Back in the late '80s, before I lived in Fort Worth, in one of my early jobs I made a sales call to some sort of wholesale meat company and went into a large refrigerated room where there were sides of beef hanging from a rail on the ceiling. What caught me by surprise was the strong and very distinct smell that I had never experienced before when handling ordinary grocery store cuts of meat. It wasn't necessarily an unpleasant smell - but I did not like it. I was glad to leave that building - and for a number of minutes afterwards I continued to smell it.
Sometime a year or two after that I visited Fort Worth and drove by the ruins. Despite the fact that something about their appearance creeped me out, I parked my car and got out to try and get a closer look at them from the sidewalk. Then, all of a sudden, the wind must have shifted and I caught a whiff coming from one of the buildings of that exact same smell I had experienced at the meat company. My only guess is that, after all those years of use, the smell had permeated itself into the walls or perhaps into the grime on the walls.
I don't know if that smell still exists - that was, by now, a good many years ago and I have not gotten out of my car since then when driving by. But let's just say that smell only added to the feeling of being creeped out by the place.
Are the ruins worth saving? I can't see how they are - and I am one of those who usually wants to save as many old buildings as possible. It is not like the structures had any architectural significance - it might be a different story if they were built of stone and exhibited great craftsmanship. I do agree that the wall and staircase are nice and they would be an asset to anything else that the site might be used for in the future.
I do think that it is important that the actual history of the stockyards and the area be documented and incorporated as an optional part of the tourist experience. All of the "old west" tourist stuff is not really historically accurate for the Stockyards district which did not exist until a couple of decades later. I don't really have a problem with the "old west" stuff if it is what keeps the area viable, especially given that almost all of the buildings from Fort Worth's wild west days are long gone. But the actual history of the Stockyards area for most of its existence was a hard-core blue collar industrial type world that one does not typically associate with Texas. And a lot of the people who worked in the stockyards were immigrants - there were a lot of Greeks and other Eastern Europeans who worked there and who had vibrant communities in the Northside.
Of course, that is not the sort of thing that most tourists want to see when they visit Texas - especially if they come from parts of the country that are still dealing with the effects of the decline of their own industrial past. But it would be nice if, somewhere among the tourist traps, there could be, for those who are interested, an exhibit that provides a more complete view of the Stockyards' history. And, along with it, I do think it would be interesting to have some sort of exhibit that provides a glimpse of what day to day operations in an early 20th century packing plant were like.