G. H. Hammond Meat Packing


In 1868, George Hammond was living in Detroit and working with Marcus Towle. Mr. Towle was the first to use chipped ice from the Great Lakes to ship frozen processed beef by rail to Boston. He pioneered the concept of refrigerated rail cars which enabled packing plants to expand their markets to customers thousands of miles away. George Hammond thought this was a great idea. Together, they moved to northwest Indiana where they established the G.H. Hammond Company, a meat packing plant. Along with other area investors, George Hammond, Marcus Towle and Caleb Ives, founded the company in 1869. On April 11, 1873, the city was incorporated at the State House and named Hammond, Indiana, after George H. Hammond. Local stories have it that Mr. Hammond and Mr. Hohman flipped a coin to see who would have the honor of having the city named after him. The loser, it was reported, would get the main street name. Mr. Hammond won the coin toss and the rest is history!

When fire broke out at the packing plant in 1901 it quickly spread throughout the entire facility. More than 2,000 workers suddenly found themselves without a job. The plant reportedly slaughtered more than 350,000 head of cattle; 400,000 head of sheep, and 350,000 pigs in its final year of operation. The plant covered over thirty acres and was located just north of the downtown area on Hohman Avenue and Willow Court. (hhs59.com)

Disaster struck at the turn of the century. A huge fire consumed the G.H. Hammond Meat Company in October 1901, causing $500,000 in damage and putting the company completely out of business less than two years later. More than $3,000,000 in investment got burned up, including 3,332 beef carcasses valued at $50 each in the old beef chill room. The company announced it will not rebuild in Hammond. (Lost Hammond)