World's Largest Buffalo in Jamestown turning 60

1 Aug 2019

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Physically, sculptor Elmer Petersen and his crew built the World's Largest Buffalo 60 years ago. What they also created is a symbol that became synonymous with Jamestown, according to Serle Swedlund, executive director of Jamestown Tourism.

"This buffalo brought Jamestown an identity long before marketing and branding were concepts," he said. "It is less about what it creates than how it is adopted in the community."

Jamestown celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1957. Some money was left over after the expenses of that event and community leaders started thinking about a monument or roadside attraction.

Harold Newman and Reese Hawkins, according to the oral histories of those events, did some research and found that Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox at Brainerd, Minn., was among the most photographed attractions in the region.

The goal in Jamestown then became to build something bigger and better than the legendary Minnesota lumberjack and his colorful companion.

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