Kay's grave.

Monument to Kay the Elephant

Field review by the editors.

Taylorville, Illinois

Died 1994

Pet Cemetery.

Kay was the matriarch of the Carson & Barnes Circus elephant herd. Her nickname, "Fatso," hints at the gluttony that defined her life and eventually ended it.

For decades Kay basked in the limelight, visiting the small towns of America and delighting children of all ages. It was heady stuff for a pachyderm from the Punjab, especially the cornucopia of treats that were always within reach of her ever-grasping trunk. Kay was not the first celebrity to equate food with love. But her kidneys -- weary from a lifetime of free peanut brittle and cotton candy -- were about to give out. In October of 1994, while waiting backstage for another waddle around the Big Top, they did. Kay was 58.

Carson & Barnes, which was in the middle of a tour, faced a dilemma -- what to do with a dead elephant? Happily, local veterinarian Dr. Jerry Breuel, who had attended Kay in her last hours, volunteered his farm as her grave. (Said Carson & Barnes' owner: "You know, you can't dig a hole just anywhere to bury an elephant.") Kay's four-ton carcass was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled about a mile south of town. There, to discourage ghoulish pilfering, she was buried in a pit twenty feet deep.

The grave site today is quiet, and stands off the southbound side of the Nokomis blacktop, marked by a granite headstone with an elephant and circus tent engraved on it. Future improvements have been proposed, including a chain-link fence and flowers.

We suggest that you scatter some goobers when you visit.

Also see: Elephant Burial Ground | Roadside Pet Cemetery

Monument to Kay the Elephant

Address:
1163 N. 1250 E. Rd, Taylorville, IL
Directions:
South of town on IL-1/ N. 1250 E. Rd. One mile south of the stop sign intersection with IL-48/Jaycee Drive. You'll see three mailboxes and a gravel driveway on the right (west) side. Pull in, and the gravestone is just to the left.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Abe Lincoln and Pig StatueAbe Lincoln and Pig Statue, Taylorville, IL - 2 mi.
Giant Hand with Painted NailsGiant Hand with Painted Nails, Pana, IL - 14 mi.
Muffler Man - Soda JerkMuffler Man - Soda Jerk, Macon, IL - 21 mi.
In the region:
Giant Donald Trump, Livingston, IL - 46 mi.

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