Thorn Apple Valley Slaughterhouse
Location Name: Thorn Apple Valley Slaughterhouse (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Abandoned Site (Slaughterhouse)
Year Completed: 1920
The Thorn Apple Valley Slaughterhouse dates back to 1920. The 60,000 square foot hog processing and packaging plant was part of Detroit’s Eastern Market. Prior to becoming Thorn Apple Valley, the slaughterhouse was owned by Frederick Packing Company, who also dealt with hog processing. In 1959, Henry Dorfman and a partner bought Frederick Packing and began expanding the business. In 1969 the company’s name was changed to Frederick and Herrud, reflecting the acquisition of another company. In 1971 Dorfman’s company went public, trading stocks on the NASDAQ. Business was going well in 1984 when the company once again changed their name, this time to Thorn Apple Valley Inc.
The Eastern Market slaughterhouse was upgraded in the 1990s. At its peak in the mid-1990s the slaughterhouse was able to process an astounding 1,800 hogs per hour. Despite the investment in the Detroit facility, Thorn Apple Valley decided to close the operation in 1998. Today, the building shows evidence of over a decade of abandonment and neglect. Long ago dismantled by scrappers, little of the building’s machinery is intact. The once booming meatpacking plant is little more than an industrial relic and a haven for graffiti artists. What the future holds for the Thorn Apple Valley Slaughterhouse is unknown, but the recent development along the Dequindre Cut (which runs behind the property) may spur either its renewal or demise.Sources