“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Miles City in Custer County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

The Chappel Brothers Corporation

Of 1928 - 1939

The Chappel Brothers Corporation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, September 11, 2020
1. The Chappel Brothers Corporation Marker
Captions: (background) Montana range horses, 1904; (upper center) Cowboy feed colt; (upper right) Open Range Rodeo.

By the 1920s the horse industry was thriving in eastern Montana. "There were horses on every knoll and hill in sight." In the 1930s the Great Depression combined with drought drove people to abandon their farms and ranches, turning lose (sic) their stock on the public domain. Draft horses were no longer needed as mechanized equipment replaced them. As a result, there were more horses on the range than it could support. Only worth 2 cents a pound with no place to ship them, the horse market collapsed. Seeing opportunity on the open range, two brothers who ran a cannery in Illinois, moved to Miles City where they could set up their office headquarters on Main Street.
From 1928 to 1939 the Chappel Brothers Corporation (CBC) referred to by some as 'Corn Beef and Cabbage') used grazing land from Hardin to Fort Belknap and Miles City to Wolf Point. Their western ranch headquarters was at Sunday Creek on the Kinsey Road. In 1935 60,000 head of horses ranged over 10,000 square miles in eastern Montana.
The CBC outfit provided well-paying jobs to young men who knew horses and could endure long hours of hard and fast riding, rounding

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up free-range horses and driving the dry mares, old horses and those not fit to work to shipping points bound for the Illinois based packing plant. A day herd of horses gathered for slaughter numbered more than 5,000 head. Once shipped to the cannery, the horses became chicken feed, fertilizer, cat and dog food, and glue. The CBC expanded when the Russian government signed an agreement to receive tons of horse meat for food.
The cowboys who worked for the CBC earned $40 to $45 a month, premium wages during those days of hardship where the work was strenuous and dangerous. Hands were in the saddle from 3 a.m. until 8 or 9 p.m., seven days a week. After the CBC closed down, several former CBC hands were instrumental in raising stock and putting on most of the rodeos in eastern Montana. If you could say you rode for the CBC you wore a badge of honor.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1928.
Location. 46° 24.303′ N, 105° 51.137′ W. Marker is in Miles City, Montana, in Custer County. Marker is on Main Street near South 5th Street, on the right when traveling east. The marker is in Riverside Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Miles City MT 59301, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Photography (here, next to this marker); The Horse Nation and Native People
The Chappel Brothers Corporation Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, September 11, 2020
2. The Chappel Brothers Corporation Marker
(here, next to this marker); Early Horse History (a few steps from this marker); Riverside Park Steamboats (within shouting distance of this marker); The Olive Hotel (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dr. Redd's Brick Building (about 400 feet away); Commercial Block (about 400 feet away); Miles City Main Street Historic District (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Miles City.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 1, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 401 times since then and 124 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 1, 2021, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Sep. 30, 2023