Sunday, July 31, 2016

Yerington Monday: People’s Packing Plant

People’s Packing Plant

The mining camps around Nevada demanded a large amount of meat.  In Virginia City during the boom period, there were no slaughterhouses in Carson Valley or nearby towns.  Practically all livestock was driven or hauled to the vicinity of Virginia City, where it was slaughtered cooled overnight. And delivered to butcher shops the following day.

It was not until 1902 that two modern slaughterhouses were built in Reno.  The Humphrey Supply Company and the Nevada Packing Company built large modern plants that could slaughter large number of livestock, properly handle carcasses, manufacture meat products, and deliver meat and meat products to butcher shops in western Nevada and eastern California.  Both packing plants closed in 1948.

A third large packing plan was built in Yerington by Louis J Isola and Ralph Mariconi in 1928.  The partnership of Louis Isola and Ralph Mariconi  lasted until 1962, when the People's Market was sold to Richard Fulstone.  Richard Fulstone resold the plant to a group of local businessmen.  The plant could not continue to operate as a financial success, because large regional packing plant began to furnish meat to local butcher plants.  The plant  was closed.  All buildings and facilities have deteriorated to a point where the plant would now be unusable.

There are no other federally inspected slaughter plants in Nevada.  With rapid transportation and cooling facilities available, fresh USDA-inspected meats can be delivered quickly to butcher shops or large restaurants from out-of-state slaughterhouses.  The chances of s large slaughterhouse being opened in Nevada are minimal now or in the foreseeable future.

Louis J Isola

Louis J Isola was born in 1902 in the town of Cosono Visco near the city of Lucca in the province of Lucca.  Louis left Italy because he did not like the restrictions society imposed on the individual.  He was also sure that he could advance his ambitions better in the United Stat than in Italy.  

Louis’ trip from Lucca to Yerington was a harrowing experience.  H was unable to speak English but , fortunately, he was helped by strangers.  His first job was in a butcher shop.  The owner worked him very had and he quit.  He took ranch and other jobs to earn money.  When Louis first arrived in Nevada, he did not like the climate or the desert.  He kept thinking of the mild climate and green fields back in his home in Italy.  He gradually lerned to love Nevada’s climate and the desert.  He spent most of the remainder of his life in Yerington.

Eventually Louis opened a butcher shop where he was in a familiar occupation.  An opportunity to purchase a struggling slaughterhouse in Yerington came to his attention.  Since he did not have enough money to complete the transaction, he took a partner, Ralph Mariconi.  This partnership lasted many years and ended when the slaughterhouse was sold.

Louis Isola was a staunch backer of youngsters in 4-H livestock clubs.  His interest in youth programs attracted the attention of the people in the College of Agriculture of the University of Nevada,  Louis judged many livestock lasses in Nevada and the west.  He was considered an outstanding livestock judge.

Louis helped plan the slaughterhouse on the Main Station Farm of the University which is used to train students in meat studies.  His reputation as a cattle feeder & slaughterhouse operator, plus his willingness to help in promoting worthy causes resulted in his being voted into the Cowboy Hal of Fame.

The Italian government honored Louis as an outstanding Italian citizen who made good in a foreign country.  The Chamber of Commerce of Lucca also honored him for his success in his adopted country.  The Sons of Italy in Sparks had a special dinner to show their appreciation of a successful countryman.

Even after he sold the People’s Packing Plant, he continued his interest in cattle  He purchased and fed cattle in a feed yard owned by Eddie Snyder of Yerington.

The impact of Louis’ activities in Nevada was tremendous.  He purchased and slaughtered thousands of head of cattle, sheep, and hogs.  He purchased thousands of tons of hay and grain.  He employed a substantial number of men.  All of his activities were beneficial to the economics of Western Nevada.  

He married Helen Dardis in 1930.  No children blessed their marriage.  He died in 1982.  

Without a doubt, Louis Isola was a talented and gifted individual.  Nevada benefited from his having lived and worked here.

How Peoples Packing Company looks today:




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