Welcome back to our Facebook Friday history series! Today’s history is looks at an iconic building next to the railroad tracks–The Swift Butter Company! This article and building photographs are from the book, “City Bones” by Kaycee Anderson and Steve Olson. Second edition. 2012. Published by the Lincoln County Historical Museum.  Enjoy!

“Swift & Company of Chicago, a national company specializing in the handling of poultry and eggs, and in the production of butter and cheese, chose North Platte Nebraska, as the site of a new manufacturing plant in 1928.

On February 2, 1928, the Daily Telegraph reported that Swift had selected a site for the construction of a new plant. The site of the old Union Pacific round house was the chosen location. The place would be three stories tall, with ground space of 72 by 126 feet. The building would include reinforced concrete and fire proof construction. The lease gave Swift enough land for the erection of additional units when future demand warranted.

Plans revealed in September of 1928 indicated a change to the size, scope, and location of the building. The land area was reduced to 76 by 110 feet; however, the height would now be four stories tall. The upper three floors would be solid glass.

On September 24, 1928, the contract for construction was given to Collins Brothers of Kansas City. Work on the foundation began the next week.

The final plans for the building showed the building site dimensions had once again changed. The final measurements were 75 by 120 feet. The plans also included switch track connections that would allow direct shipments of produce to markets and unloading dock facilities.

The new building would face East 7th Street between Pine (now Bailey) and Chestnut Street.

Feeding batteries for poultry, located on the light airy top floors, would accommodate 12,000 chickens at one time. The chickens would remain in the plant for an average of one week before being killed and dressed. Fifteen thousand chickens would be processed every week.

A butter churn, capable of making 1,800 pounds of butter a day, would be in service with room for a second unit, if needed.

Eggs would be handled in the grading and packing room. The plant staffed eight women to candle, sort, and pack the fresh eggs in cartons.

Rooms for cheese vats would also be included in the construction. Fresh milk would be supplied from dairy farmers within fifteen miles of North Platte. Cream would be handed from the east of North Platte to the border of Lincoln County and from the west of the city along with the Union Pacific and Burlington Railroad lines to the Nebraska state line.

On April 22, 1929, it was announced that the plant was open. The first wrapped package of butter manufactured at the plant was presented to the Chamber of Commerce.

Twenty thousand pounds of butter would be produced per week with the first carload of butter being shipped to Manchester, New York.

On July 18, 1929, a grand opening celebration for the public was held. The plant closed for the day so visitors could tout the new building.

By 1950, Swift & Company was gone from the building. Hipp Wholesale moved in and remained for a number of years.

The Swift & Company Building remains standing today as one of the largest buildings ever built in North Platte. It is a visible part of the historic skyline of North Platte.””

See you next week for another look at North Platte History!

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