World's Largest Buffalo
The "World's Largest Buffalo Monument" is a sculpture of an American Bison located in Jamestown, North Dakota at the Frontier Village. It was commissioned in 1959 by local businessman Harold Newman, designed by Elmer Petersen, Jamestown College Art Professor and sculptor, and constructed under Peterson's supervision by professional construction workers and community members. It is visible from Interstate 94, overlooking the city from above the James River valley.
The statue is a significant tourist draw for Jamestown and the source of its nickname, The Buffalo City. It is 26 feet (7.9 m) tall, 46 feet (14 m) long and weighs 60 tons. It was constructed with stucco and cement around a steel beam frame shaped with wire mesh. The final cost of construction was approximately $8500 in 1969; a significant overrun from initial estimates closer to $4600. The concrete slab that lies under the sculpture was added later and was not included in the initial cost.
The sculpture is complete in many respects of detail. It is sculptured after a male bison in mid-stride and is anatomically correct. For many years, it was customary for members of the graduating class of Jamestown High School to paint the genitalia in the school colors of blue and white.
When originally constructed, the statue stood alone on a hill south of Jamestown; beginning in the mid-1960s, the city began expanding the site, with the collection of a small number of historical buildings moved to the site, in an attempt to re-create the look of a small, Midwestern town in the 1800s. Named Frontier Village, the project has grown, over the years, into a complex of buildings and other attractions, encompassing several acres, including the National Buffalo Museum, although the Buffalo still remains the featured attraction.
In June 2007, the city of Jamestown received a grant of $16,500 from Hampton Hotels' Save-A-Landmark program to refurbish the buffalo. The money was used to repaint the buffalo to look more lifelike and to enlarge the horns. The renovation oversight was done by original designer Elmer Petersen.
On July 24, 2010, the World's Largest Buffalo was named "Dakota Thunder", after a contest that drew more than 3,500 entries.
- Jamestown, ND Tourism website
- National Buffalo Museum website
- Real ND World's Largest Buffalo Page
- Hampton Landmarks