It was said that the Big Four Packing Company would own and operate the Santa Fe spur that was to be constructed from the line of the Santa Fe to the packing house site.


It was said that the Big Four Packing Company would own and operate the Santa Fe spur that was to be constructed from the line of the Santa Fe to the packing house site. The dispute between the packing house people and the Santa Fe over the location of the spur was said to have resulted in such a proposition from the packing house company, which was finally agreed upon by the railroad.

The spur was to leave the main line just north of the bridge that lay due west of the main packing house building. It would be on a grade of one and one-quarter percent. It would be available for all kinds of ordinary traffic. It was said that this was decided when some of the Santa Fe officials went out to the site in their special car on April 6.

Dozens of prospective buyers were out in the Armourdale Addition almost any hour of the day and until late in the evening. The automobiles of the salesmen were kept busy on an average of 18 hours a day. Many of the lots in the addition and in the adjacent additions were being sold. The citizenry was told that the Armourdale lots would make any man a clear profit of at least $100 per pair within 60 days.


The architect in charge of the planning of the building for the Catholic University arrived at Sacred Heart on April 10. The plan in the main as originally drawn, though the addition of one story to one of the buildings required a revising.

The Benedictine Order, which would build the college, was ready to begin work as soon as Shawnee was ready. Active operations were expected in the very near future.

The school would be for boys only to start. It was to have the support of over 70,000 Catholics, and Shawnee would become the Catholic education center of the southwest. Several other institutions were planned from time to time surrounding the college. Among the first would be a big Catholic hospital. Eventually, a school for girls would be built.


By mid-April, Secretary Charles F. Barrett of the Board of Agriculture had resigned to return to Shawnee. He chose to participate in the development of business interests in his home city. He also said he would take an active part in Shawnee’s capital campaign. He said, “Shawnee will have nothing to do with a boycott of Oklahoma City’s commercial interests as a feature of the capital fight. The boycott is as un-American and dangerous a weapon as its twin evil, anarchy. The citizens of Shawnee have no use for either.

“Shawnee stands for a fair field and no favor in the capital location matter. The Ledbetter-Oklahoma City plan offers neither opportunity nor an equal right to the cities that are natural competitors for the honor. It opens the way to unlimited raids upon the public treasury and the taxpayers of the state without any tangible prospect of returns.”

For those reasons and others, Shawnee opposed the plan submitted for boycotting Oklahoma City.


The work on the packing company’s belt line was progressing favorably, per reports. Much headway was made on the section between the packing plant and the Santa Fe railroad. Dirt removed from the excavation for the packing house was being used to make the long fill, which was about two-thirds completed.

As soon as the fill for the spur was completed, the dirt taken from the packing house site would be used to level up the ground to the north and east of the site, where the proposed stockyards were to be built. The excavation for the packing house was to be 80 feet deep, the full size of the building. An immense amount of dirt would consequently have to be removed. This work would take several weeks. The proposed packing house was to be so enormous that the work already done had hardly made a noticeable change in the hill where scores of men and horses were working.

The section of the belt line under construction left the Santa Fe track just north of a small bridge and swept toward the packing plant in a long curve almost to the corner of the building when it took a due west course. It maintained along the entire length of the plant. It was to continue west and south to connect with the Rock Island.

W.S. Mathews, Superintendent of the Big Four Packing Plant, was currently in Chicago in conference with railway officials relative to belt line matters. Through those dealings, it was expected that in just a short time, materials would start showing up for construction on all the structures. The report was that there were already about 40 loads of materials on the road and when it finally arrived, it would come fast.

The enormous size of the packing plant would not be fully realized until the foundation was in. Some idea of its great extent may then be gained. Though it was to be built by most compact plans known in packing house construction, was to cover an area equal to a full city block and would be 52 feet high. It would have a greater capacity than the Morris & Company plant at Oklahoma City, per its designer.

All this information in the local newspaper gave the entire citizenry of the city much excitement. It appeared that the construction of the packing plant and the stockyards would put Shawnee on the map as the greatest city in the southwest. It also would put the city in the lead for the establishment of the state capital. As will be seen in future articles, it all turned out to be a scam!

(These stories, and hundreds more, will appear in the comprehensive history of the city of Shawnee. The 1,200-1,500-page work may appear in two volumes. Volume one will consist of the beginnings through the 1950s. Volume two will start with the 1960s and progress to the current date.)