The Bourbon Stock Yards records consists of the general business records of the company including bank records, correspondence, customer records, insurance reports, legal documents, newsletters, publications, reports, and tariff statements. The records document activities ranging from data from cattle shows, railroad and transportation matters, the American Stock yard Association, the Louisville Livestock Exchange and Feeder Calf Sales. The Bourbon Stock yard Records date from approximately 1900 through the 1970s.
The Bourbon House Hotel was established in 1834, catering to farmers in town to sell their livestock at the local slaughter houses. The hotel owners built large pens behind “the house” to hold the animals. Bourbon House, located at Washington Street and Cable Avenue, became a center of livestock buying and selling. During the 1800’s Louisville emerged as a leading meat packing center and the Bourbon House evolved into the Bourbon Stock Yards. In 1864 the stockyards moved closer to the railroad to the corner of Main and Johnson Streets. In 1875 the facility included a modern public market with docks, offices, and other services. John G. Barret and William R. Ray became presidents of the newly incorporated Bourbon Stock Yards Company. Between 1900 and 1950 the company courted buyers all over the eastern United States and expanded the plant. Neither the promotional programs nor physical improvements could combat the market declined due to a change from the use of railroads to trucking as the major mode of transportation. The Lincoln Finance Co. (now, Lincoln International Corp.) took ownership in 1968. Under the direction of DeCoursey Combs, the company added trucking docks, established a livestock auction program, and installed a computer system. Beginning in 1994 the stockyards were managed by the Kentucky Livestock Exchange, while still under the ownership of the Lincoln International Corp. The last auction was held March 29, 1999 and the property was sold to the Home of the Innocents.