Salem Sue, New Salem, ND.
Salem Sue, New Salem, ND.

Cowlossus of Roads

On the roads of America, cows rule. Of all the animals that graze at the edges of the collective driving unconscious, our rural milk-machines enjoy the most frequent cement and fiberglass tributes. While many big bovines are identical, cast from standard molds by F.A.S.T. and like fiberfolks, each is important to its host community, local dairy, or cheese boutique. The best place to start our cow round-up is Cheese-proud Wisconsin. If you're lactose intolerant, turn back now...

Chatty Belle, Neillsville, WI.
Chatty Belle, Neillsville, WI.

In Neillsville, (clark County seat, fourth in the state in milk production), stands Chatty Belle, the world's largest talking cow. Visitors can press the button mounted on Chatty's base and Chatty will tell them many things -- like that a cow her size would produce over 270 pounds of milk a day. Or that your best food value lies in one hundred percent natural Wisconsin Dairy cheeses.

A herd of prime bovines can be found around the Madison, WI, area. DeForest once claimed the World's Largest Cow -- Sissy the Cow the mascot of Ehlenbach's Cheese Chalet,. It's the same size as Chatty Belle (but is not currently talking). It's 19 feet tall, 20 feet long, and two tons -- a holstein cow made of structural steel and fiber mixed with epoxy. But it's not the largest.

Janesville is home to Bessie the Cow, formerly of the Oasis Restaurant, Motel and Cheese Shop, refurbished after that established was torn down and replaced with something new. Further east in Wisconsin, Manitowoc is home to a big cow at Cedar Crest Ice Cream, named "Betsy."

Kadie the Cow, Columbus, GA.
Kadie the Cow, Columbus, GA.

In Harvard, Illinois, near the Wisconsin border, Harmilda the Cow is the symbol of the annual Harvard Milk Day Festival (Har-Mil-Da, get it?). She's been a fiberglass fixture in Harvard since 1966. An ill-conceived plan to move Harmilda from the downtown intersection sparked a protest by townspeople and children carrying signs that read "Don't Mooove Harmilda." She stayed put. The plaque underneath Harmilda carries Harvard's civic claim, "The Milk Center of the World."

South to Stephenville, TX, to marvel at "Moola," a Holstein Cow Statue on a Pole, paying tribute to Erath County's dairy industry. She's just bigger than life-size, on a platform mounted on a pole at one corner of the town square.

Joining the herd, Ashburn, GA.
Joining the herd, Ashburn, GA.

For decades, Kadie the Cow guarded the Kinnett Dairies from her hill overlooking a shopping mall in Columbus, GA. She's about 20 feet tall. The dairy was torn down in the early 2000s, replaced by a Best Buy, but Kadie remains, albeit sometimes crowded by Geek Squad cars.

The most gargantuan cow is undoubtedly Salem Sue, in New Salem, ND. She stands 38 feet tall on School Hill, the only hill in sight, overlooking I-94. Sue stares intently over the flat fields that stretch to the horizon, her reinforced fiberglass skin taut and shiny.

While most giants are clustered in the Heartland, cow appreciation can be found from coast to coast. New cow statues pop up regularly.

In Carnation, Washington, the Champion Milk Cow statue next to Carnation Dairy headquarters salutes the "Foster Mother of the Human Race," producer of a record 16,500 quarts of milk in the 1920s. Woodstock, Ontario weighs in with the Springbank Snow Countess Memorial, a statue of the World's Leading Butterfat-Producing Cow. She churned out 9,062 pounds of butterfat and 207,000 pounds of milk before her death in 1936.

And milk fans can still visit the Grave of Elsie the Cow, Borden's milk mascot, in Plainsboro, NJ.

Kadie the Cow

Address:
2925 Manchester Expy, Columbus, GA
Directions:
Just northeast of the intersection of Hwy 411 and Hwy 85/US 27, on a hill next to the Best Buy store.
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Flea Market Mascot Big Cow

Keller's Flea Market

Address:
5901 Ogeechee Rd, Savannah, GA
Directions:
I-95 exit 94. Drive east on Hwy 204, then exit at Ogeechee Rd. The cow will be directly ahead, at the entrance to Keller's Flea Market.
Hours:
Sa - Su 8 am -6 pm. (Call to verify)
Phone:
912-927-4848
Admission:
Free.
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Harmilda the Cow, Milk Day Festival

Five Point Park

Address:
Ayer St., Harvard, IL
Directions:
Five Point Park. At the junction of US Hwy 14, Hwy 173, and Ayer St. The Festival is held in Milky Way Park, 300 Lawrence Rd.
Hours:
Milk Days: first weekend in June. (Call to verify)
Phone:
815-943-4614
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Salem Sue, World's Largest Holstein Cow

Address:
8th Ave. N, New Salem, ND
Directions:
I-94, 34 miles west of Bismarck, south side, New Salem exit 127.
Phone:
701-843-7828
RA Rates:
The Best
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Moo-La the Cow

Address:
Hwy 377, Stephenville, TX
Directions:
SW from Fort Worth on Hwy 377 through Granbury to Stephenville.
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Sissie the Cow

Address:
4879 County Rd V, DeForest, WI
Directions:
Just east of I-90/94 exit 126. South side of CR V at Morrisonville Rd.
Phone:
608-846-4791
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Bessie the Cow

Address:
3401 Milton Ave., Janesville, WI
Directions:
South I I-39/90, on west side of Hwy 26/Milton Ave., across the street from K-Mart.
Phone:
608-757-3160
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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Chatty Belle, Talking Cow

Address:
1201 Division St., Neillsville, WI
Directions:
Just east of town on US 10 (Division St.).
Phone:
715-743-3333
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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