Malta, Montana: Sleeping Buffalo Rock

The local Indians revered it, and someone carved the rock in a failed effort (our judgment) to make it look more like what it's supposed to.
Address:
US Hwy 2, Malta, MT
Directions:
On the north side of US Hwy 2 at the intersection of Hwy 243, underneath a little roadside shelter, 17 miles east of Malta.
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Sleeping Buffalo Rock

Sleeping Buffalo Rock was found by my grandfather when he was a young boy while out riding the plains. Kenneth Arnold Ball was born in Saco, MT Jan. 24, 1908 to Nora Jane and George McLearn Ball, whom herded sheep and raised wheat and grasses.

Kenneth went to school with Chet Huntley; they were good friends (Chet even states this in his book Boyhood Memories). The rock was actually carved by the Plains Indians and it was a symbol for the buffalo hunt. They would dance around it the night before the hunt as spiritual hope for a good hunt like football players huddle together for a good game.

The Rock was placed near the school in representation of both of the boys, Kenneth and Chet. Grandfather became many things in his life. During that time, it was considered not to be spoken, but since he is gone I can now tell that he was an undercover agent for the FBI Secret Service Units.

[Nora Mae, 09/20/2010]

Buffalo Rock.

Sleeping Buffalo Rock

Malta is the closest place to this attraction, by 17 miles, and it's along a desolate stretch of US Rt 2 near the eastern end of the state. This is an old rock indigenous to the area, part of a group of boulders that the local Indians held sacred, and a pre-historic native long ago had made carvings in the rock to make it look more like a buffalo. It's really hard to see how the carvings make it a buffalo, though, but this appears to be one of the earliest known instances of American roadside attractions.

The rock currently rests roadside under a protective shack, with informational markers on either side.

[Jim Heverin, 10/31/2005]

Buffalo Rock

Sleeping Buffalo Rock

The Sleeping Buffalo Rock reposes in its corral under a shed at the junction of US 2 and MT 243. Its shape is suggestive of a buffalo, with its legs tucked up, resting its chin on the ground. Carvings highlight the outline of ribs and backbone and are probably prehistoric.

You should approach the rock with respect. It will tell you what it wants. It appreciates coins (Canadian currency is OK.) and is especially fond of tobacco -- judging from the unsmoked cigarettes that people have left for it.

[Chuck Rhode, 05/26/2005]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Sleeping Buffalo Hot SpringsSleeping Buffalo Hot Springs, Saco, MT - 1 mi.
Hillside Animal StatuesHillside Animal Statues, Glasgow, MT - 45 mi.

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