Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Hammond, George

Born in New England, George Hammond moved to Detroit in 1854 and built a mattress factory.  Two years later the mattress factory burnt down and Hammond decided to try his hand at being a local butcher.  Being involved in the retail and wholesale of meat, Hammond grew wealthy as the city of Detroit grew.  Hammond’s biggest success came after he bought the patent for a refrigerated railcar from William Davis, who failed to obtain financial resources for building his railcars, to haul fresh meat across the country.
The first shipment by refrigerator car was made from Detroit to Boston in 1869.  Hammond built a meat packing plant in Hohman, Indiana, which became the George H. Hammond Co., in 1873.  The town eventually was renamed Hammond, Indiana after the butcher, who remained a Detroiter at heart.  By the middle of the 1880s, Hammond built a new plant in Omaha, Nebraska.  By that time, Hammond’s company was slaughtering over 100,000 cattle a year, and it owned a fleet of 800 refrigerator cars. 

Hammond died in 1886. His company became insignificant in the meat industry and no longer challenged the giant Chicago packers, who acquired Hammond at the turn of the century, which then merged with their National Packing Co.

Written by Stacy Newman

 


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