“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Huntsville in Madison County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)


"The Meadow Gold Cow"

Bessie Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Sandra Hughes, June 5, 2010
1. Bessie Marker
Inscription.  Bessie, or Elsie, as she was sometimes called, started her life in Huntsville in 1963. Meadow Gold Diaries (sic) mounted her to their advertising billboard that stood at the corner of Memorial Parkway and Governor's Drive. Painted as a Holstein cow, she remained in that location for twenty-five years, becoming a Huntsville landmark.

During her stay on the billboard, she was the object of many pranksters, who had little success in removing her from her home. Thieves who were never caught finally stole her. After some time, they returned her to the parking lot of WBHP Radio on Governor’s Drive.

In the early 1970s, Harry Rhett, one of the best-known developers in Huntsville's history, planned a party at his downtown home in honor of Lily Flagg, a cow famous in the history of Huntsville. Lily Flagg, a Jersey cow, set an international record in 1892 by producing 1,000 pounds of butter and 11,000 pounds of milk (1375 gallons). Her owner, wealthy property owner Samuel Moore, booked a ball in her honor. Rhett, wanting to recreate the original ball, placed the Meadow Gold cow on his front lawn. He repainted her as a Jersey
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cow, in honor of the original Lily Flagg.

When the party ended, the cow was returned to her original Holstein colors. She moved to her home atop a 40,000-gallon tank at Huntsville’s only dairy. Throughout her history, as a result of weather and mischief, Bessie/Elsie has received six new tails, two new front hooves, and a new left leg. A local painter, Wayne Jones, coated the cow with clear coat during a makeover in 1997.

With the closing of Meadow Gold Dairy, Bessie/Elsie has found a home here at Constitution Village; an appropriate place for a Huntsville icon, an icon that reminds us of the dairy industry in Huntsville, and of that famous Huntsville cow named Lily Flagg.
Erected by City of Huntsville, Alabama.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Landmarks. A significant historical year for this entry is 1963.
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 34° 43.755′ N, 86° 35.038′ W. Marker was in Huntsville, Alabama, in Madison County. Marker is located inside the Constitution Park but no cow present. Touch for map. Marker was at or near this postal address: 109 Gates Ave SE, Huntsville AL 35801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Alabama’s Constitution And Statehood (a few steps from this marker); Site - Alabama’s First Constitutional Convention
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(a few steps from this marker); Where Alabama Entered the Union (a few steps from this marker); Constitution Hall (a few steps from this marker); Harrison Brothers Hardware (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tallulah Bankhead / I. Schiffman Building (about 400 feet away); The Church Of The Nativity, Episcopal (about 400 feet away); Twickenham Historic District (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Huntsville.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 27, 2017, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. This page has been viewed 1,154 times since then and 124 times this year. Last updated on March 3, 2018, by Lee Clark of Huntsville, Alabama. Photo   1. submitted on August 27, 2017, by Sandra Hughes Tidwell of Killen, Alabama, USA. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide view photo of the marker and surrounding area, including the cow, in context. • Can you help?

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Jun. 22, 2024