by Julie Ann Madden
From hundreds of livestock commission firms’ bullet pencils to photographs of Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy campaigning, an Akron man has collected much Sioux City Stockyards’ memorabilia.
Lauren Frisch of Akron began collecting after he retired from working at the Sioux City Stockyards in 1997.
At the Akron Public Library this month, a small sample of his collection is on display.
In his collection are many bullet pencils printed with a variety of names commission firms who bought and sold livestock at the Sioux City Stockyards. Some of the bullet pencils have no erasers, which means they are first edition bullet pencils.
“Farmers consigned livestock to a commission firm which sold the animals to meat packers,” explained Frisch, who began working there in 1953. “I did every job the stockyards had: yardman, deliveryman, weigh-master, hay crew, construction crew, truck chute foreman, scale foreman and part of the cleaning gang. “Whatever there was, we had to do it.”
After his first 15 years, Frisch went to worked for John Morrell as a hog buyer.
“I sold hogs for 30 years,” said Frisch, who collected commission firm’s calendars, some dated as early as the 1920s; photographs of annual Pork Days celebrations and an aerial shot of the stockyards — before Interstate 29 was constructed; and cream cans and canes from different businesses in the stockyards. Plus, he has newspaper clippings of the stockyards’ history and closing.
The last load of hogs brought to the stockyards belonged to Ken Hoffman of Westfield, said Frisch.
He also has a railroad-style lantern used before there was electricity at the stockyards, a match safe, a covered wagon piggy bank and several pen locks, knives, watch fobs, belt buckles and employee badges.
Many are imprinted with names such as John Morrell, Swift, Steele Simon & Co., Vickers, Berman & Vickers; Wagner, Garrison & Abbot; Vickers, Herman & Brooks; John Clay & Co.; Max Rosenstock & Co.; Cudahy; Hormel; Armour and The Live Stock National Bank.
“Many of the items are what the companies gave to farmers,” said Frisch.
However, he also belongs to a Stockyards Collectors’ Club, which meets once a year, holding an auction, and throughout the year members buy and trade items from each other.
“This is just a partial showing of my collection,” said Frisch, adding he lived on a farm but wasn’t a farmer. He did have a few livestock: hogs, cattle and sheep though.
Stop by the Akron Public Library and check out this unique collection.