Daily Almanac for Christmas Day, December 25, 2022

On this date in 1865, Union Stock Yards opens giving the south side of Chicago a distinctive smell. Here is the Union Stock Yards Entry. Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org


The Union Stock Yard & Transit Co., or The Yards, was the meatpacking district in Chicago for more than a century, starting in 1865. The district was operated by a group of railroad companies that acquired marshland and turned it into a centralized processing area. By the 1890s, the railroad capital behind the Union Stockyards was Vanderbilt money. The Union Stockyards operated in the New City community area for 106 years, helping Chicago become known as the “hog butcher for the world,” the center of the American meatpacking industry for decades. The yards became inspiration for literature, and social reform.

The stockyards became the focal point of the rise of some of the earliest international companies. These refined industrial innovations and influenced financial markets. Both the rise and fall of the district reflect the evolution of transportation services and technology in America. The stockyards have become an integral part of the popular culture of Chicago’s history. They are considered one of the chief drivers that empowered the animal–industrial complex into its modern form.

From the Civil War until the 1920s and peaking in 1924, more meat was processed in Chicago than in any other place in the world. Construction began in June 1865 with an opening on Christmas Day in 1865. The Yards closed at midnight on Friday, July 30, 1971, after several decades of decline during the decentralization of the meatpacking industry. The Union Stock Yard Gate was designated a Chicago Landmark on February 24, 1972, and a National Historic Landmark on May 29, 1981.


Christmas Day

Christmas Day is a Christian holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Although the actual date of Christ’s birth is unknown, it has been celebrated on December 25 since the 4th century. Christmas is also extensively celebrated by non-Christians as a seasonal holiday, on which popular traditions such as gift-giving, feasting, and caroling take place.

As Christianity began to spread in the 4th century, the Christmas feast day was set to December 25 by Pope Julius I; although no one knows for certain, some say that this was to align with the Roman pagan holiday Dies natalis solis invicti, the birth of the invincible Sun.”

Today’s rich mosaic of Christmas customs dates back through the ages. Evergreen branches were used to symbolize life in ancient solstice festivals, as they stayed green in winter. This tradition was absorbed by Christians, who interpreted the evergreens as the Paradise tree and began decorating them with apples. The candles and lights associated with Christmas, meant to symbolize guiding beacons for the Christ child, may have evolved from the Yule log, which was lit to entice the Sun to return as part of the jol (Yule) festival in pagan Scandinavia.”

Question of the Day

What’s the best way to start a coal fire?

To start a coal fire, get a good hot fire going with hardwood kindling. Then add a shovelful or two of coal. When this coal has begun to burn, add more coal. It will usually take about 10 minutes for the wood fire to get hot enough to ignite the coal, so be sure to use enough kindling to last that long. Leave any dampers open for a good 10 minutes or so to get rid of the gases. Anthracite coal will not light unless it has a bottom draft.

Advice of the Day

If at Christmas ice hangs on the willow, clover may be cut at Easter.

Home Hint of the Day

To discourage spiders, spray rubbing alcohol on windowsills or leave perfumed soap chips scattered about.

Word of the Day


Fear of wind

Puzzle of the Day

What confections were carried on Noah’s ark?

Preserved pears (pairs)


  • Samuel de Champlain (explorer) – 1635
  • W.C. Fields (actor) – 1946
  • Charlie Chaplin (actor) – 1977
  • Billy Martin (baseball player) – 1989
  • Dean Martin (singer & actor) – 1995
  • James Brown (singer; the Godfather of Soul”“) – 2006
  • George Michael (singer, songwriter) – 2016


  • William Collins (English poet) – 1721
  • Clara Barton (founder of the American Red Cross) – 1821
  • Humphrey Bogart (actor) – 1899
  • Cab Calloway (musician) – 1907
  • Rod Serling (author) – 1924
  • Gary Sandy (actor) – 1945
  • Jimmy Buffet (singer) – 1946
  • Sissy Spacek (actress) – 1949
  • Annie Lennox (singer) – 1954
  • Justin Trudeau (Canadian prime minister) – 1971
  • Dido (singer) – 1971


  • Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, abandoned off the coast of Hispaniola– 1492
  • From the Pennsylvania side, General George Washington’s troops crossed the icy Delaware River at night during a winter storm for a surprise attack against a Hessian garrison in Trenton, New Jersey (American Revolutionary War)– 1776
  • Bytown (Ottawa) and Prescott Railway opened in Ontario– 1854
  • Union Stock Yards opens giving the south side of Chicago a distinctive smell– 1865
  • Pansy blossoms picked, Manhattan, Montana– 1896
  • Comic strip hero Dick Tracy married Tess Trueheart– 1949


  • A chilly -57 degrees F at Fort Smith, Northwest Territories– 1917
  • White Christmas from central North Carolina to New England in wake of major snowstorm, even coastal Virginia was white– 1966
  • Temperatures throughout northern New England averaged -39 degrees F– 1980
  • A Christmas Day mudslide ran through St. Sophia Camp, San Bernardino, California– 2003
  • 1.3” snow fell in Atlanta, Georgia– 2010

COURTESY www.almanac.com